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What Is a Spiral Conveyor?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A spiral conveyor is a type of conveyor belt that is wound around a large drum, creating an ascending or descending spiral. The drum is the largest part of the spiral conveyor and the section that drives the belt itself. While this type of conveyor is typically quite large, most only require one motor to drive the belt, which leads to lower operating costs compared to other options. Depending on the needs of the industry, this conveyor can be made to move items upward or downward, most with little effort by the user. This type of conveyor has many advantages, including taking up less floor space, transporting items without steep inclines or declines and drastically reducing the chances of items tipping over.

With a spiral conveyor, a large drum sits in the middle of the conveyor belt and the belt wraps around the drum. This drum provides stability to the conveyor, but it also performs a greater duty: driving the belt. The motor is typically held in the drum, and the drum moves or generates power, causing the belt to move without much effort.

Most spiral conveyor units are rather large, but they usually only need one motor to run. This is because of the number of times the conveyor belt is wrapped around the drum. This wrapping means it takes considerably less energy to start the conveyor and very little energy to continue moving. After the initial start, the belt practically moves itself.

Some manufacturing plants need to move items up, while others need to move items down. Moving in either direction is easy for most spiral conveyor units, because the belt’s construction can be used for both types of movements. Most spiral conveyors allow the user to change the direction with a button, though some conveyors may not have this feature.

A spiral conveyor has many advantages over normal conveyor belts. If items need to be moved a considerable distance up or down, this conveyor can move the item without a steep incline. This makes it much harder for an item to tip over on the belt. This conveyor is large, but most of the construction is vertical, so it ends up saving floor space when compared to straight conveyor belts. While good for large inclines or declines, this conveyor does not function very well in jobs that require small inclines or declines, and it ends up wasting space if used for small movements.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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