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 Chain Bucket Elevators vs Drag Chain Conveyors - RUD India

Apr 29, 2024

Central Chain Bucket Elevators vs Drag Chain Conveyors- Which one is right for your material handling needs?

Industrial material handling equipment is a complicated market for business owners to navigate, especially when it comes to conveyor systems. A lot of them seem to operate similarly and perform similar functions. However, there are intricate differences to each conveyor system and these differences could make or break your purchase decision. Knowing these differences and identifying the right product for your material handling needs can lead to a noticeable improvement in your operational productivity. To start with, let’s look at central chain bucket elevator conveyors and apron feeders. Both of these are conveyor systems by definition, but perform different functions. So which one should you buy for your business? Read on to find out.

Fundamental differences and operational applications

Central Chain Bucket Elevators: A chain bucket elevator is essentially a tireless chain adorned with a series of buckets climbing an endless loop. The chain is powered by a motor, which continuously scoops material from a boot (loading point) at the bottom and discharges it at the head (unloading point) at the top.

Central chain bucket elevators excel at vertically transporting a wide range of bulk materials, from free-flowing powders like wheat and flour to granular materials like sand and even some chunky solids such as coal and granite. These conveyors are designed to minimise dust generation, making them ideal for applications like food processing and pharmaceuticals. They also handle abrasive materials well due to the robust chain design. RUD India is among the best bucket elevator manufacturers in India and offers customised solutions for chain bucket elevators.

Drag Chain Conveyors: Drag Chain conveyors are built around a sturdy chain which drags a scraper along a trough. The chain is powered by a motor, which pulls the scraper along the trough, continuously scraping and conveying material in a horizontal or inclined direction.

These conveyors are best suited for horizontal or modestly inclined transportation of bulk solids, particularly those that are abrasive, sticky, or prone to clumping. These include wood chips, sewage sludge. They feature an open trough design that allows for easy material inspection and removal of blockages.

Material Handling Capacity and limitations

Central Chain Bucket Elevators

  • Capacity: Central chain bucket elevators are versatile systems that are easily customised and boast impressive capacity ranges, generally starting from a few cubic metres per hour to hundreds depending on bucket size, chain speed, and material density. Chain bucket elevator parts are readily available from manufacturers such as RUD India and this makes them easy to maintain.
  • Limitations: While Chain bucket elevators are versatile and adaptable in their operations, they cannot handle oversized or highly abrasive materials. Such materials cause wear and tear on buckets and chains. They are also not ideal for sticky materials that may adhere to the buckets and hinder smooth operation. In the event spillage takes place with such materials, chain bucket elevator bolts also get jammed and can be difficult to fix.

Drag Chain Conveyors

  • Capacity: Drag chain conveyors offer moderate capacity ranges, typically from a few cubic metres per hour to tens of cubic metres per hour, depending on the trough size and chain speed. This makes them more restrictive and specialised compared to chain bucket elevators.chain
  • Limitations: Drag chain conveyors will find themselves struggling with fine, dusty materials that can become airborne and create a messy environment. They are also not ideal for very wet or sticky materials that can cling to the flight and impede flow.

Guidance on Purchase Decision: Which One to Purchase?

Still confused? You’ll want to consider the following points in case you want to make an informed decision. Both of these conveyor systems are required for completely different functions.

It is advisable to use a central chain bucket elevator if:

  • You need to vertically transport bulk materials.
  • You prioritise dust control and a clean operation.
  • You handle a wide range of materials, including abrasive ones.
  • You require high capacity.

A Drag Chain Conveyor is advisable in the event:

  • You need to horizontally or modestly inclinedly transport bulk materials.
  • You handle abrasive, sticky, or clumpy materials.
  • You require easy material inspection and blockage removal.
  • You need a cost-effective solution for moderate capacity applications.

Additionally, you’ll also want to consider limitations at your end and the operational circumstances around these machines.

These limitations and considerations include the following:

  • Headroom: Central chain bucket elevators require headroom for the vertical climb, while drag chain conveyors offer more flexibility in terms of installation angles.
  • Maintenance: Both require regular maintenance, but central chain bucket elevators, with their enclosed design, might require slightly more effort for cleaning and chain inspection.
  • Budget: Central chain bucket elevators can be a more expensive investment compared to drag chain conveyors.

Ultimately, the best fit for your needs depends on your specific application. By understanding the fundamental differences, capacity ranges, and limitations of central chain bucket elevators and drag chain conveyors, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision. Don't hesitate to consult with material handling experts who can analyze your specific requirements and recommend the most suitable champion for your material handling battles. RUD India is among India’s premier material handling equipment manufacturers and their team of experts can help you make the right purchase decision for your business.

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