Screw Conveyor Model Progress Report
The Screw Conveyor Model is complete (for now), and things work flawlessly as you will see in the video below. We have just received our copy of Screw Conveyors for Bulk Materials (ANSI/CEMA Standard #350), and are currently deciding how to apply what we learn from the standards to the Screw Conveyor Model.
As is, the Screw Conveyor Model has four main controls, but there are probably at least 100 more parameters that can be made available to the end user — or tied to current controls in different ways. For example: There are is a parameter that controls the gap between the screw and the trough which is currently statically set to 1/4″. If a different gap is needed based on criteria such as material being conveyed (abrasiveness, size, etc), screw speed, or whatever else may affect this parameter, we will create an iLogic formula that automatically adjusts the parameter based on those considerations.
Some of the features shown in the video include:
- Automatic Bearing Selection – Currently the bearing selection is driven by the drive insert, which itself is driven by the shaft size. When the shaft size is changed, the insert automatically changes which in turn causes the bearing — along with all of it’s hardware — to change sizes as well. The hardware itself adapts to changes in the thickness of the bearing plate as well as the thickness of the trough material. Once we add a ‘Conveyed Material‘ selector, the bearing will also need to change it’s type to choices such as hard iron, bronze, ball, nylon, or even a “Oil Impregnated Maple Wood” bearing! Watch the video to see the current implementation. It’s pretty impressive.
- Feed and Discharge Chutes – Automatically adjust size based on the width of the trough and the length of the screw pitch, but that will likely need an override and/or modification to better reflect the choice of conveyed material when implemented.
- Trough Cover – Currently a static thickness, but from the CEMA Standard we can see that the cover is not always the same thickness or material as the trough (as it is now). That will be updated in the next version of the Screw Conveyor Model. Another feature of the Trough Cover is the bolt pattern. The configurator adds or subtracts bolt sets automatically based on the width and length of the trough (all automatically reflected in the BOM). we are currently using a roughly 5″ even spacing, but this may change to a formula based on what we find in the CEMA Standards or from feedback from Engineers/Designers.
- There is a boatload more, but that will need to do it for this post. Stop back often and/or subscribe to keep abreast of the progress on this tutorial.
We will likely need to make the model so that it automatically breaks into segments and adds multiple screws, hanger bearings, etc., but in the end, the object is to not make the perfect Screw Conveyor Model, but to teach as many different Autodesk Inventor modeling techniques and workflows as possible.
As soon as the current model is considered ‘feature complete’ we will begin creating the tutorials. From there we will likely add a tutorial using the new multi-solid body functionality in Sheet Metal parts to create a hopper configurator to supply the material to the Screw Conveyor. The hopper will need a Frame Generator created stand, and a host of other related configurator tutorials. We would love your input as to features and direction of the tutorial. Just add a comment below and we’ll see what we can do.