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Chain vs Cable Disc Conveyors: Which Offers Better Uptime and Less Breakage?

Chain vs Cable Disc Conveyors: Which Offers Better Uptime and Less Breakage?

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing and processing industries, efficiency is everything. Time is money, and any disruptions to production can have a significant impact on the bottom line. That’s why maximizing uptime and minimizing breakage are critical objectives for any business that relies on conveyor systems. 

Two popular types of conveyors that have proven to be reliable and effective are the Chain and cable disc conveyors. But which one is right for your business? 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the features and benefits of each, as well as the factors you should consider when evaluating which one is best suited for your specific needs. 

Whether you’re looking to upgrade or replace your existing conveyor system, or you’re exploring options for a new facility, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Chain Disc Conveyors

Chain disc conveyors are mechanically-driven conveyors that drag materials along the inside of a tube. The system consists of a chain with close-running discs spaced along its length, forming an endless loop that is pulled by a motor-driven sprocket within an enclosed tube. The system is designed to transfer flowable bulk materials from in-feed points to discharge points through an enclosed conduit.

While chain disc conveyors are a popular choice in many industries, they have some limitations when it comes to maintenance and material handling. 

As chains experience friction at points of direct contact, wear and tear can take place at those points along the entire length of the chain. To prevent excessive wear and keep the system properly aligned, the chain-drive components must be frequently adjusted. In order to maintain the appropriate chain tension, a tension turnaround unit is employed.

Cablevey Disc Conveyors

Cablevey disc conveyors operate similarly to chain disc conveyors but use a coated, flexible stainless steel drag cable instead of a chain. The cable is fitted with solid circular discs that push the food through the tube. This system has the capability to convey up to 80,000 pounds of product per hour at low speed, and significantly reduce product degradation.

Cablevey disc conveyor system employs energy-efficient variable-speed motors ranging from 1 to 5 HP each, which ensures low power consumption compared to other conveyor systems used in food processing.

Moreover, the system’s production flow can be adjusted to variable speeds, allowing for modifications in throughput as needed. The cable and disc assembly is powered by a drive unit and transported through the conveying tubes. 

The entire system is fully enclosed and dust-free, thanks to the use of compression couplers and gaskets that connect the various components together.

Why Cablevey Disc Conveyors are Better Than Chain Disc Conveyors When It Comes To Decreased System Downtime?

One of the main advantages of cablevey disc conveyors over chain disc conveyors is their reduced system downtime. Chain systems require more frequent maintenance, especially when it comes to adjusting the chain tension and replacing the sprockets. Any misalignment or wear and tear can cause the chain to jump off the sprocket or even break, which can cause significant downtime and require costly repairs. 

In contrast, cablevey systems require less maintenance and are less prone to system failure due to their more flexible and durable design.

In most tubular drag conveyors, including cablevey, the cable used is a WSC (wire strand core), also known as aircraft cable. The core is typically made of type 316 stainless steel, surrounded by stainless steel stranded ropes that consist of multiple steel strands arranged helically in one or more layers around the core. 

Although there may be some wear and tear on the individual wires and strands due to friction, this also helps to compensate for minor failures in the short run.

Thanks to this simpler yet durable design, cablevey disc conveyors have fewer moving parts compared to chain systems, which means there are fewer components that can fail or need replacement. 

This simplicity also means that cablevey systems can be easier to install and integrate into existing production lines, which can further reduce downtime and maintenance costs.

Why Cablevey Disc Conveyors Are Better Than Chain Disc Conveyors When It Comes To Material Breakage?

Another significant advantage of cablevey disc conveyors over chain disc conveyors is their ability to minimize material breakage during conveying. 

Cablevey systems use a flexible stainless-steel cable with solid circular discs attached to it, which gently and smoothly moves the product through the tube without causing damage or breakage. This flexibility enables seamless integration with various food production processes, ranging from raw material reception to weighing, filling, grinding, and packaging.

In contrast, chain systems use a chain with solid circular discs attached to it, which can cause friction and abrasion that can damage or break the product during conveying. This makes a chain system a less-than-ideal solution for applications where food components are prone to damage, contamination is a concern, or dust accumulation is a problem, such as in filling and packaging operations.

Material breakage is an incredibly important factor in food processing applications, especially where product integrity and quality are crucial. By reducing material breakage and damage, cablevey systems can help maintain the quality and appearance of the product, which can increase customer satisfaction and reduce waste.


In conclusion, both chain and cablevey disc conveyors have their advantages and disadvantages, but cablevey systems are ultimately the better option for food processors looking to minimize system downtime and material breakage. 

Cablevey systems offer a more flexible and durable design with fewer components that can fail or need replacement. 

Furthermore, cablevey conveyors incorporate a stainless-steel drag cable that is coated and flexible, enabling the product to move through the tube gently and smoothly without compromising its integrity or causing damage or breakage.

Ultimately, when considering which conveyor system to use, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your production line. However, if minimizing downtime and material breakage are top priorities, then cablevey disc conveyors are a clear choice.

If you are looking for the next conveyor for your food processing facilities, you may want to consider our tubular cable and disc systems. Contact us at Cablevey to learn more about how we can help you choose the best type of tubular conveyor system for your plant.

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