Purchasing an auger conveyor can be a tedious and overwhelming experience.
The nature of how product moves in an auger conveyor (sliding through a tube with a screw or auger as opposed to just sitting on a belt) requires the manufacturer to know a lot of detailed information about the product being conveyed and where it’s being conveyed — information that most customers aren’t aware of or don’t have prepared up front.
While most manufacturers try to make this process as painless as possible, there is no getting around the need for some information in order to design an auger conveyor that will efficiently move your product.
Auger Conveyor Design Factors
Before talking with a manufacturer to design and provide an auger conveyor to move your product, take time to determine the following design factors. Doing so will make the process of purchasing an auger conveyor easier and faster.
Abrasiveness, Corrosiveness, and Flowability of Product
Each of these characteristics affect how well your product will react to and move through an auger conveyor — and help determine the design and finish style of the auger conveyor’s interior.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your product abrasive (rough) or sticky?
- Does your product react to any materials?
- How well does your product flow or move?
- Does your product build up and harden when moved?
- Does your product generate static electricity?
- Is it flammable or explosive?
You can easily test the flowability of your product by placing it on a stainless steel table and trying to push it around. Did it move easily? Did it stick to the surface?
These are all things the manufacturer will need to know in order to ensure their auger conveyor can move your product.
Maximum Particle Size of Product
The size of the product being conveyed determines the auger conveyor diameter — as the product must be able to fit in the clearance between the center shaft and the inside of the trough. Larger products require a larger auger diameter and smaller products require a smaller auger diameter.
Particle size is determined by the maximum dimension of the largest pieces or lumps in the material being conveyed. When measuring particle size, find the largest pieces you can and go with the largest dimension. If the pieces are oddly shaped (i.e. one side is bigger than the other), always go with the larger of the two.
The character of the product pieces must also be considered. Some products have hard pieces that won’t break up when conveyed. Other products have pieces that are fairly hard, but break down when being moved. Knowing this will help the manufacturer determine auger size.
Density of Product
The density of the product being conveyed is needed to determine the appropriate capacity of the auger conveyor.
An auger conveyor capacity is calculated volumetrically in cubic feet per hour.
When you tell a manufacturer that you need a certain amount of product moved per hour, the product density that is used to convert the capacities given in tons or pounds per hour to cubic feet per hour — to determine the volume the auger conveyor needs to be able to move.
Length of Auger
The manufacturer will need to know the distance you want to move your product, which is used to determine the length and style of the auger.
We recommend taking this measurement in inches.
Infeed and Discharge Heights and Sizes
Knowing how you plan to feed and discharge the auger conveyor, and at what heights, is needed to determine the size and height of the infeed hopper and the size and style of the discharge chute.
Some questions to consider:
- How will you feed the auger conveyor (dumper, conveyor, by hand, another way)?
- What height does the hopper need to be in order to clear your method of feeding?
- How much product will you dump into the auger conveyor at once?
- Where will product exit the auger conveyor?
- Do you need a chute or diverter at the outfeed?
- How high does the outfeed need to be?
All of these questions need to be considered in order to design an auger conveyor that will fit your needs.
Other Features and Options
Many manufacturers offer a number of features and options that can be added onto their auger conveyors. Here are just a few to consider:
- Choice of hopper sizes and styles
- Contoured, solid, or domed grate covers
- Dual screw elevators
- Insulation and cladding
- Load cells
- Single or dual agitators
- Bead blast or passivated surfaces
- Heating or chilling jackets
- Reversing horizontal screws
- Mobile or stationary units
- Adjustable discharge heights
- High capacity loaders
- Pivoting augers
- Top or bottom mounted drive
- Shaft or shaftless design
- Flight material
- CIP system
- Hinged safety guards
- Safety switches
Know Your Needs
Answering the questions above will help make the process of designing and purchasing the right auger conveyor for your product easy and painless. The manufacturer you choose should be able to help you decide the length, infeed and discharge heights, and options for your auger, but will need the information about your product to make sure the conveyor they build fits your needs.