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Mechanical Conveying

Mechanical conveying systems are a very effective and efficient way to transfer large amounts of product from point to point. Because they’re very robust, mechanical conveyors can move a wide variety of product shapes, sizes, or weights.

Mechanical conveying systems - Screw Conveyors

Mechanical conveyors are one of the most efficient methods of conveying materials in their dust-free and clean handling properties. These conveyors are designed and custom-built for the product to be conveyed and are ideally suited to meet a variety of applications in many industries.

Mechanical conveyors offer design flexibility since they can be installed almost anywhere. They’re also versatile systems since they can convey material horizontally, at an incline, or even vertically.

Many kinds of mechanical conveying systems are available and are used according to the various needs in dry material processing operations.

There are many ways to convey products mechanically, from screws and chains to buckets and belts, and each has its advantages.

Selecting the best mechanical conveyor for an application is essential to processing success and business profits.

Here are some of the most common types of mechanical conveyors and what they’re used for:

Aeromechanical conveyors – Working on the principle of a fluidized airstream created by discs mounted on a rope, aeromechanical conveyors can efficiently move moderate amounts of material. A wire rope with evenly spaced discs travels at high speed within a steel tube, running in sprockets at each end of the conveyor. As bulk material is fed in, the air stream aerates or fluidizes it and carries it to the outlet, which is discharged by centrifugal force.

Bucket elevators – Bucket elevators are designed for vertically handling various dry, free-flowing bulk materials efficiently and with high capacities. Bucket elevators consist of buckets placed either on a single or double chain.

Belt conveyors – Belt conveyors utilize a wide belt over rollers to move material. It’s perfect for carrying a lot of bulk solids or covering very long distances. It’s surprisingly gentle for as fast as it can move and can be used to convey almost anything, although sticky bulk solids sometimes cause maintenance issues. Belt conveyors are used for transporting, feeding, discharging, and proportioning.

Drag chain conveyors – Drag chain conveyors use a chain and paddle design to move material. Drag chain conveyors come in 2 primary styles: En masse and bulk flow. En masse conveyors utilize a low-profile paddle in a tall box, and bulk flow drag chain conveyors use a taller paddle in a divided box.

Screw conveyors – Screw conveyors, use an auger-type motion to move materials – often horizontally or at a slight incline. Screw conveyors can move the fabric at rates almost up to 40 tons in an hour and cover 65 feet. They are used in dairy production, food, and pharmaceutical applications.

Flexible screw conveyors – Flexible screw conveyors, also known as auger conveyors, convey dry bulk solids in any direction into mixers, packaging machines, or storage bins. Flexible screw conveyors require low investment, good reliability, and are not complicated to operate.

Spiral conveyors – Spiral conveyors are used wherever bulk solids must be conveyed vertically, both upwards and downwards. Spiral conveyors are suitable for conveying a host of bulk solids from various production processes, and they often combine conveying with cooling, drying, heating, or humidification processes.

Tubular Cable Conveyors – Tubular cable conveyors are designed for gentle handling and installations. They can transfer fragile bulk solids from single or multiple in-feed points to single or multiple discharge points over long distances with little or no damage.

Vibratory conveyors – They have a single trough design that vibrates to move the material both upwards and forward. Cross-sectional areas along with the slope of the trough determine the capacity of the vibratory conveyor. Because vibratory conveyors use vibrating trays to advance materials, they’re well suited for products that tend to clump or stick together. They’re also suitable for sticky products and need to cool, as well as coating applications. The vibration keeps them from clumping as they move from coater to cooler.


Getting a bulk product from point A to point B isn’t the only consideration that has to be made when deciding about a mechanical conveying system.
When choosing from these types of mechanical bulk material conveyors, buyers will want to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of their operation and application.

Making the right choice will result in improved operations, reduced costs, and ensure a good match with other equipment and systems.

Mechanical conveyor systems are often the lifeline to a company’s ability to move its bulk product in a timely fashion effectively.

This Technology Zone offers an insight into the latest innovations in mechanical conveying solutions for dry material processing industries.

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Experts for Mechanical Conveying

Carrie Hartford is the Technical Sales Manager and Senior Project Engineer in Jenike & Johanson’s office in California. For 15 years, she has been solving challenging bulk material flow related problems around the world. Typical projects include the analysis and design of bins, hoppers, feeders, and transfer chutes. From 2012 – 2014, she opened and established an engineering office and laboratory facilities in Perth, Western Australia. Internationally she publishes and presents technical papers, participates in conferences, and presents numerous short courses in the field of bulk solids flow. Carrie has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MBA from Azusa Pacific University in California. She is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of California.
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Gareth Meese works as Regional Sales Director – EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, India, and Northern Africa) for Eriez-Europe, a global leader in several key technology areas, including magnetic separation, metal detection, and material handling equipment. With nearly 20 years of experience in continuously-evolving positions, Gareth is well versed in bulk material handling applications. When Gareth joined Eriez as an Export Sales Engineer, he led several Eriez teams tasked with expanding business throughout Scandinavia, the Baltic States, and the Czech Republic. Later, as Export Sales Manager, he concentrated on growing Eriez-Europe in Russia, Europe and Northern Africa. His recent promotion expands his geographic responsibilities further with the addition of the Middle East and India. Gareth has been instrumental in pursuing Eriez’ vision and holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Cardiff University. Gareth is more than prepared to discuss and recommend a tailored solution for any unique bulk material handling application.
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Chuck Johnson is the director of sales at National Bulk Equipment, located in Holland, Michigan. His professional experience includes over 25 years in the design, engineering, & sales of bulk material handling equipment & systems. Johnson holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University.
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As Bunting’s Technical Sales Engineer, Tom Higginbottom helps companies solve metal separation and detection problems. Since joining Bunting in March 2017, Tom has developed a reputation as a magnetic separation and metal detection equipment specialist, regularly visiting sites across Europe to advise on ways to improve metal separation and recovery. He is also a committee member of the British Metal Recyclers Association’s Young British Metals Recyclers (YBMR).
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Chris has been working at Spiroflow for over 10 years and is currently in the role of technical sales manager. He handles all the technical drawings and specifications during the sale and aides our drawing office while the equipment is designed, he also assists the manufacturing department with the build. His vast knowledge of powder handling and mechanical design is why he is involved in every aspect of designing our powder handling solutions.
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Doan Pendleton is Vice President of VAC-U-MAX located in Belleville, New Jersey. With over 20 years of professional experience in the design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing of dry bulk material transfer systems, Doan’s experience includes strong application knowledge of bulk ingredient handling systems for the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as well as extensive experience with portable and central industrial vacuum cleaning systems. Mr. Pendleton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Marketing Management from Suffolk University. As Executive Manager, Mr. Pendleton manages Global Sales and Marketing.
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Since 2016, David Hyer has served as the President and General Manager of Thayer Scale and is responsible for daily operations. In 2013, he rejoined the company after serving as the division manager of the circuit-board test and inspection business at Teradyne. His professional experience includes senior management positions in sales and business development at Teradyne and two venture capital-backed startups. His first position was with Thayer Scale in 1985 as a college student writing machine-level code for the PI-164 instrument. David has expertise in the design and manufacture of market-leading conveyor belt scales and gravimetric feeders. With an unyielding focus on product line specialization and quality, the company’s portfolio of products and customized solutions are tailored to the unique requirements of its three key segments; Food, Energy & Building Products, and Chemical & Industrial. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University. He is married with three children and enjoys tennis, golf, and spending time on his boat.
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Matthew Bailey – Technical Lead

Matthew is a mechanical engineer holding an honours degree from the Auckland University of Technology and has been responsible for BFM® Global’s product development, testing and compliance programme for almost 5 years. Matt’s experience is centered on the powder handling industry with a specific focus on flexible connectors, and all the compliance requirements around them. From food to pharmaceutical and all industries in between, Matt works with our Distributor partners, end users and OEMs from Europe, Asia and the Americas to solve application challenges. He regularly attends industry tradeshows around the world and understands the complex requirements of each different market.
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George Bougioukas, Plant Manager of Acmon systems has over a 20 years of experience in plant process design for both mechanical and automation engineering in a wide range of industrial sectors. He has gained a unique knowhow of cross-cutting technologies and applications bringing the organization to reach a new industrial value chain era. George’s expertise includes applications ranging from reception and storage of raw materials, pneumatic and mechanical conveying, sieving, weighing and dosing, mixing, up to bagging and final product dispatch. Behind George there is a dedicated team of engineers who like him are constantly striving to improve design and performance of all plants Acmon systems has been delivering all around the globe for the last 30years on a turnkey basis.
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