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Bulk Solids: Optimizing Screw Conveyors

By Alan W. Roberts |

Despite their apparent simplicity, the complexity of these conveying systems demands proper design and an understanding of the underlying principles Screw conveyors play a major role in a wide variety of industrial operations that involve the handling of bulk solids. While their use is generally limited to relatively short conveying distances, their versatility in being able to provide reliable operation for conveying over a wide range of elevation angles from the horizontal to the vertical is well established. Despite their apparent simplicity, their mode of operation is far from simple. For this reason, it is important that conveyor designers, manufacturers and users have some understanding of the basic mechanics governing their performance. This discussion of screw conveyor fundamentals draws upon background research that is presented in Refs. 1–7.   Background The earliest form of the screw conveyor dates back some 2200 years to the time of Archimedes who developed the helical screw conveyor, mainly for pumping water for irrigation purposes. The Archimedean screw conveyor consists of a helical screw flight that is attached to a cylindrical casing, so they rotate together. Its conveying action by, positive displacement,…
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