Screw Conveyors: Pulling vs. Pushing Material

Screw Conveyors: Pulling vs. Pushing Material


Screw conveyors are used throughout food and grain industries, as well as aggregate and mining industries, because they are very versatile and can be designed to meet the unique needs of many different conveying systems. A key component in designing screw conveyors is determining the flow of the material, which can be either pulled or pushed. In this article, we walk you through key recommendations from one of IBT’s top suppliers, KWS, to help you determine where your drive unit should be located.

Pulling Screw Conveyor Drive Units

Screw Conveyors - Pulling A pulling or pushing screw conveyor drive unit can be located on either the inlet (tail) or discharge (head) end of a screw conveyor. While drive location doesn’t impact horsepower or speed, KWS recommends locating the drive unit on the discharge end to pull material towards the discharge. The pulling motion usually provides more strength and helps avoid potential kinks in the assembly, especially one with multiple screw sections. This pulling motion puts the center tube in tension to keep alignment of the screw sections, which is critical when it comes to preventing premature failures and reducing fatigue and wear on the conveyor.

Pushing Screw Conveyor Drive Units

Screw Conveyors - PushingWhen a screw conveyor drive unit is driven at the inlet (or tail) end of the conveyor, the system pushes the material instead of pulling it. Pushing material is not typically the preferred configuration for most conveying applications, as pushing the material can add compression stress to the screw. According to KWS, it isn’t always possible to mount the drive unit on the discharge end, as some applications may have clearance issues. If you mount the drive on the inlet end and push the material, make sure to add routine checks for potential misalignment to your preventative maintenance schedule. 

Discover the Highest-Quality Screw Conveyors from KWS

As a trusted brand that IBT has worked with for a long time, KWS serves as a premier source for a wide range of screw conveyors. Their products are manufactured to deliver the highest-quality performance and longevity in some of the most demanding industries, including aggregate, mining, grain, and food processing. KWS is an industry leader in bringing experience and technology into custom fabrication — ensuring your application’s exact needs are met with top-of-the-line engineering solutions. Drive Unit Locations for Screw Conveyors

KWS’ Line of Screw Conveyors Feature:

  • Horizontal Screw Conveyors: The most commonly used style of screw conveyor in the industry, which is used to convey bulk materials from one part of a process to another.
  • Inclined Screw Conveyors: These typically operate from slightly above the horizontal position and feature increased horsepower requirements to prevent bulk material fall back.
  • Shaftless Screw Conveyors: Used to discharge bulk materials from centrifuges, filter presses, and mixers, while providing a non-clogging conveying surface for difficult-to-convey materials.
  • Vertical Screw Conveyors: The most efficient and cost-effective method for elevating a variety of bulk materials. This design is more compact and features fewer moving parts.

IBT’s Team of Dedicated Conveying Systems Experts Has Got You Covered

With decades of experience in conveying systems and the aggregate, mining, grain, and food processing industries, our engineering team is here to help you find the right conveying solution for your operation. Contact Jim Boatright, IBT’s Conveying Systems Manager, today at 913-677-3151 to learn more about our engineering capabilities or submit an inquiry online!

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