What is a Chain Conveyor?

Paul Scott
Paul Scott

A chain conveyor is a transport device that makes use of continuous chain circuits driven by electric motors to convey materials. Chain loops are typically equipped with a series of projections which drag loose aggregate materials such as coal or with inserts forming a platform for moving unit loads. Chain conveyor systems are flexible and can easily be twisted axially or made to follow tight lateral turns along their routes. Depending on the particular application, the chains and fittings may be made of a variety of substances including plastics and stainless steel. Chain conveyors are one of the most efficient and widely used material transport systems in modern industrial and manufacturing environments due to their flexibility, reliability, and ease of maintenance.

Conveyor systems of various designs are used extensively every day to move materials as diverse as raw iron ore or bottles of baby food. Among the most flexible and efficient of these material moving wonders are the chain conveyor systems used in a multitude of industrial and manufacturing settings. Inherently simple conceptually and highly effective in practice, these conveyors may be used to move heavy aggregates or to transport production parts and finished products in factories. The basic concept involves one or several continuous chain loops driven by electric motors. The chains are fitted with projections or platform fittings which either drag or support the material as the chains move forward.

Projection fitted chain conveyors are most commonly used in heavy industries such as steel production plants and the mining industry to move aggregates like coal, ore, foundry fly ash, slag, or scrap metal. Also known as scraper conveyors, these units drag or scrape the material forward within a trough or trench to prevent spillage. Typically these chain conveyor units feature a single, centrally located chain with scrapers or projections located on either side. Unit materials such as foundry parts may also be transported with this type of conveyor. These conveyors are able to operate on moderate inclines and follow gentle lateral curves.

Platform chain conveyors are extensively used to move a wide variety of materials or parts through production processes such as automobile plants, food processing facilities, and pharmaceutical production lines. These chain conveyor examples are of single or dual chain design and have a variety of platform equipped fittings which attach to the chain to support and transport the material. These platforms are generally specially designed to carry a specific type of material such as bottles, pallets, food packages, or automobile parts. The chain and platform materials used to construct these conveyors are application specific and include various grades of plastics and steels. The platform fittings may be of a interlocking design to form continuous flat beds or be spaced regularly according to process needs.

This type of chain conveyor is particularly flexible and can be twisted along its axis or deflected to follow tight lateral turns even allowing for spiral, height adjustment patterns. They are also capable of following steep gradients and also allow for en route merging of several separate conveyors. Chain conveyors are particularly flexible in a modular sense and allow for easy extension or route changes. They are also simple to maintain and are reliable under continuous operation conditions.

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