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Angled Conveying with Flexible Screw Conveyors

May 22, 2018

In many facilities, tight spaces and fixed obstacles are the reality on the production floor. In such environments, routing conveyors around existing equipment and obstacles can be a real challenge. The solution – angled conveying with flexible screw conveyors.

Flexible screw conveyors are just what their name suggests – flexible! With a bendable plastic tube, these conveyors can be routed around equipment and other obstacles in process areas. Their flexibility and versatility, as well as relative low cost, makes flexible screw conveyors an ideal choice for conveying many bulk solid materials, including free- and non-free-flowing materials and blends.

How is angled conveying with flexible screw conveyors possible?

Flexible screw conveyors derive their flexibility from two sources: the UHMWPE semi-rigid plastic tube, and the steel auger (or spiral) that make up the heart of the conveyor. The food-grade plastic tube can be curved, or angled, to circumvent equipment and obstacles, while the steel auger which rotates within the tube, is sufficiently flexible to accommodate to most changes in the tube curvature.

How flexible are flexible screw conveyors?

The degree of angled conveying that can be achieved with a flexible screw conveyor is largely a function of conveying distance – as the conveying distance increases, the conveyor tube lengthens and is capable of supporting a greater radius of curvature or bend. For UniFlex flexible screw conveyors from UniTrak, we recommend a minimum radius of 10 degrees. In addition, the tube can only have a single radius, and it is not possible to create multiple bends with the same tube.

What are some of the other advantages of a flexible screw conveyor?

Flexible screw conveyors are a versatile equipment type that can move a variety of bulk solid materials. Key advantages of these conveyors are the following:

  • Relatively low cost, compared to other conveying modalities.
  • Low energy consumption. Relative to many other types of conveyors, flexible screw conveyors require little energy to operate.
  • Dust-free operation. The conveyor tube is fully sealed during operation.
  • Simple design. The conveyor consists of few moving parts and is easy to maintain and operate.
  • Easy to clean. The auger can easily be removed, allowing the conveyor interior to be easily washed down.
  • Flexible screw conveyors can be fitted with augers or spirals that are designed to handle specific types of materials.
  • Mobile operation. Equipment is available with frame mounted wheels that permit easy movement.

Some limitations of flexible screw conveyors are the following:

  • May cause breakage or particle attrition of the material as it moves through the conveyor.
  • Not all materials can be successfully moved via a flexible screw conveyor. Materials whose particles cohere, or which have a high moisture content, can smear with the conveyor and lock up the auger. Coarse and abrasive materials can also cause accelerated wear and tear on a flexible screw conveyor.
  • Limited conveying distance. At UniTrak, we recommend that our UniFlex flexible screw conveyors be used to move materials over distances no greater than 40 feet in length.

UniTrak manufactures the UniFlex line of flexible screw conveyors. Available in two sizes (H75 and H125), these conveyors will move materials over various distances and angles. If angled conveying with flexible screw conveyors is of interest to you, our sales team will be pleased to review and discuss your application requirements. Please contact our sales team directly for more information.

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