Difference Between Each Type of Chain Conveyor

Difference Between Each Type of Chain Conveyor

Chain conveyors, often referred to as Drags, Scraper, Paddle, or En-Masse, employ a continuous chain with attached flights inside a closed trough to transport bulk materials. While these conveyors share some similarities, each type has distinct mechanisms and applications based on how they move materials to their destination.

Overview of Drag Conveyors

Drag conveyors, including scraper and paddle types, utilize the physical push-pull action of tall, full flights to move products. This method, while effective, reduces the usable cross-section of the trough to about half, limiting the volume of material that can be transported.

The performance of each type of drag conveyor is influenced by several factors: the design of the flights, available cross-sectional area, chain speed, properties of the material being transported, and the conveyor’s orientation (horizontal, inclined, or vertical). The weight of the chains in full-flight designs also increases the required horsepower for operation and accelerates wear on the trough.

Scraper Conveyors

Scraper Conveyors

This type of conveyor uses a chain to pull a series of metal plates or scrapers along the floor of a trough. The scrapers scrape along the floor to move bulk materials like powders, granules, or solids along the length of the conveyor. Scraper conveyors are effective for moving sticky or hard-to-handle materials.

Features and Benefits of Scraper Conveyors

When it comes to efficient material handling in industries such as mining, manufacturing, and agriculture, scraper conveyors stand out for their unique capabilities and benefits. Unlike their counterparts like chain conveyors and paddle conveyors, scraper conveyors are designed to handle fine, granular, or sticky materials by dragging them along a trough. This makes them particularly useful in environments where precision and cleanliness are paramount.

One of the key features of scraper conveyors is their ability to manage a variety of materials with minimal spillage. This is crucial in maintaining a clean workspace and reducing material waste. Unlike en-masse drag conveyors which move materials in a bulk flow, scraper conveyors use flights attached at intervals to scrape along the bottom of the trough. This scraping action ensures that materials, even those that are prone to sticking or clumping, are moved efficiently and cleanly.

Scraper conveyors also boast a high degree of customization when it comes to their design and operation. They can be designed with various flight types to suit different materials—be it coal, ash, or grains. The versatility extends to their layout as they can be installed horizontally, inclined, or even vertically, which is a distinct advantage over more traditional conveyors like the chain conveyor which generally operates in a straight line.

In terms of operational benefits, scraper conveyors are a powerhouse. They have a closed system design which not only helps in controlling dust but also in reducing airborne contaminants. This feature is especially beneficial in industries where maintaining air quality is essential. Additionally, their robust design typically allows for lower maintenance costs and longer operational lifespans, providing more bang for your buck over time.

Paddle Conveyors

Paddle Conveyors

These conveyors use paddles attached to a chain to push materials through a trough. This design allows for the handling of a wider variety of materials, including those that are more fragile or prone to shearing. The paddles can gently push the materials without significant degradation.

Features of Benefits of Paddle Conveyors

Paddle conveyors offer a unique blend of efficiency and versatility, making them a standout choice in the material handling industry, especially when compared to other conveyor types like chain conveyors, En-Masse drag conveyors, and scraper conveyors. Designed to handle a wide variety of materials, from grains to aggregates, paddle conveyors ensure that materials are moved gently and efficiently across distances.

One of the key features of paddle conveyors is their ability to handle a broad range of materials without causing damage or degradation. Unlike chain conveyors, which can be too harsh on more delicate materials, paddle conveyors use spaced paddles on a continuous loop to move materials smoothly along the conveyor path. This method reduces material breakdown, making it ideal for industries where material integrity is paramount.

Paddle conveyors also boast a high degree of customization. They can be designed with adjustable speeds and various paddle types to suit specific material characteristics and processing needs. This flexibility is a significant benefit over more rigid systems like scraper conveyors, which are limited by fixed scrapers and often cannot be finely tuned for different materials or throughput rates.

Another advantage of paddle conveyors is their efficiency in terms of energy use and space. They typically require less power to operate than En-Masse drag conveyors, which need more energy to drag materials across the conveyor length. Additionally, paddle conveyors can be configured in various layouts, including vertical and horizontal orientations, to maximize space in crowded facilities. This adaptability makes paddle conveyors a smart choice for businesses looking to optimize their operations without compromising on performance.

En-Masse Drag Conveyor

En-Masse Drag Conveyor
En-Masse Drag Conveyor. Source: Hapman

In contrast, En-Masse drag conveyors operate differently. They use a single chain strand, placed centrally in a rectangular housing, with flights attached to both sides of the chain. This design allows the material to move efficiently along the bottom of the trough due to the motion of the chain and the friction between the particles of the material.

Key Features and Benefits of En-Masse Drag Conveyors

The most efficient housing for an En-Masse conveyor is square in cross-section. If the material layer becomes too deep, friction between the material and the sidewalls of the housing reduces, slowing down the upper layers of the material compared to the chain speed. This discrepancy causes slippage, leading to increased wear and reduced volumetric efficiency.

An En-Masse drag conveyor typically positions the chain between end sprockets, with the lower strand nestled in the trough to carry materials. To enhance versatility, it’s possible to configure the conveyor with two troughs or a split trough, featuring an intermediate plate that separates it into two sections. This allows materials to be moved in opposite directions by both the upper and lower chain strands, increasing the conveyor’s functionality.

These conveyors operate at low speeds with high torque, leading to a longer lifespan and reduced operational costs. The simplicity of their design means they require less maintenance than other types of conveyors. Additionally, the slow chain speed lowers friction and chain wear, which also cuts down on power requirements and consumption.

One of the standout features of the En-Masse drag conveyor is its efficient use of space. It can utilize up to 90% of its physical size for conveying purposes, far surpassing standard paddle drag conveyors that only use about 50%. This means that for the same volume of material, a paddle drag conveyor must be 50% larger than its En-Masse counterpart. This efficient space utilization is illustrated in comparisons with other conveyor types, showcasing the En-Masse’s compact and efficient design.

Types of Flights and Their Applications

The design of the flights also plays a crucial role in the functionality of the conveyor. BT or Flat Bar flights are generally used for horizontal and slightly inclined conveyors (up to 15 degrees). For more fluid materials or steeper inclines, “U,” “O,” and “OO” flights are preferred. These designs may include filler plates to manage very fluid materials and enhance cleaning efficiency within the conveyor housing.

This detailed look into the workings of drag and En-Masse drag conveyors highlights how each type is suited to different industrial needs, optimizing material transport and efficiency.

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