Conveyor system for the recycling industry

Flexible conveyance of secondary raw materials – with the Schrage tube chain conveyor
Flexible conveyance of secondary raw materials – with the Schrage tube chain conveyor

The recycling industry is booming because the production
of the high-quality secondary raw materials is gaining importance worldwide in times of increasing prices for
crude oil and decreasing availability of natural resources.

The recycling industry comprises a variety of trades, such as glass recycling, paper recycling, metal recycling, and plastic recycling.

Productive and flexible transportation system

The availability of mechanical systems that can be used for conveying bulk materials within a facility are as numerous and diverse as the recyclable products. However, which conveyor system is the best for each individual company and the respective application? As operational and energy costs tend to increase, economic efficiency should be a key factor, and the most efficient systems for each conveying task should be selected.

One system to consider should definitely be the tube chain conveyor: This conveyor system is characterized by high productivity and flexibility, and at a significantly lower energy consumption than conventional conveyor alternatives. For an output of 60m³/h over a distance of 50 m horizontally or 30 m, vertically, for example, the tube chain conveyor only requires 9.2 kW. Their closed system design also provides for safe and environmentally sound transportation of the recycling waste within the recycling plant.

Successful due to the know-how

The main principle is as simple as it is ingenious: The tube chain conveyor basically consists of a drive and tensioning station, the conveyor chain equipped with discs as well as a conveying and return path. The conveyor chain transports the bulk material through the tubes directly to the desired place of discharge. One company, which has further developed and perfected this system over decades, is Schrage Conveying Systems. What makes the conveyor technology from Friedeburg in Germany so unique is the enormous amount of know-how that has gone into it through years of experience in bulk material handling. With pioneering spirit, solutions have been developed for the trickiest layouts and the most challenging bulk materials – even in cases where other conveyor systems had already reached their limits.


Today, it is possible to convey fine particles, such as filter dust or aluminum powder with the tube chain systems as well as coarse bulk materials, such as broken glass or electronic scrap. The closed system prevents the emission of dust, gas, or odors and provides for comfortable bulk material handling and high operational safety. The maximum length of the chain conveyor under normal conditions is up to 60 m horizontally or 40 m vertically. However, layouts exceeding these measurements can also be realized by combining several conveyors. Five sizes are available to reach the desired conveyor capacity (type 115, type 135, type 160, type 200, and type 270). The bulk material itself – from pourable, adhesive, toxic, or abrasive to chemically aggressive – also plays an important role in the planning of a conveyor system. The characteristics of the bulk material, together with the on-site circumstances are the basis for an optimum combination of materials and design.

Smooth vertical conveyance

Unlike conveyor belts, tube chain conveyors also allow for easy vertical transportation. Pear-shaped layouts, e.g. for replacing conveyor belt residues back to the belt, have also proven
to be a good solution. Vertical tube chain conveyors are frequently used for filling silos. As a space-saving, and most of all economic, conveyor unit, the tube chain conveyor is now being
used in almost all branches of the recycling industry.

Plastics recycling: fine powder or granules

In the recycling of plastics, for example, PVC residues from flooring, windows, tubes, or tarpaulins are used for producing high-quality PVC granules. Here, the tube conveyor is used mostly because it is a closed system, since the purity of the material is a key factor in the high-quality recycling of plastics. And this is only possible with absolutely clean transportation and without any material impurities.

Glass recycling: broken glass, dolomite, or soda

Almost the same applies to the recycling of glass. In this industry, however, the chain conveyor is already often used for transporting the raw materials for the production of new products, whenever soda, quartz sand, limestone, or dolomite is being used.

Wood recycling: shavings, woodchips, sawdust

In wood recycling, waste wood, e.g. from old furniture, pallets, or also industrial production residues are processed and shredded. After the removal of all plastic and metal components,
it is reused e.g. in the chipboard industry in the form of shavings, woodchips, or saw dust and
is transported from A to B using a tube chain conveyor.

Metal recycling: metal powder or shredded metal

Especially “valuable” is the recycling of metal for the recuperation of different metals as well as plastics. For one, this saves the natural resources and the environment and also lowers the manufacturing costs for new products. With tube chain conveyors, it is easy to transport metal powder, scrap metal, or plastic granules.

Paper recycling: kaolin, calcium carbonate, sludge

In the production of recycled paper, the tube chain conveyor is often used to feed filler materials, e.g. kaolin or calcium carbonate, into the manufacturing process. However, the system is also suitable for the easy transportation of paper sludge.

Profound knowledge and extensive experience

The examples show that in the recycling industry as well, profound knowledge about upstream processes and downstream processes is just as important as extensive experience with conveyor technology and special bulk materials. For years now, tube chain conveyors have proven on a daily basis that they meet these requirements even under the most difficult circumstances.

Here the report for downloading