Drag Conveyor Chain Guides

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Most drag chain conveyors run chains along the bottom pan and return rails. BE&E’s drag conveyors, however, are uniquely designed so their chains run in dedicated channels outside the material path: no chains or paddles drag on the floors and no AR rails. But why does this matter? Here are four advantages of the design:

1. It holds the paddles in place, so they can’t ride over the material.

Drag chain conveyors are generally gentle on materials. They won’t grind them up like an auger or smash them to bits like a pneumatic conveyance system. An exception to drag conveyors’ ability to handle materials gently is when the conveyors’ chains and paddles ride over the material. This happens when a paddle suddenly encounters friction. The chain flexes upwards, away from where the material is collecting, at the base of the paddles. The chain then rides over the material, churning and damaging it.

In BE&E’s conveyors, this can’t occur. The chains in our SMART Conveyors™ are entrapped above and below, so they can’t jump. This ensures our conveyors don’t churn material under the paddles.

2. It keeps the chains and paddles off the bottom pans.

The channels in our SMART Conveyors™ keep the chains out of the material path and enable the chains to hold the paddles off the bottom pans. We purposefully engineered our paddles in this fashion, with small gaps around them, to decrease wear. The gaps are small enough that little, if any, material falls through them, and the paddles’ large surface area also helps ensure that only a minimum amount of material slips by, which is essential on inclines.

We line them with UHMW strips to limit wear in the channels, which rarely incur significant wear. As
the sidebars of the chains cut grooves into the strips, a ridge forms in the middle, creating a rail for the chain’s rollers. Once this occurs, wear decreases even further.

Compare the minor wear SMART Conveyors™ incur to that in traditionally designed conveyors, and
the maintenance advantages become apparent. SMART Conveyors™ require far less wear-related maintenance than other drag conveyors.

3. It adds structural strength to the sidewalls.

The third benefit is that the design makes the conveyor highly rigid. BE&E conveyors, therefore, require few structural supports. S-Series SMART Conveyors™ require only one tower every 40′. M-Series conveyors need one support every 45′. On the other hand, most other drag conveyors need a support tower every 15-20′ along with I-beams or trusswork along the conveyors’ length. Reduced structural requirements for SMART Conveyors™ significantly lowers installation costs, e.g., concrete pads, steel, and labor.

To this point, consider that an 80′-long SMART Conveyor™ requires only three supports, whereas other conveyors will need six or seven. Not only that, but the other conveyors will need I-beams or trusswork along their length, making their installation even more expensive. Due to this, installation costs for SMART Conveyors™ can be well under half the costs to install competitive systems.

4. It reduces friction.

The coefficient of kinetic friction of steel on steel is 0.7., which means steel requires a force equal to
70 percent of the mass of the chain to overcome the friction of it against the steel pans).

The friction relates directly to the motor size the conveyors need. Steel has a coefficient of friction of 0.7, which means the conveyor requires a force equal to 70 percent of the mass of the chain to get it moving. Depending on the size of the conveyor, that force could be thousands of pounds. This is why competitive systems routinely call for twice the operating horsepower of our SMART Conveyors™.

Over the lifespan of the conveyor, the difference in power requirements makes a big difference in
the operational costs. The average industrial price per kWh in the United States varies widely from
6.04 cents per kWh in Idaho to a high of 40.19 cents in Hawaii, with an average of 8.30 cents (source: eia.gov). So, say your conveyor runs continuously for 50 weeks per year. If a competitor’s conveyor requires 40 hp, it would cost $20,855.00, and half of that, $10,428.00, to run our conveyor with half the horsepower. Over ten years, that’s a difference of $100,000.

Our channels mark a noticeable difference in our conveyor design and produce numerous advantages,
all of which work to decrease maintenance and operational costs. In other words, the channels make
our conveyors more dependable. You can depend on the components to last longer. You can depend on them to help limit energy usage. And the chain channels are only one feature that makes our conveyors the SMART choice in bulk material handling.

Contact us today to learn how we can improve your operations with superior conveyors!


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