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12-1 Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department Iowa State University 12/07/06 Carl J.


Chapter 12 Mechanical Grain Conveying

INTRODUCTION Material handling is a unit operation which changes the spacial location of material without changing its form except incidentally (Pinches, 1958). Material handling operations with grain involve many types of grain conveying devices. These types of mechanical grain conveying devices will be discussed in this chapter: Belt conveyors Flight conveyors Bucket conveyors Screw conveyors

These devices all find wide use in agriculture, and are very interesting from an engineering point of view. Important design factors Important design factors of material handling equipment are: Capacity Safety Reliability Original cost Operating cost Maintenance Simplicity of design and fabrication Product damage Cleanability Pollution (usually noise and dust) Power requirements

The importance of each factor depends on the application. Cleanability is important for a seed conveyor when seed left in the conveyor will be mixed with the next grain conveyed. It is of no importance in a farm design where the only material handled is corn for feed. Product damage is important in a conveyor loading grain to be marketed since an increase in fine material could result in a lowered value. It has a low priority for a conveyor loading a grinder. Energy considerations As noted above, power requirement (energy) is an important consideration in the design of a conveyor. Much more attention has been given to this design aspect since the so-called energy crisis of 1973. The energy input to a conveyor is used for two things: To operate the conveyor To lift material

The quantity of energy expended operating a conveyor is dependent on the conveyor design and is something to consider as conveyors are compared. The energy expended in lifting material represents an increase in potential energy of the material mass and is not dependent on conveyor design. If the conveying path is horizontal, this component is zero. If the conveying path slopes down, this energy input is negative, meaning there can be an

12-2 output of energy from the conveyor. In some cases when this output exceeds conveyor requirements, the conveyor produces net energy which can be used for other purposes. The "perfect" conveyor The hypothetical perfect conveyor is one which moves material without friction losses. In this conveyor, the energy to operate the conveyor is zero. No actual conveyor can operate without friction. However, it is useful to compare actual conveyors with a perfect conveyor doing the same job. Power for a perfect conveyor Figure 12-1 shows forces moving a particle during conveying from point 1 to point 2 along a frictionless surface.

Figure 12.1 Forces on particle being conveyed along a frictionless surface path. Summing forces tangentially, we obtain: F cos = mg sin where (12-1)

F = conveying force on particle m = particle mass g = acceleration of gravity

In order to move the particle from point 1 to point 2, the work required is

W = Fcosds


where ds is an infinitesimal distance along the frictionless surface. Since ds sin = dy,

W = mgdy = mg(y 2 y1 )



Note that Equation 12-3 represents the work necessary to convey the particle in the absence of friction. It is thus the energy required by a "perfect" conveyor. Note also that the work required is independent of the route taken between point 1 and point 2. For a continuous flow of material, power required by the perfect conveyor is:

12-3 mg(y 2 y1 ) t = conveyor power = mass flow rate

P= where: P mg/t

Comparing conveyors To judge among various conveying methods as to their energy requirement, each conveyor type will be used in the design of a hypothetical conveying system and compared for energy requirement to an impossible "perfect" system which requires no energy to operate the conveyor. Example 12-1 will describe this system and illustrate the computation procedure. Example 12-1 Corn (45 lb/ft3) is to be moved at a rate of 140 000 lb/h from the bottom of a 4-ft-deep pit to discharge 1 ft above a 20-ft-diameter bin having a loading hole 27 ft above ground level. Compute power (hp) and energy per unit grain mass (hp h/ton) required assuming a "perfect" conveyor. The total lifting height is: 4 + 27 + 1 = 32 ft. P= (32 ft) (140 000 lb) (h) (min hp) = 2.26hp (h) (60min) (330 00 ft lb) (2.26 hp) (h) (2000 lb) hp h = .0323 (140,000 lb) ton ton


Power and energy necessary for the "perfect" conveyor, which requires only power necessary to lift the material, is 2.26 hp h/ton. Energy efficiency of the conveyor can be defined as a ratio of the increase in potential energy of the material to energy input. In conventional units, the equation is: Ec = where Ec = energy efficiency, hp = power from conveyor motor, hp Lh = lift height, ft Q = mass flow rate, lb/h The factor 33 000 converts hp to ft lb/min; the factor 60 converts hours to minutes. For the example, Ec = (32) (140 000) (100) = 100% (2.26) (33 000) (60) (Lh) (Q) (100) (hp) (33 000) (60) (12-5)

Conveyor types, it will be seen, will fall into a high energy requirement group and a low energy requirement group. Those types which slide grain on a surface as it is conveyed will be in the high group because of friction losses. Conveyors which carry material on anti-friction bearings will be in the low group. Gravity


Flow of grain by gravity can be utilized where slopes are adequate for reliable flow of material. Table 12-1 lists spout or flow slopes for material flow. Table 12-1. Minimum angles for material flow (MWPS 1983). (Material) grain, dry grain, wet pellets meal Spout angle or floor slopes, degrees 37 45 (minimum) 45 60

Table 12-2 lists grain flow rates for clean, dry grain flowing through a round tube from a dead stop. This would be the condition existing when the tube discharges through a gate from a bin opening. Table 12.2 Grain flow rates through tubes (Ditzenberger, 1980.) Tube diameter, inches 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Corn 1,686 3,000 4,679 6,741 9,178 11,907 15,168 18,632 22,654 26,963 31,641 Soybeans Flow rate, bu/h 2,023 3,600 5,615 8,089 11,014 14,396 18,202 22,356 27,185 32,356 37,969 Wheat 2,580 4,590 7,159 10,313 14,042 18,355 23,207 28,507 34,660 41,534 48,411

BELT CONVEYORS A belt conveyor consists of an endless moving belt which supports and moves material. Figure 12.2 illustrates the components of a belt conveyor. The belt is usually fabric-reinforced rubber. It is carried on idlers fitted with antifriction bearings. On the top (load) side of grain conveyors, these idlers are usually arranged to trough the belts and thus increase the allowable load cross-section (Figure 12-3a). Return idlers under the belt carry the belt flat and can be installed at longer spacings than the load-carrying idlers (Figure 12-3b). Some portable belt conveyor designs eliminate carrying idlers by running the loaded belt inside a metal tube. During return, the belt is carried on return idlers under the tube. The tube is the main structural component of the conveyor, and also covers the loaded conveyor. This design may be less expensive to build, but power requirements will be higher due to the sliding friction of the belt. Most designs drive (apply power to the belt) at the head pulley since this prevents the return side of the belt from being tensioned due to load. History Flat belt conveyors were in use in U.S. industry by 1840 to carry clay, sawmill refuse, and stone. In 1876, the North Central Railroad elevator in Baltimore was equipped with a 30-in rubber-belt grain conveyor which ran at 550 ft/min. Ball or roller bearings were in common use on belt conveyors by 1920 (Hetzel and Albright, 1941).

12-5 Although conveyor configurations remain similar to early designs, vast improvements in belts, bearings, and drives have been made through the years.

Figure 12-2. Nomenclature of components of a typical belt conveyor (CEMA, 1979).

Figure 12-3. Belt conveyor idlers (CEMA, 1979) Loading and unloading Belt conveyor loading is normally done through a feed chute located just ahead of the tail pulley. Closely spaced idlers in this region prevent excessive belt deflection due to dynamic loading forces (Figure 12-2). The simplest discharge arrangement consists of discharge over the head pulley (Figure 12-4a). A discharge chute may be necessary to direct flow after it leaves the end of the belt (Figure 12-2). Discharge along the run of a belt conveyor is difficult. A plow is one way to discharge over the side of the belt (Figure 12-4b). The plow, held solid above the belt, pushes grain off the side of the belt. The plow is attached to the conveyor frame and can be designed to be movable along the belt. It may not be usable on troughed belts. A tripper (Figure 12-4c) is a device which lifts the belt and its contents high enough so that material can be discharged over a belt pulley and then allowed to flow down a gravity chute to a pile beneath either side of the belt. Various tripper designs allow flow on the belt past the tripper and even movement of the tripper by belt power. A moving tripper allows formation of a continuous pile of triangular cross section below the belt.


Figure 12-4. Belt discharge methods (CEMA, 1979) General characteristics of belt conveyors We will note here the general characteristics of belt conveyors. Some will be explained more in the design section. Belt width Belt widths range from 18 to 96 inches. The most economical design is usually one which uses the narrowest possible belt running up to its highest allowable speed. Belt speed Maximum belt speeds range from 50 to 1000 ft/min. Speed is limited by the tendency of material to blow off the belt, by belt slippage on the drive pulley as centrifugal force acts on the belt, and by the dangers of belt damage as large sharp lumps are loaded. CEMA, 1979 recommends maximum belt speeds listed in Table 12-3 for belts carrying grain or other free flowing, nonabrasive material. Table 12-3. Recommended maximum belt speeds and belt weight for grain and other free-flowing, nonabrasive material (CEMA, 1979)


Belt width, in.

Max. belt speed, ft/min.

Approx. belt weight lb/ft # 3.5 4.5 6 9 11 14 16 18 21 25 30

18 500 24 700 30 700 36 800 42 800 48 1000 54 1000 60 1000 72 1000 84 1000 96 1000 # Non-steel cable belts for material in 30 to 74 lb/ft3 range Power requirement

Power requirement is comparatively low since the load is carried on anti-friction bearings. Since there is no sliding of material during movement, power is independent of product moisture content. Incline Incline is limited by the repose characteristics of the material being moved. Since the belt is smooth, material will tend to roll down if the incline is too great. The limit for a smooth, slick material such as hulled or polished rice is 8 degrees. A fibrous, interlocking material like wood chips can be conveyed at a 27-degree incline. Recommended maximums for grain are in the range from 8-18 degrees. Recommended maximums for specific materials are listed in Appendix A, Table A-2. The limitation on incline is one factor limiting use of portable belt conveyors for grain. The belt conveyor must be quite long to discharge into grain storage structures. Some specialized designs employ rubber flights molded into the belt surface. These flights reduce the tendency for material to roll down, and allow steeper belt runs. Capacity A very wide range of capacities is possible with belt conveyors. A capacity of over 300 000 bu of corn per hour is theoretically possible (96 in. belt, maximum speed). No other material handling method can approach such a capacity. As a result, belt conveyors find wide use in applications such as grain elevators where high capacities are required. Product damage There is practically no damage to material while being conveyed on a belt conveyor since there is little relative motion between the material and the belt. There may be product damage occurring during loading and unloading. Noise Noise level comparatively is low since a belt conveyor has none of the usual sources of high conveyor noise (scraping of surfaces, high-speed fans, impact of particles). Distance

12-8 Conveying distance is unlimited. Belt conveyor systems can be designed like pipelines for dry material. A belt conveyor system has been proposed to carry corn 250 miles east from Storm Lake, IA to a Mississippi river barge terminal. Although technically feasible, the conveying costs were projected to be higher than rail car rates and so the system was not built (Des Moines Tribune, 1972). Investment cost Belt conveyors are comparatively high in cost and designed for long life and heavy service. Enclosure Belt conveyors are not inherently enclosed and unless there is a reason to add the expense of enclosure (dust containment, weather protection) they are usually left open. Combined operations Unit operations such as weighing, sorting, or spraying can be carried out during belt conveyor transit. Belt conveyor design Methods will be presented here for preliminary designs of belt conveying systems. Procedures for estimating belt size, speed and power requirements will be explained. Load cross section The volume capacity of a belt conveyor is the product of belt speed and load cross section. Figure 12-5 shows dimensions used to compute load cross section for a troughed belt. When material is loaded on the belt it falls to its filling angle of repose with the horizontal, but then slumps to a circular profile ABC which has a center at D.

Figure 12-5. Area of belt conveyor load cross section (CEMA 1979). At the sides of the load cross section, the top surface of the material meets the belt at angle , henceforth called the surcharge angle. As the conveyor belt passes over successive carrying idlers, material on the belt is agitated and

12-9 the cross section assumes a more flattened shape. Since lines AD and CD are perpendicular to the material top surface, angle ADC is 2 . Material is loaded to within c inches of the belt edge. The area of load cross section is, thus, the sum of area Ab (the trapezoid) and areas As, the surcharge. Distance l is estimated as follows: l = 0.371 (b) + 0.25 where l and b are as defined in Figure 12-5. The surcharge angle is a property of the material being conveyed and is 5 to 20 degrees less than the filling angle of repose. See Table 12-4. Flowability is the fourth characteristic of the material code from Table A-1 in Appendix A. For example, wheat has material code 47LC25N (from Table A-2). The 2 indicates a free-flowing material (Table 12-4). The load cross section as defined here exists in a vertical plane. The effective load cross section of inclined belts decreases as the cosine of the angle of conveyor slope since this cross section is measured in a plane normal to the belt. The actual loss of capacity is usually very small. Table 12-4. Flowability - Angle of surcharge - Angle of Repose (CEMA) 1979. (12-6)

For grain, a 20-degree troughed belt with three equal-length rolls is common. Load cross sections along with volume capacities for this type of belt are listed in Table 12-5. Belt capacity Belt capacity is the product of belt speed and load cross section. An example problem will illustrate the computation procedure: Example 12-2 Compute the capacity (bu/h) of a 36-in. belt conveyor running at 285 ft/min and carrying wheat (1 bu = 1.245 ft3).


From Table A-2, wheat has a code of 47C25N. The fourth character (2) indicates a 10 degree surcharge angle (Table A-1, Table 1204). From Table 12-5, load cross section is 0.596 ft2 and capacity at 100 ft/min is 3579 ft3/h. (3579 ft 3 ) min (285 ft) bu = 8192 bu/h h (100 ft) min (1.245 ft 3 ) Table 12-5.
Belt Width (Inches) 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 72 84 96


Load cross section and capacity for 20-degree troughed belt, three equal rolls (CEMA, 1979).
At- Cross Section of Load (ft2) Surcharge Angle 10 15 20 .128 .147 .167 .246 .283 .320 .402 .462 .522 .596 .684 .774 .828 .950 1.074 1.099 1.260 1.424 1.407 1.613 1.822 1.753 2.009 2.270 2.560 2.933 3.312 3.519 4.030 4.551 4.631 5.302 5.986 Capacity at 100 ft/min (ft3/h) Surcharge Angle 10 15 20 769 886 1005 1477 1698 1924 2414 2772 3137 3579 4107 4645 4972 5703 6447 6594 7560 8544 8444 9678 10935 10552 12057 13621 15364 17599 19876 21119 24186 27309 27787 31816 35921

0 .089 .173 .284 .423 .588 .781 1.002 1.249 1.826 2.513 3.308

5 .108 .209 .343 .509 .708 .940 1.204 1.501 2.192 3.014 3.967

25 .188 .359 .585 .866 1.201 1.592 2.037 2.537 3.701 5.085 6.687

30 .209 .399 .649 .960 1.332 1.765 2.258 2.812 4.102 5.635 7.411

0 537 1041 1708 2538 3533 4691 6013 7498 10961 15079 19850

5 653 1258 2060 3057 4250 5640 7225 9006 13155 18089 23806

25 1128 2155 3511 5196 7210 9552 12223 15223 22210 30511 40128

30 1254 2394 3897 5765 7997 10592 13552 16876 24617 33813 44466

Power requirement The power requirement of a belt is estimated by use of this equation: hp = where hp = Te = V= (Te) (V) (33 000) power to drive pulley, hp effective tension, lb belt speed, ft/min

Te is effective tension at the drive pulley which must be supplied by the drive. The torque supplied to the drive pulley shaft is the product of Te and the drive pulley radius. Ordinarily, to compute hp, V is known and Te is estimated by summing tensions necessary to run the conveyor and lift the material. For a basic straight-line belt conveyor of the type commonly used for grain movement, Te can be estimated by use of this emperical (adaped from CEMA, 1979): Te = L (0.00068Wm + 0.05 Wb + .58) + Wm (0.035L + H) + 225 where L = conveyor length, ft (use pulley-to-pulley centerline distance) Wm= weight of material, lb per ft of belt length Wb = weight of belt, lb per ft of belt length H = vertical distance material is raised (+) or lowered (-) (12-9)

The equation can estimate effective tension for a straight-line belt conveyor with no accessories (plows, trippers for example) operating at 32 F or above. The drive pulley is connected to a source of shaft power (usually an electric motor) through a drive assembly. Since drive pulley speed is slower than electric motor shaft speed (usually 1725 r/min), the drive is designed to

12-11 reduce speed by means of gears, chains or belts. The efficiency of each reduction is about 93% and drives using two reductions are most common. Lost power is dissipated as heat from drive components. An example will illustrate power computation: Example 12-3 A 36-in belt conveyor runs at 285 ft/min and carries wheat at a rate of 245 ton/h. The conveyor is 200 ft long and lifts the wheat 40 ft. Compute necessary motor power output. Wm = (245ton) min h (2000 lb) = 28.66 lb/ft h (285ft) (60min) ton

Wb = 9 lb/ft (Table 12-3) Substituting into Equation 12-9: Te = 200 (0.00068 (28.66) + 0.05 (9) + 0.58) + 28.66 (0.035 (200) + 40) + 225 Te = 1781.9 lb Substituting into Equation 12-8: hp = (1781.9) (285) = 15.38 hp 33 000

Assuming each of two speed reductions is 93% efficient, the motor must deliver: (15.38) = 17.78 hp (0.93) (0.93) Belt conveyor application Belt conveyors are best suited for low slope, heavily used, high capacity, stationary applications demanding high reliability. At the high end of their capacity range there may be no alternative conveying method available. FLIGHT CONVEYORS Flight conveyors consist of one or two endless flexible drive lines (chains, belts, cables) to which flights are attached. Flights drag along material as the drive line is pulled in a circuit. There are many variations in agriculture and industry. As is the case with belt conveyors, half of the drive line is inactive and is continually pulled back to the loading point empty. (Some circuit-type conveyors may have a drive line more than half active.) General characteristics of flight conveyors It is difficult to generalize about characteristics here since flight conveyors are so varied. Speed Flight conveyors travel at drive line speeds from 25 to 300 ft/min. Speeds in the range from 100 to 200 ft/min are most common. Higher speeds accelerate wear and may increase product damage.


Power Power requirement is high (higher than belt conveyor, other things being equal) because the drive line, flights and material are all dragged along a surface. This dragging also makes noise. Some designs use plastic liners on flights or on interior conveyor surfaces to reduce friction and noise. Incline Allowable incline depends on the flight conveyor type. Some are designed for horizontal use only. Others may operate at extreme slopes or even vertically. Product damage Some grain damage occurs in flight conveyors because of rubbing action and possible pinch points between conveyor components. However, damage is usually less than with screw or pneumatic systems. Design parameters for conventional flight conveyors Figure 12-6 is a double chain, portable flight conveyor also known as a farm elevator. Load is carried on top in the open, with the drive line return below. Flights are rectangular. This type of flight conveyor is very versatile and, with little or no modification, can be used for grain, feed, ear corn, forage, and even bundles of shingles. This type of conveyor is inexpensive, often noisy, and will have a long life of intermittent use since it is needed only a few hours per year. Although driving from the bottom sprocket is not desirable (more chain and bearing stress), it is often done because of the difficulty of transferring power to the discharge end of this type of conveyor. It will be used as an example for design computations for flight conveyors.

Figure 12-6. Double chain, portable flight conveyor (farm elevator).

12-13 Typical design parameters This type of conveyor is operated with chain speeds between 25 and 300 ft/min. Flight spacing is about equal to flight width and flight height is about 40% of flight width. The theoretical volume capacity is given by Equation 12-10. C = (V) (h) (w) (12-10) where C = theoretical volume capacity V = drive line speed h = flight height w = conveyor width (flight length)

Equation 12-10 neglects the volume of the flight and chain and assumes slug flow of grain. To consider flight volume, multiply Equation 12-10 by (s-t)/s, where t is flight thickness and s is the flight spacing. At 100% of theoretical volume capacity, the conveyor is full to the flight depth. The conveyor will operate at various fractions of theoretical volume capacity depending on conveyor slope and the repose characteristics of the material conveyed. Henderson and Perry, (l976) list the percentages shown in Table 12-6. A conveyor with an enclosed conveying chamber will have less effect of slope on its capacity. Table 12-6. Flight conveyor approximate volume capacity (Henderson and Perry, 1976). Incline, degrees 0 20 30 40 Power requirement Power requirement of a flight conveyor can be estimated by Equation 12-8. Te is now defined as: Te = 1.1 (force to slide drive line + force to lift drive line up + force to slide material + force to lift material up + force to slide drive line - force to lift drive line going down) Approx. % of theoretical capacity 115 77 55 33


The drive line consists of the chain and flights. The description assumes the conveyor slopes up toward the discharge end. In this case, gravity force on the return side of the drive line subtracts from the turning effort. The added 10% is to account for friction in sprocket bearings. In terms of conveyor parameters, the equation is: Te = (1.1)L(Wc(Fc cos + sin + Wm(Fm cos + sin + Wc(Fc cos - sin + h2(0.044)) ) ) ) where Te = turning effort, lb (12-12) L= conveyor length, ft Wc = weight of chain and flights, lb/ft h = average depth of material in conveyor, in. Fc = kinetic friction coefficient of chain and flights on conveyor floor (Table A-3) = conveyor slope, degrees Wm= weight of material on conveyor, lb/ft Fm = kinetic friction coefficient of material on conveyor floor (Table A-3)

12-14 The term 0.044 h2 is an empirical factor to account for grain friction on conveyor walls (Rexnord, 1980). It may be negligible for open, top-load conveyors. The equation can be simplified to: Te = (1.1)L(2Wc Fc cos + Wm (Fm cos + sin + h2(0.044)) ) If Wc is not known, it can be approximated by: Wc = 0.0024 (total weight of material on conveyor, lb), lb/ft

(12-13) (12-14)

This equation, adapted from Rexnord, 1980, assumes Wc to be a function of both conveyor length and weight of material per unit length of conveyor. From Table A-3 it can be seen that Fm varies from one grain to another and usually increases with moisture content. Power requirement of a flight conveyor is, thus, influenced by grain moisture. An example will illustrate use of the equations. Example 12-4 Estimate the capacity (tons/h) and motor power requirement for this flight conveyor carrying dry corn:

Flights are 12 in. long. Spacing equals length and height is 40% of length. The drive line weight is 3 lb/ft. All conveyor parts are steel. Table A-2: Bulk density = 45 lb/ft3 tan 23.1 = 0.58 40 = 30 L= 40 = 46.19 ft cos 30

Effective volume capacity is calculated using Equation 12-10 and a value from Table 12-6: 0.55(C) = (0.55) (125 ft) (0.4 ft) (1 ft) 27.5 ft 3 = min min

capacity =

(27.5ft 3 ) (45 lb) (ton) (60 min) tons = 37.13 3 h min ft 2000 lb h 3 (27.5ft ) (45 lb) (min) lb 9.9lb46.19 ft lb Wm = = 9.9 Wc = (0.0024 ) = 1.1 3 ft ft ft min ft 125 ft (27.5 ft 3 (min) (12in) = 2.64 in min 125 ft 1 ft 1 ft


Substituting into Equation 12-13:


Friction coefficients are obtained from Table A-3 in the Appendix. Te = (1.1) (46.18) (2(3) 0.57 cos 30 + (9.9) 0.27 cos 30 + sin 30) + 2.64 (0.044)) Te = 299.4 lb hp = (299.4) (125) = 1.13 hp (33000)

Assume the drive reduces speed in two steps, each with an efficiency of 0.93. motor power required = 1.13 = 1.31 hp (0.93) (0.93)

Application of conventional flight conveyors Conventional flight conveyors are inexpensive simple machines. They are best suited to intermittant use, low volume applications where power requirement is not an important factor and suitability for a variety of materials is important. En masse conveyor The en masse conveyor is a type of flight conveyor which moves grain in slug flow (en masse) rather than in discrete elements between flights. Figure 12-7 is a cutaway view of an en masse conveyor. Load is carried on the bottom with return on the top.

Figure 12-7. En masse flight conveyor (Huss and Schlieper, Inc. 1981). The enclosed box design retains dust, protects grain from weather, and allows long spans without additional support. Low-height flights, which operate submerged, plus the chain move a layer of grain along the conveyor floor. Grain above is carried along in a continuous stream filling the chamber up to the level of the return track supports. Metal-to-metal sliding contact is avoided in some models by use of ultra high molecular weight polyethelene (UHMWP) wear bars (as shown) or as conveyor liners. The drive line rests on UHMWP inserts or rollers on the return. During loading, grain falls through the return drive line. Discharge is under the drive sprocket, or at any intermediate point. Ease of employing any number of intermediate discharges is an advantage. In this form the en masse conveyor is intended for no-incline or low-incline applications. Slope limits are usually in the 5- to 10-degree range

12-16 Modification of the flight design allows the en masse conveyor to be used for inclined or even vertical applications. Figure 12-8 shows en masse conveyor flight designs for various applications. Conveyors for higher inclines have a solid partition between the load and the return sections of the conveyor and grain bears against all four walls during conveying. Some designs limit incline to 45 or 60 degrees. Others allow vertical application. Portable models in the configuration of farm elevators are also available. These portable conveyors are driven from the discharge end through a shaft extending along the conveyor to a PTO or electric motor drive near the ground. Speed, power and capacity En masse conveyors are designed for drive line speeds of 100 to 275 ft/min. Table 12-7 illustrates the range of capacities available with en masse conveyors. Conveyor size listed is the width x height of the conveyor box cross section in inches. Grain is assumed to flow at drive line speed in a slug the width of the conveyor and about 65% of its height. Conveyor capacities up to nearly 100 000 bu/h and lengths to 400 ft make this conveyor type appropriate for many high capacity applications.


Figure 12-8. En masse conveyor flight configurations (Buhler-Maig (1983).

12-18 Table 12-7. Typical en masse conveyor horizontal capacity (Huss and Schieper, Inc. 1981). CAPACITY CHART - UNITS PER HOUR Conv Size1 12x22 UNITS 1 50 75 CU. FT 68.4 3420 5130 BU. 54.7 2730 4100 18x22 CU. FT 106.3 5310 7970 BU. 85.0 4250 6370 24x22 CU. FT 144.2 7210 10810 BU. 115.3 5760 8650 30x22 CU. FT 182.1 9100 13650 BU. 145.6 7280 10920 18x28 CU. FT 136.9 6840 10260 BU. 109.5 5470 8210 24x28 CU. FT 186.7 9330 14000 BU. 149.3 7460 11200 30x28 CU. FT 236.3 11810 17720 BU. 189.0 9450 14170 36x28 CU. FT 286.0 14300 21450 BU. 228.8 11440 17160 42x28 CU. FT 335.7 16780 25170 BU. 268.5 13420 20140 48x28 CU. FT 385.4 19270 28900 BU. 308.3 15410 23120 54x28 CU. FT 435.1 21750 32630 BU. 348.0 17400 26100 1 width x height of box cross section, in. 100 6840 5470 10630 8500 14420 11530 18210 14560 13690 10950 18670 14930 23630 18900 28600 22880 33570 26850 38540 30830 43510 34800 125 8550 6840 13280 10630 18020 14420 22760 18210 17110 13690 23330 18670 29530 23630 35750 28600 41960 33570 48170 38540 54380 43510 Speed ft/min 150 175 10260 11970 8200 9570 15940 18600 12750 14880 21630 25230 17300 20180 27310 31860 21850 25490 20530 23950 16420 19160 28000 32670 22400 26130 35440 41350 28350 33080 42900 50050 34320 40040 50350 58740 40280 46990 57810 67440 46240 53950 65260 76140 52210 60910 200 13680 10940 21260 17000 28840 23070 36420 29130 27380 21900 37340 29870 47260 37800 57200 45760 67140 53710 77080 61660 87020 69610 225 15390 12310 23910 19130 32440 25950 40970 32770 30800 24640 42000 33600 53160 42530 64350 51480 75530 60420 86710 69370 97890 78310 250 17100 13680 26570 21260 36050 28840 45520 36420 34220 27380 46670 37340 59070 47260 71500 57200 83920 67140 96350 77080 108770 87020 275 18810 15040 29230 23380 39650 31720 50070 40060 37640 30110 51340 41070 64980 51980 78650 62920 92310 73850 105980 84780 119650 95720

An example will illustrate power computation for an en masse conveyor. Example 12-5. An en masse conveyor is to be used to convey dry corn a distance of 200 ft along a 10 degree incline at a rate of 600 000 lb/h. The conveyor is to be steel with UHMWP flights and chain wear plates. Specify the conveyor and estimate the power requirement assuming a dual reduction drive. 600000 lb ft 3 ft 3 = 13333 h 45 lb h From Table 12-7, a 12 x 22 conveyor running at between 175 and 200 ft/min will handle this capacity. 13333 - 11970 x = 13680 - 11970 25 x = 19.9

Conveyor speed is 175 + 19.9 = 194.9 ft/min. Power is estimated by Equations 12-12 and 12-13. Weight of material on conveyor = (600 000) lb min h 200 ft = 10,262 lb h (194.9) ft (60min)

12-19 Wc = 0.0024 (10 262) = 24.6 lb/ft Fc = 0.2 (Table A-3) Wm = 51.31 lb/ft Fm = 0.27 h (13333 ft 3 ) min h (12 in) = 13.7in. h (194.9 ft) (60 min) (1 ft) ft

Te = (1.1) (200) (2(24.6) (0.2) cos 10 + 51.31 (0.27 (cos 10) + sin 10) + 0.044 (13.7) 2 ) Te = 8910.4 lb hp = (8910.4) (194.9) = 52.63 hp (33 000) 52.63 = 60.8 hp (0.93) (0.93)

motor power =

Application of en masse conveyors En masse conveyors are often specified for heavy use applications for grain in permanent installations. Often distances are short and an overhead span is crossed. Cable-flight conveyor for feed Figure 12-9 is a cable drive conveyor for feed using disc-shaped molded plastic flights pulled through a metal tube. The tube can be routed through a complicated path and if the cable makes a circuit, there may be little idle return conveyor. One model uses a 60-mm inside tube diameter and a cable speed of 100 ft/min. Circuit lengths up to 2000 ft are allowable. Throughput is about 2 tons/h.

Figure 12-9. Cable-drive flight conveyor BUCKET CONVEYORS Bucket conveyors are vertical belt conveyors with buckets bolted on to carry the load. They offer for vertical conveying many of the desirable features of belt conveyors. (The drive line can be chain, but belts are used in most grain conveyors.)

12-20 Figure 12-10 is a side view of a bucket conveyor type commonly used for grain. Common terminology of conveyor parts and dimensions is also included. The figure shows a dual-leg conveyor. This means the up and the down sides are in separate enclosures (legs). A single-leg type has the entire belt in one enclosure. The entire bucket conveyor is sometimes called a leg. A motor drives the head pulley. Takeup adjustment is at the foot pulley. It can be by bolts (as shown) or by gravity from weights hung on the shaft.

Figure 12-10. Bucket conveyor (Bloome et al. 1978). Types of bucket conveyors The three common belt conveyor types vary in the way material is discharged. Figure 12-11 illustrates these types. The centrifugal discharge type is discharged by centrifugal action as loaded buckets pass over the head pulley. The head section must be specially designed for proper discharge. This will be discussed more later. Most grain conveyors are centrifugal discharge and all discussion following this section will be about that type. Positive discharge conveyors employ an idler below the head pulley. As the drive line (which may be chain in this case) runs around the idler, each bucket is inverted over a discharge spout, causing positive discharge. This type conveyor runs at lower speeds and is used for light, fluffy, or fragile materials or those tending to stick in buckets.


Figure 12-11. Bucket conveyor types (Thomas Conveyor Co., 1980) Continuous conveyors have buckets placed as close as possible (continuously) on the belt. During discharge, material flows over the preceding bucket whose front and projecting ends form a chute to direct material into the discharge spout. This conveyor type is used for heavy abrasive and lumpy materials like cement, crushed stone, and clinker. Another design (not shown) uses hanging buckets which allow vertical, angled, and horizontal belt routing. General features Bucket conveyors have low power requirements since load is carried in buckets supported by antifriction bearings. Power and capacity are not affected by grain moisture content. Their noise level is relatively low. Bucket conveyors are reliable, relatively trouble free, and have a long service life. On farms they often are the common section of a closed-loop handling system. Horizontal conveyance in such a system is accomplished by angled gravity spouting from the bucket conveyor discharge. In grain elevators and other related industries, bucket conveyors are the preferred method of vertical grain movement. Alternatives include vertical screw conveyors and pneumatic systems, both of which have higher power requirements and a greater potential for grain damage. During actual grain lifting, practically no damage occurs in a bucket conveyor. However, loading and unloading operations have a potential to break kernels. This will be discussed more later. Bucket conveyors can be categorized by belt speed into high speed (450 to 1000 ft/min) and low speed (under 450 ft/min). High speed designs are most common for the high capacity conveyors in grain elevators. Low-speed bucket conveyors are common on farms. Conditions for centrifugal discharge A Centrifugal discharge conveyor must be designed with the proper combination of belt speed, head pulley radius, head section shape, and bucket shape for proper discharge. Figure 12-12 shows the forces acting on grain in a conveyor bucket as it rounds the head pulley.


Figure 12-12. Forces on grain during centrifugal discharge. The effective force on the grain is the resultant of the grain force, W which always acts down and C, the centrifugal force which always acts out along a radius from the head pulley centerline. When the resultant force on a kernel points out through the bucket opening, the kernel will leave the bucket. Centrifugal force on a mass is given by Equation 12-15. C= W(Vt) 2 g r (3600) (12-15)

where C = centrifugal force, lb W = weight, lb Vt = tangential velocity, ft/min g = acceleration of gravity = 32.2 ft/s2 r = effective radius of mass, ft (usually measured to a point halfway across the bucket projection) Hetzel and Albright, 1941 recommend that for centrifugal discharge of grain, C = W. If this condition exists the resultant on the kernel will be zero when the cup is directly above the head pulley center line. After that, the resultant force will have a direction out of the bucket and discharge will begin. The speed for C = W will be referred to as the critical speed. If the equation C = W is combined with equation 1215 and simplified, the result is: Vt = 60 gr For the conveyor, Vt = 2 r N where N = pulley speed, rev/min Combining 12-16 and 12-17, we obtain: N= 54.19 r (12-17) (12-18) (12-16)

12-23 where N is now the critical speed. Note that the radius here is the effective mass radius and not the pulley radius. Belt speed can be computed by revising Equation 12-17: Vb = 2 rp N where: Vb = belt speed, ft/min rp = pulley radius, ft Buckets Figure 12-13 shows the bucket shape and size designation. Buckets are made of fabricated metal (usually steel), cast metal, or of a non-metallic material. Non-metallic buckets (polyethelene, urethane, poly vinyl chloride) reduce drive line stresses because they are much lighter than metal buckets. However, one manufacturer cautions against their use in combustible environments because of their ability to retain static electrical charge and produce sparks (Rexnord, 1980). The radius of the grain in the bucket will vary by the length B in the figure. An example will illustrate use of the equations. (12-19)

Figure 12-13. Bucket size designation (Bloome et al., 1978) Example 12-6. A bucket conveyor is designed for centrifugal discharge and the head pulley is to operate at critical speed. The head pulley is 18 in. in diameter, with a 0.5-in. belt thickness and a 6-in. bucket projection. Compute the correct head pulley speed and belt speed. r= (9 + 0.5 + 3) = 1.042 ft 12 54.19 1.041 = 53.09 rev/min


Vb =

2(9) (53.09) = 250.18 ft/min 12

Designs in use for grain conveying vary considerably from the critical speed condition for centrifugal discharge. One way to compare different designs is to compute the C/W ratio. C/W = 1 if the conveyor operates at critical speed. A survey of some manufacturer's specifications showed variations from C/W = 0.71 to C/W = 5.8. The low ratio design will not begin to discharge until the bucket is well past the top of the pulley. The high ratio design will begin to discharge before it reaches the top. In each case, head section geometry must be designed to accommodate resulting grain trajectories. One design in use (not recommended for grain) uses a belt speed of 1000 ft/min and C/W = 17.1. The discharge chute extends horizontally from the top of the head section.


If the head pulley speed is much slower or faster than the head section is designed for, grain will miss the discharge chute and fall down the down leg causing a condition known as "back legging." Back legging damages grain, cuts capacity, and wastes power. Loading buckets Conveyor buckets are loaded in the foot (or boot) section. A designer aims for a feed system which fills buckets to a high percent of their capacity with minimum power consumption, grain damage, and dust generation. All of the conveyors shown in Figure 12-11 are loaded into the up leg. This is the preferred loading method for farm size conveyors. If grain is introduced above the foot pulley shaft center, buckets are filled as they move vertically. Spillage into the foot section is minimized. If it is necessary for the system, grain can be loaded on the down side (or on both the up and down sides as shown in Figure 12-10). Grain loaded on the down side is subject to centrifugal force as it is swept under the foot section by the buckets. The practice of making the foot pulley smaller than the head pulley may increase centrifugal emptying forces to a point where capacity is cut and grain damage and dust generation increase. Ditzenberger, 1980, recommends that the foot pulley diameter never be smaller than 66% of the head pulley diameter so that these problems are avoided. Some high speed designs can be satisfactorily loaded only on the down side. At high belt speeds, grain must be introduced with a velocity component in the same direction as bucket movement, as is the case with a down-angled spout into the down leg. Loading on the up side results in reduced bucket filling and increased power. High-speed machines develop positive air pressure in the foot section as air "carried" down by buckets is displaced by grain. Ventilation pipes can be fitted to route this air to the head section which operates at negative pressure for the same reason. Capacity Bucket conveyor capacity depends on belt speed, bucket volume, bucket spacing, and the percent of fill attained by the bucket. Capacity tables usually assume buckets are filled to 85% of full. In designing a line of bucket conveyors, manufacturers often select a combination of belt speed and head pulley diameter which will give proper centrifugal discharge. With this combination held constant, capacity for different models is varied by varying bucket spacing or belt width (bucket length). Table 12-8 shows bucket conveyor capacities for different farm applications. Capacities larger than 5000 bu/h are seldom required on farms. Grain trade applications may require capacities over 60 000 bu/h.

12-25 Table 12-8. Bucket conveyor capacities and applications (MWPS-1978). CAPACITY bu/h 500-700 COMMENTS Well suited to wet and dry grain handling on continuous flow dryer APPLICATIONS 1 - Small farm needs 2 - Feed making only, with separate elevators for receiving wet grain 3 - As wet and dry grain elevator on continuous flow dryer. 1 - Small and medium farms, feed and/or cash grain. 2 - Small batch dryers, and layer or batch-inbin drying methods on small to medium farms. 1 - Medium to large farms, feed and cash grain. 2 - Load-unload on batch and batch-in-bin drying systems. 3 - Primary leg in a continuous flow or batch drying setup. 1 - Large farms, feed and cash grain. 2 - As load-unload on large batch and batch-inbin dryers. 3 - .As primary leg in two-leg installations on continuous flow dryers.


Well matched to 6 augers. spouts: 6



Well matched to load-unload rates on many mechanized batch dryers Maximum size for 6 gravity spouts. Maximum size for 8 horizontal augers in 25% corn. Matched to 8 overhead augers in dry grain. Gravity spouts: 8


Figure 12-14 is a nomograph showing capacities resulting with different combinations of belt speed, bucket size, and bucket spacing. Bucket sizes are given by nominal bucket length x projection in inches (See Figure 12-12). Bucket volumes listed assume buckets are filled to line x-x on Figure 12-13 and are typical for the bucket sizes listed.


Figure 12-14. Bucket conveyor capacity nomograph (Bloome et al., 1978). Different brands with the same nominal dimensions may vary + or - 15% from the listed volumes. Conveyor capacity assumes buckets are filled to 85% of volume. One bushel in Figure 12-14 is 1.245 ft3. In selecting a bucket size - bucket spacing combination, be sure bucket spacing exceeds bucket height (the smaller number) by at least an inch. An example will illustrate use of Figure 12-14. Example 12-7. A bucket conveyor runs with a belt speed of 440 ft/min and uses 9x6 buckets. What bucket spacing is needed for a capacity of 3000 bu/h? Line CD is drawn from 440 ft/min to 3000 bu/h. It crosses the diagonal solid line at E, which is called the turning point. Now a line is extended from F, the 9x6 volume, through E to G, a bucket center-to-center spacing of 8.3 in. The same result can be obtained by computation: (440 ft) (200 x 0.85 in 3 ) ft 3 bu h (60 min) (12 in.) min bucket (1728 in 3 ) (1.245 ft 3 ) (3000 bu) h ft = 8.3 in/bucket Power requirements Power requirements for bucket conveyors are usually estimated by computing the necessary lifting power and then adding a component to account for friction losses. Equation 12-19 was adapted from Bloome et al., 1978. hp = 1.1 (C) (BD) (h) C + (33 000) (60) (2490) (12-19)

where hp = power required, hp C = conveyor capacity, ft3/h BD = material bulk density, lb/ft3 h = lift height (distance between conveyor shaft centers), ft Example 12-8 illustrates use of the power equation. Example 12-8. Estimate the motor power required for the conveyor of Example 12-7, assuming speed is reduced in two steps, the material conveyed weights 45 lb/ft3, and the lift height is 50 ft. C= (3000 bu) (1.245 ft 3 ) = 3735 ft 3 /h h bu

12-27 (1.1) (3735) (45) (50) 3735 + = 6.17 hp (33 000) (60) 2490 6.17 = 7.13 hp (0.93) (0.93)

hp =

motor power =

Bucket conveyor applications Bucket conveyors are well suited for high-rate vertical conveyance applications which find heavy use. In this type of situation, there may be no realistic alternative method. If a vertical auger or pneumatic system is an alternative, the bucket conveyor is the best choice where heavy use causes its high ownership cost and low operating costs to add to the lowest total cost. For farms, well planned systems designed around legs are hard to match for convenience. The tall leg becomes a status symbol and landmark. However, its high investment cost is sometimes hard to justify. Because of its intermittent use pattern through the year, other more energy-intensive conveyors which cost less to buy are ultimately cheaper. The height of the leg necessitates wires for support. Wind and lightning can cause damage. Maintenance of the head section is difficult. SCREW CONVEYORS A screw conveyor consists of a helicoid or screw or auger which moves material as it rotates within a tube or trough. It is one of the oldest and, at first sight, simplest of the mechanical conveying devices. Archimedes is credited with using a screw conveyor to pump water from ships over 2200 years ago. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the Archimedean screw. It has been in continual use for countless conveying tasks since that time. Its simple appearance is deceiving. Its operating characteristics are far more complex and hard to predict than those of any of the other mechanical conveying devices. In some references, including those of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, a screw conveyor is called an auger. The terms will be used synonymously here. Screw conveyor terminology Screw conveyor terminology has been standardized by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Figure 1215 shows the hand of the helicoid flighting (called "helicoid" from now on). The hand convention corresponds to that of a screw fastener.


Figure 12-15. Hand of screw conveyor helicoid (ASAE, 1983a). Figure 12-16 shows the dimensional specifications of a screw conveyor. The illustration shows a portable or transport type screw conveyor. The terminology also applies to a fixed machine or a portable unit without a wheeled chassis.


3.1 Auger length: The length of the tube assembly including any intake but not including any intake hopper or head drive components (dimension A). 3.2 Intake length: The length of the visible flighting with the control gate (if unit is so equipped) in the full open position (dimension B). 3.3 Transport angle: The angle included between the auger tube and the ground when the unit is in the lowest recommended transport position and with hitch on ground (dimension C). 3.4 Maximum operating angle: The angle included between the auger tube and the ground when the unit is in the highest recommended operating position, and with the hitch on the ground (dimension D). 3.5 Auger Size: The outside diameter of the auger Tub (dimension E). 3.6 Reach at maximum height: The horizontal distance from the foremost part of the under carriage to the center of the discharge end when the unit is at the maximum recommended operating angle with hitch on ground (dimension F). 3.7 Maximum lift height: The vertical distance form the ground to the lowest point of the discharge (excluding down spout attachments) when the unit is raised to the maximum recommended operating angle and with the hitch on the ground (dimension G). 3.8 Transport height: The vertical distance from the ground to the uppermost portion with the unit in the lowest transport position and with the hitch on the ground (dimension H). 3.9 Eave clearance: The vertical distance from the ground to the foremost component of the undercarriage when the unit is at the maximum raised height (dimension J) 3.10 Discharge length: The total length of conveying from the outer end of the exposed flighting assembly at the intake to the centerline of the discharge (dimension K).


Figure 12-16 Screw conveyor dimensional specifications (ASAE, 1983b). Pitch and flighting terminology for some of the more common helicoid configurations are shown in Figure 12-17. The single flight, standard pitch is the most common configuration and is also the one we will be discussing at greatest length.


Figure 12-17. Pitch and flighting terminology (Thomas Conveyor Company, 1980).

12-31 Typical specifications Typical specifications needed for power and capacity computations are listed in Table 12-9 for typical farm-type conveyors. Note that the nominal conveyor size is the outer tube diameter. For industrial horizontal conveyors (Section 12.4.5), it is usually the helicoid diameter. Industrial conveyors usually have larger shaft sizes and much lower maximum speeds. Table 12-9. Typical farm type screw conveyor specifications Nominal Conveyor diameter, in 4 6 8 10 12 General features Screw conveyors are simple, compact machines. They are usable at any angle of inclination and for many bulk materials. Besides conveying, they can be used (sometimes simultaneously) for metering or feeding, heating, cooling, mixing, and even digging applications. Chapter 13 describes auger feeders for pneumatic conveyors. Chapter 6 describes application of acid preservative during conveyance in a screw conveyor. They are inherently enclosed and can be made dust tight with suitable modifications to the feed and discharge sections. There is no idle conveyor return. Power requirements are relatively high because material is moved by sliding and is continually mixed. Grain damage can be a problem because of pinch points created between the auger tube and flighting. Pinch points (and other features) can be dangerous to operators. This is discussed later in this chapter. Some screw conveyors are noisy. Life (in actual use time) is relatively short because of abrasion of helicoid and tube surfaces by the conveyed material. On farms, screw conveyors used occasionally will last many years. Purchase cost is relatively low because of the machine's compact and simple design. Operating cost is relatively high because of the high power requirement. Design for portability is easy because the tube can serve as a structural member. Principle of operation The operating principle of a horizontal screw conveyor is obvious. Material resting on the bottom of the tube is pushed along in somewhat the way a snow plow pushes snow off a road. In this case, the plow is continuous and the road slopes toward the center. Material plowed far enough to the side rolls back to the center, only to again contact the plow (helicoid) which keeps coming. The effect is conveyance along the helicoid center line and also mixing. The operation takes place regardless of the helicoid rotational speed, although as speed is increased, dynamic effects will come into play. The material will be thrown rather than pushed. In a vertical screw conveyor, material will not move up the conveyor unless a certain critical rotational speed is exceeded. This critical speed is the speed at which material travels neither up nor down. If the helicoid is turning above critical speed, material in the conveyor is accelerated in a circular motion. Centrifugal force moves it out against the tube wall, or against other material to slide up the inclined helicoid surface as the helicoid rotates. Material slides on both the helicoid and tube wall and moves in a spiral motion up until its discharge from the conveyor. At angles intermediate between 0 and 90 degrees, there is a transition from the horizontal mode to the vertical mode of operation. Critical speed Tube inside diameter, in 3.90 5.88 7.85 9.80 11.80 Helicoid diameter, in 3.37 5.13 7.25 9.00 11.00 Shaft diameter, in 0.84 1.40 1.50 2.38 2.88 Max speed, rev/min 875 650 500 350 350


The critical speed of a screw conveyor is defined as the speed at which a single particle in the conveyor will travel in a circular motion with no vertical movement up or down. The critical speed is dependent on conveyor and material parameters. We can derive an expression for the critical speed by summing the forces on a single particle. Figure 12-18 is a view looking down on a particle within a vertical screw conveyor. The helicoid is turning at rad/s.

= helicoid speed, rad/s

ro = radius of particle path c = centrifical force m = particle mass Figure 12-18. A particle within a vertical screw conveyor. The particle, at radius ro, is rotating at helicoid speed and is thus subjected to centrifugal force, C. Figure 12-19 is view AA of Figure 12-18, with the helicoid unwound to form an upward sloping surface.


= angle of helicoid in g = acceleration of gravity Ft = kinetic friction coefficient between particle and tube K = helicoid force on particle = angle between helicoid force and normal line to helicoid surface Figure 12-19. Horizontal view of particle on helicoid surface. The force C, acting normal to the tube wall, produces the friction force CFt against the tube wall. Seed weight, mg, acts down. Helicoid force K can be resolved into normal component K(cos), a normal force, and K(cos )Fh, the friction force. Note then that: tan = Fh where Fh = static friction coefficient between particle and helicoid. At speeds above or below critical speed, Fh drops to the lower kinetic value since motion between the helicoid and particles established. (12-21)


Figure 12-20. Polygon of forces at critical speed. Figure 12-20 shows the polygon of forces on the particle. The polygon is closed at critical speed. At this condition: tan (90 ) = mg C Ft (12-22)

Wc =

g tan ( + ) ro Ft


where Wc = critical speed, rad/s. Nc = 30 g tan ( + ) ro Ft (12-24)

where Nc = critical speed, rev/min The equation indicates that critical speed will be lowered by increasing Ft and/or decreasing Fh. Vierling and Sinha, 1960, state that with force feeding (by, for example, a horizontal feeding screw), a vertical screw can convey material when operating at critical speed. It is also important to note that this analysis assumes no interactions with other particles. Such interaction would mean different friction factors and possibly different helicoid slopes since slope increases toward the center of the helicoid. Theoretical capacity The theoretical capacity of a screw conveyor is the product of the free cross sectional area and the speed of advance along the conveyor. The greatest possible distance of advance is one pitch length per revoltuion. Theoretical capacity is, thus: Ct =

(Dh 2 Ds 2 ) in 2 (Pin) (N rev) ft 3 4 rev min 1728 in 3

(Dh 2 Ds 2 ) PN 2200


Ct = where Ct Dh Ds P

= theoretical capacity, ft3/min. = diameter of helicoid, in. = diameter of shaft, in. = pitch length, in.

12-35 N = rotational speed, rev/min. The equation neglects helicoid thickness and assumes no leakage of material around the edges of the helicoid. Note that helicoid diameter rather than tube inside diameter is used. The ratio of actual capacity of a screw conveyor to theoretical capacity is the volumetric efficiency. It is commonly expressed as a percent. This variable will be discussed more later. Important operating parameters Many grain and conveyor parameters have important influences on the operation of screw conveyors. We will list all that are usually considered important, and then define some of the most important relationships. Parameters having important influences on screw conveyor power and capacity include (not in order of importance): material particle size material bulk density material flowability material-to-tube friction material-to-helicoid friction conveyor intake length and geometry conveyor length conveyor speed of rotation conveyor diameter tube-to-helicoid clearance helicoid pitch length number of helicoids on shaft conveyor outlet geometry conveyor angle of inclination

The other mechanical conveyors studied do not have nearly so many parameters having large effects on power and capacity. Many of these parameters have interacting effects. In other words, the effect on power or capacity of changing parameter A may be different for different levels of another parameter, B. In the following discussions, parameters not mentioned are assumed to be held constant. Intake length The intake length is the length which the helicoid protrudes from the tube if the conveyor is loaded from a hopper or a mass of grain. It is often specified in helicoid diameters. The general effect on capacity of increasing the intake length can be predicted from intuition. Capacity must be zero with zero intake length. Capacity increases at a decreasing rate as intake length is increased. This is illustrated in Figure 12.21.


Figure 12-21. Effects of intake length on screw conveyor capacity (Rehkugler, 1967). The expected effect is shown most clearly for 10 degrees, 300 rev/min. In this instance, there is an interaction of exposed screw speed, and inclination in their effects on capacity. Increasing the speed enhances the effect of increasing exposure length; increasing the inclination makes capacity less sensitive to intake length. Any feature which changes the flow pattern or grain pressure in the conveyor intake region will change conveyor capacity. Hopper geometry and fill level are important. Placement of intake guards can also have large effects. An intake guard meeting ASAE Tentative Standard ASAE S361.1T (ASAE, 1983c) reduces capacity about 17%, compared to the unguarded condition (Sevart et al., 1984). Vertical conveyor capacity can be increased by force feeding of grain to the intake through a horizontal screw conveyor. Vertical screw conveyors for unloading ships have helicoid flighting welded to the outside of the tube above the intake region. This tube is rotated in a direction which causes the flighting to force grain down to the intake and thereby increase capacity. White et al., 1962 compared six different conveyor inlet configurations (Figure 12-22).


Figure 12-22.

Performance of 6-in. screw conveyor under different inlet conditions (White et al., 1962).

Most modifications resulted in lower capacity than the usual 2-diameter exposure of standard-pitch helicoid. The only arrangement to give a higher capacity was a 2-diameter exposure of double helicoid auger. Power requirement per unit length of conveyor increases with increasing exposure length. The rate of increase is very rapid at first since more helix is being turned and more grain is being moved. Beyond two diameters, the power increase is less and is due mainly to powering the helicoid against the friction of the grain mass. Many screw conveyors are designed with a 2-diameter exposure length. Slope and rotational speed Figures 12-23 and 12-24 show the effects of slope and speed on capacity and power. At any speed, capacity goes down almost linearly with slope and, in a vertical position, is usually 30 to 40% of the horizontal value. Power goes up with rotational speed at any slope. Power is at a maximum at slopes in the 40- to 60-degree range. It is lower at greater and lesser slopes. Several effects cause this relationship. Capacity is changing with slope, as is the vertical distance of conveyance. Capacity increases with rotational speed up to a point where centrifugal force on the grain in the intake region apparently prevents further increases and may cause a decrease in capacity.

Figure 12-23.

Capacity, slope, speed relationships for a 4-in. screw conveyor carrying 56.5 lb/bu wheat (Millier, 1958).


Figure 12-24.

Power, slope, speed relationships for a 4-in. screw conveyor carrying 55.5 lb/bu wheat (Millier, 1958). Conveyor power per unit length and conveyor capacity are not influenced by conveyor length. Figure 12-25 shows the effect of incline and rotational speed on volumetric efficiency. The volumetric efficiency is the fraction of theoretical capacity carried by the conveyor. The figure shows experimental results for a 1.5-in. standard pitch conveyor with an intake length of 2 diameters. The conveyor carried dry millet.

Figure 12-25. Volumetric efficiency versus speed for various angles of inclination (Roberts and Willis, 1962) Moisture content


Unlike the previous three conveyor types, screw conveyor power and capacity are significantly influenced by product moisture content. Other things equal, power goes up and capacity goes down as moisture is increased. Most tables and equations assume dry grain, meaning not over 15% moisture. An extension engineer's rule-ofthumb says conveyor capacity will be halved and power doubled when grain is wet (over 20% moisture). Table 12-10 shows capacity and power for a 6-in. screw conveyor carrying wet (25% and dry (14%) corn. Speed and slope are seen to interact with moisture content in their effects on power and capacity. Discharge Discharge geometry can have large effects on power and capacity. Axial discharge out the conveyor end seldom presents any problems. Radial discharge through an opening and chute can result in compaction of material and reduction of capacity if the opening is too small or configured incorrectly. Precise requirements for discharge dimensions were not found in the literature. Table 12-10. Effect of corn moisture on conveyor performance (White et al., 1962). Comparison of performance data for a 6-inch screw conveyor handling 14 and 25 percent moisture shelled corn (wet basis); 12 inches exposed helix at the screw inlet.
Auger Corn speed moisture rev/min percent 200 14 25 400 600 800

0 bu/min 9.9 6.2 18.1 11.6 25.2 15.8 29.4 18.3 hp/10a .28 1.37 .56 1.84 .84 2.32 1.07 2.80

Angle of elevation of screw conveyor 22.5 45 67.5 bu/min hp/10a bu/min hp/10a bu/min hp/10a 9.2 .41 8.3 .44 6.7 .44 5.3 1.40 4.7 1.31 3.4 .97 16.8 10.3 23.4 13.7 27.6 15.8 .82 1.89 1.22 2.34 1.54 2.85 14.2 8.5 19.4 11.3 22.8 12.9 .88 1.78 1.28 2.27 1.62 2.75 11.5 6.7 15.1 8.6 18.0 9.7 .83 1.45 1.16 1.92 1.46 2.44

90 bu/min hp/10a 4.6 .32 2.6 .32 8.6 5.0 12.4 6.8 14.8 7.9 .70 .70 1.05 1.09 1.32 1.55

14 25 14 25 14 25

Horsepower is that required at auger drive shaft. Horsepower loss in drive train must be added to determine the total horsepower requirement of the conveyor. Design of industrial horizontal screw conveyors Horizontal screw conveyors in sizes from 6 to 24 in. diameter are used in applications similar to those for belt conveyors and en masse conveyors. Capacities attainable are not as high as for these other conveyors. A 24-in horizontal screw conveyor turning at its maximum speed of 100 rev/min can move grain at a rate of about 13 000 bu/h when loaded to 45% of theoretical capacity. Procedures for sizing conveyors and for estimating power requirements are presented here for standard flighting conveyors carrying grain. Sizing horizontal screw conveyors In the design procedure presented in CEMA, 1980, horizontal screw conveyor maximum speed and degree of loading are governed by material characteristics. This is illustrated in Table 12-11. An example will illustrate the procedure.

12-40 Example 12-9. Specify the size and speed of a horizontal screw conveyor to move corn at a rate of 500 000 lb/h. From Table A-2 the material code for shelled corn is 45C25. The conveyor, then, must move: 500 000 ft 3 = 11111 45 h

12-41 Table 12-11. Horizontal screw conveytor capacity (CEMA,1980).

12-42 From Table 12-11, a material class of C-25 allows a 45% fill (first group). The percent of fill must be governed by the auger loading procedure. It is not self regulating by the auger. The capacity will require use of a 24-in. screw conveyor. The required speed is computed as follows: 11111 ft 3 h 1 rev rev = 67.75 3 min h (164 ft ) min The 24-in screw conveyor turning at 67.75 rev/min will move 500 000 lb of corn per hour. Power requirement of horizontal screw conveyors To estimate total power requirement, the power to overcome conveyor friction is added to the power to transport material (CEMA, 1980): hpf = LN Fd 500000 CL (BD) (Fm) 1 000 000 (12-26)

hpm =

(12-27) (12-28)

hp = (hpf + hpm) Fo where: hpf L N Fd hpm C BD Fm hp Fo = power to overcome conveyor friction, hp = conveyor total length, ft. = conveyor rotational speed, rev/min. = empirical diameter factor (Table 12-12) = power to transport material, hp = capacity, ft3/h = bulk density of material as conveyed, lb/ft3 = empirical material factor (Table A-2) = power required at conveyor shaft, hp = empirical small motor overload factor (Figure 12-26)

Total length L is limited by the torque which can be transmitted through shafts and couplings. Computation procedures for this are not presented here. Factor Fd, Fm, and Fo are all empirically derived. Fd (Table 12-12) is proportional to the conveyor weight per foot. Fm has been formulated from experience and has no measurable relation to any material physical property. Fo causes larger motors to be applied to small (under 5.2 hp) installations. The increased motor size here has proven effective in avoiding stalling due to minor overloads or choke conditions. Table 12-12. Conveyor diameter factor, Fd (CEMA, 1980) Screw Diamter Factor, Fd Screw Diameter inches 4 6 9 10 12 Screw Diameter inches 14 16 18 20 24

Fd 12.0 18.0 31.0 37.0 55.0

Fd 78.0 106.0 135.0 165.0 235.0


Figure 12-26.

Small-motor overload factor (CEMA< 1980)

An example will illustrate use of the equation Example 12-10. The conveyor of Example 12-9 is 50 ft long. What is its power requirement? Substituting into equations 12-26, -27, -28: hpf = (50) (67.75) (235.0) = 1.59 hp 500 000 (11111) (50) (45) (0.4) = 10.0 hp 1 000 000

hpm =

From Figure 12-26, Fo = 1 since hp is greater than 5.

12-44 hp = 1.59 + 10.0 = 11.59 hp Assuming a double reduction, motor power required is: motor power = 11.59 = 13.40 hp (0.93) (0.93)

Among the three conveyor types used for mechanical conveying (belt, flight, screw), the screw conveyor is often chosen for relatively short runs (less than 50 ft) and/or where processing is done during conveyance (heat transfer or mixing, for example). Its initial costs would probably be lowest and its operating cost would probably be highest. The design procedure shown here tends to be quite conservative and most applicable to grain elevator and industrial processing applications. An indication of this can be seen in the recommended maximum speed for the 6-in. conveyor. Table 12-11 lists it at 60 to 165 rev/min, depending on the material class code. Farm augers of this size run at speeds form 263 to 625 rev/min. Power and capacity of screw conveyors Because of the number of important variables affecting power and capacity of inclined screw conveyors, no system of easy-to-use prediction equations is available. Reliance on tables of empirical information is a common design procedure. Performance tables Table 12-13 lists capacities and speeds for a line of screw conveyors. Table values assume horizontal operation with dry corn at 90% of theoretical capacity.

12-45 Table 12-13. Approximate screw conveyor capacities in bu/h for horizontal operation with dry grain (Hutchinson, 1983). PULLEY diameters, in 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3 3 3 3.5 3.5 5 PTO -5 - 8 - 10 - 12 - 7 - 8 - 12 - 12 - 15 - 12* rev/min 875 547 437 365 750 656 438 510 429 263 625 438 397 263 540 350 263 320 350 263 320 CAPACITY PER 100 rev/min AT 90% LOAD 60 60 60 60 90 90 240 240 240 240 240 480 480 480 480 1200 1200 1200 2000 2000 2000 NET CAPACITY bu/n 525 328 262 219 675 590 1051 1224 1029 631 1500 2102 1905 1262 2592 4200 3156 3840 7000 5260 6400

AUGER diameter, in 4

5 6

3 - 12 3.4 - 15 5 - 12* PTO 3 - 15 5 - 12* PTO 3 - 15 5 - 12* PTO



*Reducer Drive Capacity decrease for angle of operation: 20% at 45 (unless pressure fed) 50% at 90 (unless pressure fed) Capacity decrease for 25% moisture grain: 40% Tables 12-14, 12-15, 12-16, and 12-17 are the results of the classic experimients of White et al., 1962. They show the effect of angle of elevation, speed, diameter, exposure length, and grain type on capacity and power requirement. These are the most often quoted tables for screw conveyor characteristics.

12-46 Table 12-14. Performance data for a 4-inch nominal diameter screw conveyor handling shelled corn (bushel weight: 56 pounds); moisture content 13.2 to 14.2 percent wet basis (White et al., 1962). Length of exposed helix at intake inches 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 Angle of elevation 45 bu/hr hp/10 fta 110 .13 120 .15 120 .17 120 .18 180 220 240 240 280 350 380 380 320 460 530 560 .25 .29 .32 .36 .40 .52 .64 .76 .61 .81 1.01 1.21

Auger speed rev/min 200

bu/hr 140 150 150 150 270 290 290 300 410 470 480 480 490 650 740 770

0 hp/10 fta .11 .12 .13 .14 .23 .29 .33 .38 .33 .43 .51 .60 .41 .63 .85 1.08

90 bu/hr 40 60 70 80 90 130 150 160 160 220 250 270 200 310 360 380 hp/10 fta .10 .11 .12 .13 .19 .24 .26 .27 .29 .41 .47 .49 .46 .67 .79 .88




Horsepower is that required at auger drive shaft. Power loss in drive train must be added to determine the total power required for the conveyor.

12-47 Table 12-15. Performance data for a 4-inch nominal diameter screw conveyor handling soybeans (bushel weight - 54.5 to 56.0 pounds); moisture content 11.0 to 11.2 percent wet basis (White et al., 1962).
Angle of elevation of screw Auger speed rev/min 300 Intake exposure inches 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 0 hp/10 fta .15 .16 .21 .21 .23 .27 .35 .38 .28 .37 .49 .53 .33 .47 .62 .69 .38 .55 .77 .84 22.5 bu/hr hp/10 fta 180 .21 190 .22 190 .25 190 .26 280 300 310 310 360 400 410 435 400 470 520 550 420 530 610 650 .31 .39 .45 .48 .41 .54 .63 .66 .49 .67 .81 .87 .56 .78 1.00 1.06 45 hp/10 fta .22 .24 .26 .27 .34 .43 .47 .49 .45 .60 .66 .71 .55 .74 .85 .93 .64 .86 1.03 1.14 67.5 bu/hr hp/10 fta 100 .17 140 .23 150 .25 150 .26 170 200 230 250 210 270 290 330 240 310 350 400 265 320 390 450 .32 .40 .43 .46 .41 .57 .60 .65 .51 .71 .77 .84 .60 .82 .92 1.01 90 hp/10 fta .17 .19 .21 .24 .27 .33 .35 .41 .37 .47 .49 .58 .45 .60 .63 .73 .55 .71 .81 .92

bu/hr 210 215 220 220 330 340 350 360 420 450 470 500 465 520 570 640 490 600 690 780

bu/hr 150 160 160 170 230 260 270 280 290 350 380 380 330 410 460 470 340 460 530 540

bu/hr 80 110 120 130 130 160 180 220 170 210 240 290 200 250 300 350 220 280 340 400





Horsepower is that required at auger drive shaft. Horesepower loss in drive train must be added to determine the total horsepower requirement of the conveyor.

Table 12-16.

Performance data for a 6-inch nominal diameter screw conveyor handling shelled corn (bushel weight -54 to 56 pounds); moisture content 14.5 percent wet basis (White et al., 1962).


Angle of elevation of screw Auger speed RPM Intake exposure inches 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 0 hp/10ft

bu/hr 590 590 620 630 970 1090 1170 1190 1210 1510 1650 1700 1320 1760 1990 2140

22.5 bu/hr hp/10ft


bu/hr 370 500 510 550 650 850 940 1010 820 1160 1270 1440 890 1370 1510 1740

45 hp/10fta .33 .44 .47 .55 .60 .88 1.02 1.18 .82 1.28 1.52 1.80 .95 1.62 2.08 2.39

67.5 bu/hr hp/10ft


bu/hr 220 280 310 350 380 520 560 660 490 740 800 920 540 890 1000 1100

90 hp/10ft


.20 .28 .32 .44 .35 .56 .74 .97 .49 .84 1.17 1.47 .58 1.07 1.57 1.95

520 550 570 590 850 1010 1070 1110 1050 1400 1500 1570 1100 1660 1790 1910

.30 .41 .43 .50 .52 .82 .92 1.13 .72 1.22 1.42 1.74 .86 1.54 1.96 2.32

280 400 430 470 480 690 720 830 590 910 1010 1140 640 1080 1220 1360

.31 .44 .45 .54 .57 .83 .92 1.07 .77 1.16 1.42 1.60 .92 1.46 1.94 2.12

.25 .32 .36 .40 .46 .70 .80 .92 .64 1.05 1.23 1.40 .77 1.32 1.64 1.89




Horsepower is that required at auger drive shaft. Horsepower loss in drive train must be added to determine the total horsepower requirement of the conveyor.

12-49 Table 12-17. Performance data for a 6-inch nominal diameter screw conveyer handling soybeans (bushel weight - 54 to 56 pounds); moisture content 11 to 12 percent wet basis (White et al., 1962).
Angle of elevation of screw Auger speed rev/min 200 Intake exposure inches 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 6 12 18 24 0 bu/hr hp/10 fta 490 .30 500 .40 520 .50 540 .60 880 990 1110 1180 1080 1350 1620 1690 1180 1610 1980 2020 .52 .84 .98 1.36 .68 1.20 1.45 2.13 .78 1.51 1.93 2.93 22.5 bu/hr hp/10 fta 410 .41 430 .53 500 .60 520 .67 710 830 1030 1040 890 1130 1510 1520 960 1310 1840 1850 .71 1.14 1.18 1.62 .96 1.61 1.74 2.52 1.12 1.98 2.29 3.43 45 hp/10 fta .41 .57 .66 .68 .77 1.20 1.29 1.63 1.07 1.71 1.94 2.51 1.28 2.10 2.54 3.48 67.5 bu/hr hp/10 fta 240 .38 290 .50 360 .60 390 .64 400 540 740 800 510 710 1050 1100 550 820 1230 1320 .70 1.04 1.23 1.54 1.00 1.48 1.88 2.32 1.22 1.84 2.44 3.24 90 hp/10 fta .34 .40 .45 .52 .60 .79 .95 1.14 .87 1.10 1.47 1.76 1.10 1.50 1.98 2.56

bu/hr 320 360 440 470 570 690 880 900 700 930 1280 1320 740 1080 1530 1640

bu/hr 180 220 240 290 310 390 460 560 390 500 660 790 420 640 810 1000




Hosepower is that required at auger drive shaft. Horsepower loss in drive train must be added to determine the total horsepower requirement of the conveyor. Estimating capacity and power of inclined screw conveyors Most inclined screw conveyor designs are based on tests of power and capacity since these parameters are very difficult to estimate. A rational computational procedure will be presented here. This procedure can be used for initial estimation of power and capacity. Because of the complexity of the problem, it is much less reliable than procedures for any of the other conveyor types. Assumptions The procedure assumes a steel standard-pitch single helicoid conveyor loaded from a hopper or grain mass by two diameters of exposed helicoid. Procedure 1. Compute conveyor size and speed using specifications from Table 12-9, along with Equation 12-25. Estimate volumetric efficiency using Figure 12-25. This will require a trial and error procedure. If grain moisture is over 17%, use half of the volumeteic efficiency predicted from Figure 12-25. Compute hpf and hpm using Equations 12-26 and 12-27. If grain moisture is over 17%, double Fm. Compute the lifting power, hpl, using Equation 12-29:

2. 3.

12-50 C (BD) (h) (Fl) (33 000) (60)

hpl = where hpl C BD h Fl 4.


= power to lift material, hp = capacity, ft3/h = bulk density as conveyed, lb/ft3 = lift height = L sin ft , = approximate lift factor = 4 for moisture < or = 17%, or = 8 for moisture > 17%

Add power components: hp = hpf + hpm + hpl (12-30)

and apply drive efficiency factor. Example 12-11. Specify nominal size, speed, and power for a 30-ft-long screw conveyor to move 25% moisture corn at a 45-degree incline at a rate of 500 bu/h. 1. Try a 6-in conveyor. Substituting into Equation 12-25: Ct = ((5.13) 2 (1.4) 2 ) (5.13)N = 0.0568N 2200

(500 bu) (1.245 ft 3 ) h ft 3 = 10.373 h bu (60 min) min Assume volumetric efficiency at 0.5(0.62) = 0.31 10.375 = 0.0568N 0.31 N = 589.2 rev/min. This is below the 650 rev/min maximum speed, so it is acceptable. 2. hpf = (30) (589.2) (18) = 0.636 hp (500 000) (500) (1.245) (30) (45) (0.8) = 0.672 hp (1 000 000)

hpm =

3. 4.

hpl =

(500) (1.245) (45) (30) (sin 45) (8) = 2.40 hp (33 000)

hp = (0.636 + 0.672) 1.85 + 2.40 = 5.54 hp

A 6-in. conveyor turning at 589 rev/min and a power input of 5.54 hp is required. Table 12-10 estimates a 6-8in conveyor turning at 389 rev/min and requiring 5.26 hp is required. SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS


As was noted in Section 12.1.1, safety is an important consideration in grain conveyor designs. Since there is some overlapping among conveyor types, they will be discussed in a separate section. On-farm conveyors Table 12-18 shows some statistics for farm machinery accidents. The statistics show that elevators are the most dangerous machines on the farm, in terms of accidents per million hours of exposure. Also, not-fatal elevator accidents are more severe than accidents with other farm machines, in terms of days lost per accident. The statistics do not differentiate among types of conveyors, so screw conveyors, flight conveyors, and possibly bucket conveyors are included. In the period from 1978 through 1982 farm screw conveyors outsold farm flight conveyors by over 8 to 1 (Implement and Tractor, 1983). It can then be assumed that most elevators are screw conveyors. There are a number of ways to be injured by a portable screw conveyor on wheels (a transport auger): 1. The intake region presents a pinch point between the tube and the turning helicoid and a rotating shaft for possible entanglement. 2. The auger tube can fall upon failure of the hydraulic or cable-actuated lift mechanism. 3. The entire machine can tip sideways. 4. The tube assembly can contact overhead electrical lines during transport. 5. Many screw conveyors are power take off (PTO) driven. Entanglement in the PTO shaft is, thus, possible. Table 12-18 Farm machinery accident statistics. Accident frequency per million man hours use Michigan Ohio 8.4 7.4 48.6 62.3 71.9 51.0 106.4 ---112.0 90.1 573.6 981.5 Average days lost per non-fatal accident 58 22 76 5 209 340

Tractor Corn picker Wagon Baler Combine Elevator

References: Doss and Pfister, 1972 and National Safety Council, 1974. The ASAE has established a tentative standard for auger conveying equipment. ASAE Tentative Standard ASAE S361.1T (Safety for agricultural auger conveying equipment) is Appendix B. The purpose of the Standard is to establish safety recommendations which will minimize the possibility of injury during normal operation of auger conveying equipment used to convey agricultural materials on farms. The standard specifies intake guard dimensions (hazard 1 above), winch and cable requirements (hazard 2), lateral stability requirements (hazard 3), and PTO guarding (hazard 5). Bucket conveyor safety considerations In grain elevators, bucket conveyors are the most common known location of primary explosions (see Figure 1217). Friction in bucket conveyors ranks next to "cutting and welding" and "unknown" as an ignition source of primary explosions in grain elevators (see Figure 12-28). Johnston, 1979 describes this likely scenario of the start of a fire or explosion: 1. Material stops leaving the conveyor and the belt and buckets plug and jam.

12-52 2. 3. 4. 5. The drive motor increases its torque output and belt slippage begins. At the slippage point, the belt rapidly heats up, begins to melt, and lubricates further slippage. The belt begins to burn and spreads burning embers within conveyor. Since grain elevator bucket conveyors routinely contain dust concentration exceeding the minimum explosive concentration, explosion and/or fire can result.

The scenario can be avoided by a control system which can detect blockage conditions and shut down feeding conveyors, and can detect belt slippage and shut down the conveyor when a certain level of slippage occurs.

Figure 12-27. Locations of primary explosions in grain elevators (Johnston, 1979).


Figure 12-28. Ignition sources of primary explosions in grain elevators (Johnston, 1979). GRAIN BREAKAGE IN CONVEYORS The general topic of grain breakage is discussed at greater length elsewhere. Breakage in specific mechanical conveyors will be discussed here. The importance of grain breakage during conveying differs with circumstances. Gentleness to grain is not a very valuable characteristic for a conveyor carrying grain to a grinder. The breakage of any grain destined for livestock feed (about 80% of Iowa corn) does not decrease its value directly. Lowered storability and handling the fines may be problems with livestock feed. Breakage of grain may result in lowered market value and lowered value as a feedstock for milling. Grain breakage in various handling operations Fiscus et al. 1971a and b carried out series of experiments with corn, soybeans, and wheat (all dry) to determine breakage resulting from various operations. Grain breakage in free-fall drop tests Gravity conveyance can damage grain because of impact at the end of a fall. Fiscus et al. 1971a measured grain velocities after discharge from 8- and 12-in. orifices (Figure 12-29). Velocities of dry corn, wheat, and soybeans differed little and all data was pooled to compute the regression lines shown on the graph. The free fall line is the velocity attained by a particle accelerated by gravity but not subject to air resistance. Since kernels within the stream do not react with the air like individual kernels, the stream attains velocities higher than the terminal velocity of individual kernels at about a 50-ft drop height. Kernel velocity exceeded zero at zero drop height due to motion within the grain bin.


Figure 12-29. Grain velocity versus drop height (Fiscus et al., 1971a). Breakage was measured after grain impacted upon grain in a bin. Breakage was the percent weight of particles passing through 0.159 x 0.159-in. screen openings (corn) and through 0.158 x 0.5-in. screen openings for soybeans. Wheat breakage was much lower and was not reported. The breakage relationships are shown in Figure 12-30. Breakage is seen to be an exponential function of velocity.


Figure 12-30. Grain breakage versus velocity (Fiscus et al. 1971a) Other tests showed that grain falling on grain is damaged less than grain falling on concrete. Note that breakage is much worse for corn than for soybeans, that breakage is higher for lower moisture, and for lower grain temperatures. Many different devices and methods have been tried in effects to avoid high velocity impact after gravity conveyance. Stephens and Foster, 1977 tried various flow retarders on a 50-m inclined grain spout carrying 11- to 19-% moisture corn at temperature of 4 to 11 C. Damage was the weight percent of fines passing through a 4.76mm (12/64-in) round hole screen. Table 12-19 shows results. The retro-air employed a 2.2-kW fan which forced air up the tube against grain flow.

12-56 Table 12-19. Corn breakage per handling (Stephens and Foster, 1977) Flow retarder Retro-air No retarder (control) Spout retarder Cushion box Spout retarder and cushion box Breakage increase per handling, % % of control 3.64 107 3.41 100 3.22 94 2.83 83 2.65 78

The spout retarder is a cone-shaped device installed near the end of the spout. Inside, a 5-L bucket fills with grain and then continually spills over as grain continues to impact on its opening. The cushion box employs the same principle, but grain makes a 45 degree direction change through the device. All devices except the retro air reduced corn breakage to some extent. Two other findings from this study are worth noting. Drying treatment had a greater effect on breakage than did flow retarder action. Breakage for all tests averaged 5.87% per handling for corn dried in a batch dryer with 90 to 100 C air, 2.66% per handling for corn dried in a bin with 50 to 60 C air, and 0.92% per handling for corn dried in the field. Also, breakage is approximately cumulative. About the same breakage will occur each time corn is dropped. Bucket conveyor breakage In another series of tests, Fiscus 1971b measured breakage in a bucket conveyor. Breakage for wheat was defined as the weight percent passing through 0.065 x 0.25-in screen openings. Corn and soybean breakage were measured as described earlier. Table 12-20 shows the results. Several points can be noted from the results: Corn had by far the highest breakage, followed by soybeans, and then wheat. Breakage went up with decreasing grain moisture. Breakage went up with decreasing grain temperature. There was no difference in breakage between the two bucket styles used. Half full buckets increased breakage 0.2 points for corn, compared to full buckets. There was no difference for other grains. Feeding corn on the up leg side increased breakage 0.3 points compared to feeding on the down leg side. There was no difference for other grains.

12-57 Table 12-20. Bucket elevator percent breakage (Fiscus et al. 1971b)
Grain Moist, % Temp, F Test wt, lb/bu TEST CONDITION Belt Boot Bucket speed, feeding loading fpm method 650 Front Full 650 Front Full 940 Front Full 940 Front Full 650 Back Full 650 Back Full 940 Back Full 940 Back Full 650 Front Full 650 Front Full 940 Front Full 940 Front Full 650 Back Full 650 Back Full 940 Back Full 940 Back Full Bucket style Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Nu-Hy Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Average 3.18 2.74 2.89 2.68 2.21 1.64 2.01 2.67 2.95 2.81 3.03 2.36 2.48 2.26 2.67 1.98 2.54 1.03 0.68 1.06 0.95 1.03 0.81 0.90 0.82 1.06 0.79 0.96 0.89 0.67 0.65 1.38 0.92 0.91 1.17 0.92 1.30 0.80 0.78 0.28 0.41 0.29 1.00 0.35 0.39 0.82 0.24 0.20 0.79 0.83 0.66 Corn 12.7 15.1 85 28 54.4 54.2 Soybeans 10.8 12.6 58 43 57.8 57.9 Spring wheat 10.9 12.9 28 36 61.1 61.1 Winter Wheat 11.5 48 63.5

13.3 43 54.3

14.8 84 53.6

Mean percent breakage 0.30 0.21 0.33 0.26 0.20 0.19 0.24 0.29 0.21 0.18 0.32 0.35 0.38 0.22 0.28 0.31 0.27 0.42 0.22 0.43 0.53 0.32 0.22 0.42 0.51 0.37 0.37 0.46 0.40 0.29 0.30 0.68 0.51 0.40 0.43 0.25 0.34 0.37 0.27 0.24 0.27 0.28 0.36 0.32 0.40 0.33 0.24 0.24 0.33 0.26 0.31 0.11 0.11 0.17 0.15 0.11 0.11 0.12 0.33 0.15 0.17 0.18 0.22 0.15 0.16 0.18 0.19 0.16 0.11 0.16 0.15 0.16 0.17 0.14 0.12 0.11 0.15 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.13 0.11 0.12 0.10 0.20 0.11 0.14 0.10 0.08 0.13 0.10 0.18 0.20 0.13

Grain breakage in screw conveyors The screw conveyor has long had a reputation of being a major cause of grain damage. Grain damage can occur by crushing between the helicoid and the tube wall, and by abrasion against the tube and helicoid surfaces. Hall and Sands, 1970, conducted tests using multiple passes through a 12-ft-long nominal 6-in screw conveyor. Inside tube diameter was 5.875 in. Helicoid diameter was 5 in. Corn was at 13% moisture. Fines were defined as material which would pass through a 16/64-in square hole. Figure 12-31 shows results. Fines production is much higher for partial auger loading and for higher drying temperatures, and is much greater at higher auger speeds.


Figure 12-31. Cumulative fines production in a screw conveyor (Hall and Sands, 1970).

12-59 PROBLEMS 12-1. #12.2. 12-3. 12-4. What percent increase in volume capacity could be expected if a 24-in., 225 ft/min. belt conveyor designed for hulled rice is fully loaded with flaxseed? Compute the load cross section of a 48-in., 20-degree troughed belt carrying a material with a surcharge angle of 17 degrees. Specify belt width and speed needed to carry dry navy beans at 10 000 lb/min. (Use the smallest belt possible). Design a 20-degree troughed belt conveyor to do the conveying job outlined in Example 12-1. Assume pulley centers must be 1 ft below the loading point and 1 ft above the discharge point. Thus the top pulley center is 39 ft above the bottom pulley center. Use the narrowest belt which will carry the volume. Drive is double reduction. Specify conveyor length, width, belt speed, hp, hp x h/ton and energy efficiency. A 48-in, 20-degree troughed belt conveyor is carrying corn down a 10-degree decline to a loading dock fully loaded and at maximum speed. At what conveyor length will the required motor output be theoretically zero? Assuming a motor efficiency of 75%, compute the power dissipated from the motor and from the drive in Example 12-3. Express in kW. Trajectories of material discharged from a belt conveyor must be known for proper design of discharge chutes. Write a computer program which will print coordinates of (or plot) the trajectory of top and bottom particles discharged from the end of a horizontal belt conveyor. Load thickness is 100 mm. Material leaves the belt at the initial point of tangency of the belt with the pulley (directly above pulley center). Assume this point to have coordinates (0.0). Belt speed is 3 m/s. Neglect air resistance. Follow the trajectory for 1 s in 0.2-s increments. A belt conveyor is to be designed for loading corn on ships. In the loading operation, any one of the 3 grains is to be conveyed at a rate not less than 3.5 x 106 lb/h up a slope. The belt should have the volume capacity to carry the lightest grain at the specified rate, and the power necessary to carry the heaviest grain at the belt's volume capacity. The loading point is 80 ft below the discharge point. Specify belt slope, width, speed, and power required at motor output shaft. When material having no velocity component in the direction of conveyance is loaded on a belt conveyor, power is required to accelerate the material up to belt speed. This power is not usually recovered. Compute the power necessary to accelerate the load in problem 12-3. Shelled corn is to be conveyed 1000 ft horizontally at a rate of 10,000 bu/h, by a 20-degree troughed belt conveyor. (Assume the corn weighs 45 lb/ft3). (a) (b) (c) 12-11. Compute minimum belt size and speed necessary. Compute power required by conveyor. What power is required from the drive motor, assuming two speed reductions?


12.6. #12-7




A double chain all steel flight conveyor is needed to carry dry barley (45 lb/ft3) at a rate of 300 000 lbs per hour up along a 30-degree slope for a distance of 82 ft. The conveyor is to operate at maximum allowable speed. Flight dimensions follow normal proportions. Assume chain and flights weight 10 lb/ft and the drive reduces power in two steps. Compute flight dimensions and power requirement A standard dimension (w = s, h = 0.4w) all steel flight conveyor carries a grain having a zero angle of repose and a bulk density of 720 kg/m3. Drive line speed is 60 m/min. Friction coefficient for grain on


12-60 metal is 0.3. Drive efficiency is 90%. Write a computer program which will print specific conveyor energy per unit mass of grain per unit lift height (kJ/(kg x m)). What angle should the conveyor be operated at for minimum specific conveyor energy? 12-13. Design a conventional flight conveyor to do the conveying job outlined in Example 12-1. Assume sprocket centers must be 1 ft below the loading point and 1 ft above the discharge point. Assume conveyor is standard design, all steel, and operates at 200 ft/min. and 40 degree slope. Specify conveyor width, flight height, hp, hp x h/ton, and energy efficiency. An en-masse conveyor is needed to convey soybeans at a rate of 800,000 pounds/hour 100 ft horizontally. The conveyor is to be steel with UHMWP flights and chain wear plates. Select the smallest conveyor size which will do the job. The conveyor is to be powered by an electric motor through a double speed reduction. Specify conveyor size, conveyor speed, and motor hp required. A bucket conveyor having a 0.5-in-thick belt and a 5-in bucket projection is to run at critical speed with a head pulley speed of 45 rev/min. Compute head pulley diameter and belt speed.



#12-16. A bucket conveyor is to operate at critical speed with a belt speed of 500 ft/min. Bucket projection is 6 in and belt thickness is 0.5 in. Compute head pulley diameter and speed. #12-17. Compute centrifugal force, as a percent of kernel weight, for kernels at the inner wall, center, and outer wall of the bucket of problem 12-15. 12-18. A bucket conveyor is equipped with 10 x 5 buckets at a spacing of 10 in, and is lifting corn (45 lb/ft 3) to a height of 60 ft. (a) What should be the belt speed for a capacity of 2500 bu/h? 1. Answer using Figure 12-14. 2. Calculate answer. (b) 12-19. Calculate motor power required, assuming two speed reductions. Use calculated speed.

Design a bucket conveyor to do the job outlined in Example 12-1. Specify bucket size, belt speed, bucket spacing, head pulley diameter, motor HP.

#12-20. Compute the tangent of the slope angle and length in units of diameters per revolution for the outer edge of a standard-pitch helicoid when its axis is vertical. 12-21 Design a bucket conveyor to move dry corn a height of 40 feet at a rate of 1500 bushels/hour. Specify bucket size, belt speed and bucket spacing. Compute motor hp requirement, assuming two speed reducers. Compute energy per unit grain mass (hphour/ton), and energy efficiency (%). Dry soybeans are being conveyed in a 6-in, 60-ft-long, standard-pitch farm-type screw conveyor operating at 650 r/min and set at a 45-degree angle. Intake exposure is 18 in. (Use tables 12-9 and 1217.) Compute: (a) Power required. (b) Capacity, bu/h. (c) Percent of theoretical capacity. 12-23. Using Figures 12-23 and 12-24, define a relationship between energy per unit mass per unit vertical distance versus slope for 500 rev/min operation. Use W x h/kg x m as the energy unit. At what slope is the conveyor most efficient?



12-24. 12.25. 12-26.

A horizontal (industrial) screw conveyor is needed to carry cottonseed flakes a distance of 22 ft at a rate of 85,000 lb/h. Specify conveyor diameter, speed, and power required at conveyor input shaft. Estimate maximum possible capacity (bu/h) and power required for a 20-ft, 12-in standard-pitch vertical farm-type screw conveyor handling dry corn. Design a screw conveyor to do the conveying job outlined in Example 12-1. Assume the conveyor extends from 1 ft below the loading point to 1 ft above the discharge point at an angle of 45 degrees. The drive is double reduction. Specify conveyor length, diameter, speed, power required, hp x h/ton, and energy efficiency. Locate a portable farm screw conveyor (on wheels) on a farm or dealer's lot. Assume that you have been asked, as part of a product liability case, to ascertain if this auger is in compliance with Sections 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 5.1, 5.3 of ASAE S361.2 (Safety for Agricultural Auger Conveying Equipment). See Appendix B. Identify auger completely (brand, size, model, serial number, age, location, etc.) State date of examination. Explain your procedure for determining compliance for each Section State clearly your conclusions. For lateral stability, do a static analysis assuming the auger is in transport position and is horizontal. For the crank force test, stand on a bathroom scale while cranking and record force changes as you crank slowly. Write an equation for corn breakage as a function of drop height for 13% moisture corn at 40 F falling from an 8-in. orifice. Compute the expected breakage for 60 ft drop. The grain ladder concept has been proposed as a means of reducing corn breakage. With the grain ladder, grain drops in 23-ft steps rather than dropping the total bin depth. Compare damage due to one 92-ft drop to damage in 4 23-ft drops. One million bushels per year of corn at 13% moisture is to be dropped 100 ft from an 8-inch orifice onto pile (drop height stays constant). A grain ladder is to be built to allow corn to make multiple short drops instead of one big drop. Each "rung" of the ladder has an annual ownership cost of $500. Each point of breakage decreases corn value by 0.2c/bu. How many rungs should the ladder have to minimize total cost? (0 rungs = 1 drop, 1 rung = 2 drops, etc) Design a screw conveyor to move dry corn a height of 40 ft at a rate of 1500 bushels/hour. Use Table 1216. Assume an intake exposure of 18 inches. Specify angle of elevation and rotational speed. Compute motor hp requirement, assuming one speed reducer. Compute energy per unit grain mass (hphour/ton) and energy efficiency (%). An 8-inch auger is set up to convey corn at a 45 angle of elevation at 600 rev. per minute. Compute its % of theoretical capacity with corn at 14% moisture and with corn at 25% moisture. Assume a 1.5-inch diameter shaft size. What standard electric motor horsepower size is needed to power a 6-in auger 25 feet long, handling dry corn at a 45 degree angle of elevation? Repeat for wet corn.


12-28. 12-29.





#Relatively difficult.

12-62 REFERENCES ASAE 1983a. Auger flighting design considerations. ASAE Engineering Practice: EP3899. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. ASAE 1983b. Terminology and specification definitions for agricultural aguer conveying equipment. ASAE Standard ASAE S374. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. ASAE 1983c. Safety for agricultural auger conveying equipment. ASAE Tentative Standard ASAE S361.1T. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. Bloome, P., S. Harp, J. Garton. 1978. Bucket elevators. OSU Extension Facts No. 1106. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Buhler-Maig. 1983. Chain conveyor design and applications manual. Buhler-Maig, Minneapolis, MN. CEMA 1979. Belt conveyors for bulk materials. Second edition. CBI Publishing Company, Inc., Boston, MA. CEMA, 1980. Screw conveyors. CEMA Book No. 350. Conveyor Equipment Manufacturer's Association, Washington, DC. Des Moines Tribune 1972. Belt conveyor across northern Iowa. December 17, 1972. Ditzenberg, D. 1980. Elevator design, spouting and distribution for small grains. Presented at Greater Iowa Grain Elevator and Processing Society meeting, March 11, Boone, IA. Doss, H.J. and R.G. Pfister. ca 1972. Farm machinery use study. Agricultural Engineering Dept., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Fiscus, D.E., G.H. Foster, H.H. Kaufamann. 1971a. Grain stream velocity measurements. Trans. of ASAE 14(1):162-166. Fiscus, D.E., G.H. Foster, H.H. Kaufmann. 1971b. Physical damage of grain caused by various handling techniques. Trans. of ASAE, 14(3):480-485, 491. Hall, G.E., L.D. Sands. 1970. Operating a screw conveyor with minimum damage to corn. Illinois Research 12(2):14-15. Henderson, S.M., R.L. Perry. 1976. Agricultural process engineering. Third edition. AVI Publishing Co., Westport, CT. Hudson, W.G. 1954. Conveyors and related equipment. Third edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. Huss and Schlieper, Inc. 1981. Kleen Flo drag conveyors. Huss and Schlieper Inc., Decatur, IL. Hutchinson Division, 1983. Hutchinson 1983 catalog. Hutchinson Division, Lear Siegler, Inc., Clay Center, KS. Implement and Tractor. 1983. Shipments of farm machines and equipment. Implement and Tractor. 98(13):50. Johnson, J.A. 1979. Grain elevator monitoring systems. In R.C. Gordon(ed.) A practical guide to elevator design. National Grain and Feed Association, Washington, DC. MWPS 1983. Structures and environment handbook. MWPS-1, Fifth edition, Midwest Plan Service, Ames, IA.

12-63 National Safety Council 1974. Accident facts. Nation Safety Council, Chicago, IL. Pinches, H.E. 1958. Materials handling: farm production integrator. Agricultural Engineering 39(9):517. Rexnord Inc. 1982. Rexnord catalog R80. Rexnord Inc. Milwaukee, WI. Rboerts, A.W. and A.H. Willis. 1962. Performance of grain augers. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 176(8):165-187 Sevart, J.B., B.L. Klausmeyer, J.E. Wray. 1984. Designing a safer grain auger inlet guard. ASAE Paper MCR84-196. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. Stephens, L.E., G.H. Foster. 1977. Reducing damage to corn handled through gravity spouts. Trans. of ASAE. 20(2):367. Thomas Conveyor Company. 1980. Bucket elevators catalog BE-980. Thomas Conveyor Company, Fort Worth, TX. Thomas Conveyor Company. 1981. Thomas screw conveyor engineering guide SC-581. Thomas Conveyor Company, Fort Worth, TX. Vierling, A., G.L. Sinha. 1960. Investigations into the process of conveying by vertical screw conveyor. Fordern V. Heben (10(8):587-592 (in German). NIAE Translation No. 95, Journal of Agr. Eng. Res. 5(4):445-451. White, G.M., L.A. Shaper, I.J. Ross, G.W. Isaacs. 1962. Performance characteristics of enclosed screw conveyors handling shelled corn and soybeans, Research bulletin No. 740. Purdue University, Lafayette, IN.