Conveyor Efficiency

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When quoting our chain conveyors, we commonly must reassure customers that the horsepower requirements we calculate are really all that’s needed. Even then, we’ve had customers order our conveyors with oversized motors simply because they weren’t comfortable with a motor as small as our machine required.

How efficient are our conveyors? They can run with 30 times less horsepower than pneumatic conveyors. That was the difference between our motor requirements and the quoted requirements for a pneumatic system at a pallet recycling plant in Idaho. The pneumatic system would need 60 hp to bring waste materials to the top of a chip bin. Ours needed only 2 hp.

The reason our conveyors are so efficient has to do with the lack of internal friction. While pneumatic conveyance systems are naturally inefficient (they move mostly air), typical drag chain conveyors lose efficiency through friction as the chain and paddles drag along the paddles and sidewalls. Our SMART Conveyors™ aren’t designed this way, however.

In SMART Conveyors™, we run the chains in channels lined with UHMW wear strips, eliminating the metal-on-metal friction of the chains on the floor. The only metal-on-metal contact in our conveyors occurs at the sprockets. The chains also hold the paddles off the floor and sidewalls.

Doesn’t that create gaps through which material can flow, you may ask—thereby decreasing efficiency? It depends. Some materials like biomass pack as they move through the conveyor and thus do not flow freely through the small gaps around the paddles. With free-flowing materials, however, this is an issue. But it’s not one we haven’t addressed. For such materials, we add brushes and/or scoops to our paddles, which capture material with minimal to no added friction.

Energy costs add up over the lifespan of a conveyor.

Read more about the price of inefficient material handling systems.

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