What Is a Scraper Conveyor?

What Is a Scraper Conveyor?

In the world of material handling and conveyance, various types of machinery play pivotal roles in ensuring the smooth, efficient transportation of materials across industries. Among these, the scraper conveyor stands out for its unique functionality and versatility. But what exactly is a scraper conveyor, and how does it contribute to material handling processes? Let’s dive into the world of scraper conveyors and uncover their significance.

What is a Scraper Conveyor?

A scraper conveyor is a specialized type of conveyor system designed to handle the transportation of materials in bulk. It operates by using a series of scrapers attached to a chain, which moves along a closed trough. As the chain circulates, the scrapers drag or scrape the material along the trough to its destination. This makes it an ideal solution for transporting materials that are too difficult or abrasive for belt conveyors, including fine, granular, or sticky substances.

Types of Scraper Conveyors

Understanding the different types of scraper conveyors is key to selecting the right one for your specific needs. Each type offers unique advantages and is suitable for different applications.

1. Chain-Type Scraper Conveyors

Chain-type scraper conveyors utilize a chain mechanism to drag the scrapers along the conveyor trough. These are among the most common scraper conveyors, valued for their durability and ability to handle a wide range of materials, including those that are abrasive or hot. They are ideal for heavy-duty applications in industries such as metalworking, mining, and construction.

2. Cable-Type Scraper Conveyors

Cable-type scraper conveyors use a cable instead of a chain to pull the scrapers. This design reduces noise and vibration, making it a more suitable option for environments where these factors are a concern. Cable-type conveyors are often used in food processing and packaging plants due to their gentle handling of delicate materials.

3. Flight-Type Scraper Conveyors

Flight-type scraper conveyors, also known as paddle conveyors, employ fixed paddles on a rotating chain to push materials along the conveyor path. They are particularly effective for moving sticky or wet materials that might adhere to other types of conveyors. This type is commonly found in wastewater treatment facilities and agricultural settings.

4. Tube-Type Scraper Conveyors

Tube-type scraper conveyors encase the moving parts within a tube, offering an added layer of protection for the material being conveyed and for the conveyor system itself. This design minimizes material loss and contamination, making it ideal for handling hazardous or sensitive materials in chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Key Benefits and Applications

Scraper conveyors are celebrated for their robustness and efficiency, making them a go-to choice for industries that deal with challenging materials. Here are some key benefits that make scraper conveyors an indispensable part of material handling:

  • Versatility: They can transport a wide range of materials, including those that are wet, sticky, or abrasive, without the risk of clogging or breakdown.
  • Durability: Built to withstand harsh conditions, scraper conveyors can handle heavy loads and abrasive materials, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
  • Efficiency: They are capable of moving materials in both horizontal and vertical directions, offering flexibility in design and application.
  • Space-saving: Their compact design allows them to fit into tight spaces, making them an excellent choice for facilities with limited room.

Industries such as mining, agriculture, and waste management frequently rely on scraper conveyors to move materials like coal, grains, and municipal solid waste. Their ability to handle a variety of materials efficiently and reliably makes them a critical component in the operations of these sectors.

Design and Operational Considerations

When integrating a scraper conveyor into a material handling system, several factors must be considered to optimize its performance:

  • Material Characteristics: The type of material being transported will dictate the design of the conveyor, including the choice of scraper material and chain type.
  • Throughput Requirements: The capacity and speed of the conveyor must align with the operational needs of the facility to ensure efficient material flow.
  • Maintenance and Accessibility: Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of the conveyor. Therefore, designs that allow easy access to components for inspection and repair are preferable.

What are the Key Components of a Scraper Conveyor?

Scraper conveyors are integral to various industries, moving materials efficiently across short and long distances. Understanding the parts that make up these conveyors can help in maintenance, troubleshooting, and enhancing operational efficiency. Here are the core components:

1. Chain

The chain is the backbone of a scraper conveyor, providing the necessary force to move the scrapers along the trough. Made from high-strength materials, chains can withstand the abrasive and heavy loads often encountered in industrial environments.

2. Scrapers

Attached to the chain, scrapers are the elements that directly interact with the material being conveyed. Their design and material composition vary depending on the application, ensuring optimal performance in moving different types of materials, from fine powders to larger lumps.

3. Trough

The trough houses the moving parts of the conveyor and contains the material being transported. It can be designed in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different materials and throughput requirements. The trough’s durability and design are crucial for preventing material spillage and ensuring smooth operation.

4. Drive Unit

The drive unit powers the conveyor, setting the chain and scrapers in motion. It typically consists of a motor, gearbox, and sprockets, calibrated to provide the necessary speed and torque for efficient material handling.

5. Tensioning Device

A tensioning device is essential for maintaining the correct tension in the conveyor chain, ensuring smooth operation and preventing slippage or excessive wear. It can be manually or automatically adjusted, depending on the system’s design.

6. Return Rails

Return rails guide the chain and scrapers back to the starting point after depositing the conveyed material. They are designed to minimize wear and ensure the longevity of the conveyor components.

7. Discharge Chute

The discharge chute is where the material exits the conveyor. Its design is critical for controlling the flow of material, preventing blockages, and ensuring a smooth transfer to the next stage of the process.

8. Cleaning System

Depending on the material being conveyed, a cleaning system (like scrapers or brushes) may be installed to remove residue from the chain and trough, preventing build-up that could hinder conveyor performance.


Scraper conveyors are a vital component in the material handling industry, offering a reliable and efficient method for transporting a variety of materials. Their robust design, versatility, and efficiency make them an essential tool for industries facing challenging material transport needs. By understanding the role and benefits of scraper conveyors, businesses can make informed decisions to improve their operational efficiency and productivity.

Whether you’re in mining, agriculture, or waste management, incorporating a scraper conveyor into your material handling processes can lead to significant benefits, including improved material flow, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced operational efficiency.

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