Flexible Screw Conveyors: FAQs

January 15, 2016

In this blog, we answer some frequently asked questions about flexible screw conveyors.

How does a flexible screw conveyor work?

The basic operating principle is simple: a metal helical screw rotates inside a fixed tube, creating a directional force that moves material up through the tube, from the infeed end of the equipment to the discharge point. The flexible screw itself comes in different configurations, each suited for the type of material being conveyed.

What types of material can a flexible screw conveyor move?

Flexible screw conveyors are very versatile and can move many different types of materials. They are well-suited for conveying free-flowing and non-free flowing materials, including powder, granules, and small pellets, as well as small irregular shapes.   Flexible screw conveyors are used in food processing, packaging, and chemical (dry) industries.

While flexible screw conveyors are versatile, there are some materials that can be problematic to handle. Some materials may be damaged during conveying due to friction of the material with the tube wall. In addition, handling some abrasive materials may be problematic as increased friction with the tube wall may lead to excessive equipment wear.

To be sure that a flexible screw conveyor is the right equipment choice for moving your material, UniTrak always recommends an application review and product test prior to purchase.

Testing materials in the Flexible Screw Conveyor at UniTrak Testing Lab

What types of application can a flexible screw conveyor service?

Flexible screw conveyors are well-adapted for batch and intermittent production. Flexible screws operate most efficiently at 45°, but can also run horizontally and at other angles.  The equipment can be made portable so that it may be moved easily to service processes in different plant locations. The equipment is easy to clean and has a relatively small footprint. A major advantage of flexible screw conveyors are that they can be sealed for dust containment, eliminating the problems associated with product dusting during conveyance.

As its name suggest, flexible screw conveyors are exactly that: flexible. The equipment tube can be bent and curved within a recommended bend radius.

What is the capacity range of a flexible screw conveyor?

Equipment capacity is a function of a number of variables, including material bulk density and particle size, auger pitch and rotational speed, tube diameter and length, hopper size, and the angle at which the equipment will be operated. UniFlex conveyors from UniTrak are constructed from food-grade materials and are available in two sizes, with capacities dependent upon the exact material being conveyed.

Standard 8 foot cubic hopper for the UniFlex Flexible Screw Conveyor

Can a flexible screw conveyor be customized for my application?

Using our “customerization” process, UniTrak can tailor a UniFlex conveyor to service most applications. Application-specific customization that we can perform on UniFlex conveyors includes the following:

  • Provision of specialized augers. Depending upon the material being moved, we can equip UniFlex conveyors with different auger types to permit effective conveyance. Auger types we can supply include flat wire (suitable for larger particles), round wire (suitable for abrasive materials), beveled (suitable for fragile materials), and square bar (suitable for heavy materials).
  • Provision of sized infeed hoppers. UniTrak can supply infeed hoppers sized for each UniFlex. Hopper sizes available include 8, 4, and 2.5 cubic feet, available in either carbon or stainless steel. Customized hoppers are also available to support specialized applications.
  • Easy-Clean model. This model is suitable for those applications where the conveyor requires a thorough cleaning between batches or product runs.

If you have an application which requires a flexible screw conveyor, UniTrak is your supply partner of choice. Our UniFlex line of flexible screw conveyors has proven itself in a wide array of applications in facilities around the world. To find out more about UniFlex conveyors, please contact our sales department.

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