A chip conveyor is used primarily in industrial settings to carry away waste, such as metal chips or the shavings produced during machining and manufacturing operations. They are typically small and designed to handle wet or dry waste as many of the types of processes that create the waste they are designed to carry use water or other liquids as lubricants. They are useful for a number of reasons as they carry waste away from the work area, promoting safety and cleanliness. They also aid in recycling processes for scrap and filter chips, shavings, and other scrap from lubricating materials, which helps reduce clogging in drains, pipes and tanks.
A belt-style system is the basis for a typical chip conveyor. Depending on the application, however, the belt can be solid or perforated and may or may not be made of metal. Some designs may use metal fins or compartments to push material. Some belts may be made from extremely tough rubber or other material, encasing a metal grid that may be magnetized for the purpose of collecting or sorting of chips, scraps, and shavings that contain iron. Other systems for sorting metals are sometimes incorporated as well, and often the length of the conveyor is enclosed, except for the collection and dumping points.
Most common in machine tool operations, a chip conveyor is an important part of cleanliness and safety as well as a key item in recycling efforts. Most often, each machine tool has its own chip conveyor, which is sometimes part of a larger system, in which each component feeds chips and other scrap metal to a central point for sorting or further processing. Some chip conveyors, however, simply dump scrap into a bin or hopper. The conveyor keeps chips and other scrap from littering the work area and posing safety risks to human workers as well as reducing the possibility of fouling machinery. For operations that use liquids to lubricate machining processes, chip conveyors can filter out scrap from the lubricants, allowing the lubricant to be re-used, lowering costs and reducing the clogging in drains, storage tanks, and machinery.
Many manufacturers produce chip conveyors, which are typically fairly small as each conveyor is made to serve one machine or station, although large chip conveyor systems for high volume or large machine tools are not uncommon. Chip conveyors are common with many types of machine tools, including lathes, routers and grinders. Many manufacturers offer custom made chip conveyors to fit any kind of machine or application.