Auger conveyors, also known as screw conveyors, are especially useful in transporting powders and materials composed of small granules, such as grain. They are useful in all kinds of industrial contexts. For example, in plastic injection molding, extrusion and other plastic thermoforming processes, raw plastic materials must somehow be loaded into the equipment where they will be processed. Auger conveyors can be used for this purpose; the raw plastic pellets used in the process can be drawn up by the conveyors and directed into the pellet hoppers that are suspended above the processing equipment.
While some traditional belt conveyors are equipped for the transportation of very small materials, most are not. In the conveying of carbon black or other similarly powdery substances, the material can become ground into belting, and it can escape the belt and accumulate beneath it or on other components of the conveyor. In auger conveyors, the conveyed material can be completely contained, significantly reducing opportunities for product loss or equipment damage.
Auger conveyors are available in a number of different configurations; an auger conveyor’s configuration is chosen based on its intended application. For example, in agricultural applications, where auger conveyors can be used to transport agricultural products into storage silos, a vertical configuration is likely to be used. In a vertical auger conveyor, a long channel is attached to a sturdy structure, usually the storage structure into which the conveyor will direct materials. At the bottom of the channel is the inlet, which is usually situated in a small receptacle from which it draws up materials to be transported. At the top of the channel is the outlet from which the transported material exits the channel and enters its storage space. Within the channel is the rotating auger, which, as it rotates, forces material up through the channel.
Inclined auger conveyors feature channels that are situated at an angle to the ground; these are used in agriculture as well as in manufacturing, food processing and many other industrial applications. Auger conveyors can be powered by electric motors or by other sources like diesel engines. Depending on the application, auger conveyors may be fitted with a variable rate feeder to control the amount of product distributed at one time.