Chain conveyors, or drag chain conveyors, are one of the most widely used types of conveyors. Chain conveyors are material handling equipment that utilize parallel horizontal chains to move materials through a conveyor system as well as from one place inside a facility to another, and/or through various stages of automated manufacturing or finishing. There are several types of chain conveyors that are widely used in industrial manufacturing processes including monorail conveyors and slat conveyors.
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Design of Chain Conveyors
Chain conveyors consist of one or multiple parallel chains wrapped around two or more wheels which turn in the same direction and rotate the chains, giving smooth linear movement to the chains and objects on the chains, or attached to the chains for heavy-duty applications. The chains of typically metal, but plastic chain conveyors are also available. The chain conveyor frame consists of structural tube steel rails that are welded onto structural angle spreaders and thus connected together. A UHMW chain track or a steel wear bar supports the chain, which is typically powered by an underhung center-mounted drive. All or one of the wheels can be powered by the drive which is connected to the wheel through a sprocket and a chain; powered wheels are called drive wheels, which also have sprockets, and non-powered wheels are called idlers. The chain is put around the sprockets to connect to both the motor and the drive wheel, in order for the motor to power the rotation of the drive wheel and allow the chains to rotate around the frame and move material. A speed reducer is then needed to moderate the speed allowed by the motor and is connected to the motor by a v-belt or "c" face coupling. The drive and speed reducer are both placed under the chain conveyor on the wheels if it is open or on a base which can be either a metal frame bed or metal trough.
Applications of Chain Conveyors
Of the styles of Chain Conveyors, Monorail conveyors are commonly used to move parts such as powdered metal parts through ovens for sintering or drying, or to move unfinished metal parts through parts washing processes while a slat conveyors are designed to move on an incline angle. As power and labor saving systems, chain conveyor systems are cost-efficient, durable and versatile with a wide range of capacities, configurations and sizes available. Applications for chain conveyors include automobile assembly, bulk handling, warehousing, parts washing processes, distribution, sintering, drying, long-distance material transportation, shipping and material handling. Able to transport very wide materials, chain conveyors are used in industries such as lumber, automotive, industrial manufacturing, aerospace, construction, engineering and food processing. Overall, chain conveyors can move wet, dry and large materials with ease and offer reliability and a long service life.