Industrial Screw Conveyors: Design and Use

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Courtesy of Astro Engineering & Manufacturing Inc.

Industrial screw conveyors are used by many industries such as water treatment plants, food and chemical processors, biofuel, agricultural, wood pulp, and more. They are used to efficiently convey materials, frequently to or from hoppers and bins. Thermal screw conveyors are also extremely useful in many industries. The ability to heat or chill the conveyed material can bring big improvement for processing operations. Mixing, metering, and mobility are other features that can be designed into the auger conveyor to bring increased performance. To accomplish this work, each part of the screw conveyor plays a major role to get your job done efficiently.

The Major Components of Screw Conveyors

Industrial screw conveyors consist of augers, troughs or tubes, a motor, a drive system, and in/outlet chutes. The primary materials of choice are either carbon steel or 304 stainless steel.

There are two main types of flighting used to make augers. Flighting is the spiral that is usually attached to a center shaft. Sectional flighting works best for moving large amounts of heavy material. This flighting is made by laser cutting a series of donuts with slits, and then forming them to start the spiral shape. The flights are then welded together as they are assembled to the shaft. This type of auger is used in most industrial applications as it has greater wear resistance, can be made in a larger diameter, and can push heavier loads. Ribbon flighting is the other type. It is made of a thinner gauge metal and used for conveying lighter weight materials. Ribbon flighting is more easily used in a shaftless system, usually on an incline when liquid needs to be separated from solid pieces. Augers are placed in a trough or a tube that will hold the material being conveyed. In many cases, removable covers are employed on trough conveyors. Inlet and outlet chutes are typically part of the trough system. They are often custom designed and built to fit-up with other equipment.

Motors and drives are essential components to achieving success. Motor sizes for horsepower are calculated using the auger size in combination with the volume and density of the material. Motors are chosen in combination with a gear reducer that sets the speed. A gear reducer takes the constant speed of the motor and reduces it to a lower speed of auger rotation. This allows for a higher torque for start-up or heavier loads, and is essential for successful operation. The VFD, variable frequency drive, is matched to the motor and is used to control the speed and monitor power level. VFD’s are optional but highly recommended for optimal performance and avoidance of motor burn-out.

Other minor yet necessary components include seals and bearings. Seals are used in most applications, and they keep the contents in the auger from oozing into the bearings or gear reducer. There are many types of seals and it is highly important to choose the correct type for the application, whether it be for food, high heat, or other. Bearings are usually mounted on the end plates are used for most industrial screw conveyors. They keep the shaft centered and running smoothly.

Astro Engineering as Your Industrial Screw Conveyor Manufacturer

Industrial screw conveyors are essential equipment pieces for many processors to reliably convey products. There are many features that can bring even more benefit to the user such as mixing, heating or chilling, and mobility. Choosing the right manufacturer is key to ensure arrival of an optimal screw conveyor system that will bring years of benefit. At Astro Engineering, you can expect our experienced engineers to make proper decisions and design for your application. All we need are some information of the sizing and its use – and we’ll take care of the rest! Call us at 763-777-8087 today for more information.

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