Everything You Need to Know About Vibrating Conveyors

vibrating conveyor

What is a Vibrating Conveyor?

A vibrating conveyor is a versatile mechanical device used in various industries for efficient material handling. It offers a reliable and controlled method of transporting bulk materials from one location to another. Also known as vibratory conveyors, these are systems designed to move materials through vibrations. They utilize vibrations generated by an electric motor, electromagnetic drive, or pneumatic drive to transport bulk materials along a trough. The vibrations help in smoothly and gently conveying materials, making them suitable for handling fragile or delicate items.

The primary purpose of a vibrating conveyor is to facilitate the efficient transfer of materials. They are commonly used to feed, convey, and distribute various types of bulk materials, such as powders, granules, pellets, or parts. Vibrating conveyors offer advantages such as reduced maintenance, low noise levels, and precise control over material flow.

How A Vibrating Conveyor Works

Vibrating conveyors work based on the principle of controlled vibrations. The conveyor system consists of a trough or tube, an electric motor or other drive mechanism, and a vibrating unit. The vibrating unit is responsible for generating the vibrations required for material movement.

When the vibrating conveyor is in operation, the electric motor or drive mechanism imparts vibrations to the trough or tube. These vibrations cause the material within the trough to move forward in a controlled manner. The frequency and amplitude of the vibrations can be adjusted to suit specific requirements.

The vibratory motion of the conveyor helps in fluidizing the material, reducing friction, and preventing material blockages. The controlled vibrations also aid in separating and screening materials based on their size or characteristics.

Types of Vibrating Conveyors

There are several types of vibrating conveyors available, each designed to cater to specific industry requirements. Let's explore some of the commonly used types:

Natural Frequency Conveyor

The natural frequency conveyor operates at the natural frequency of the supporting structure. It offers excellent energy efficiency and is ideal for transporting heavy or fragile materials. Common applications include foundries, mining operations, and recycling facilities.

Electromagnetic Conveyor

Electromagnetic conveyors use electromagnetic drives to generate vibrations. They are highly versatile and can handle a wide range of materials, including fine powders and bulk solids. These conveyors are commonly used in the food processing, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

Balanced Conveyor

Balanced vibrating conveyors feature a two-mass system that counteracts the inherent vibrations. This design minimizes the transmission of vibrations to the supporting structure, making it suitable for delicate materials or environments where low noise levels are required. Balanced conveyors find applications in industries such as packaging, glass manufacturing, and electronics.

Spiral Conveyor

Spiral vibrating conveyors are used when vertical conveying is necessary. They utilize a spiral-shaped trough to elevate materials while maintaining the vibratory motion. Spiral conveyors are often employed in the transportation of bulk materials in the agricultural and chemical industries.

Horizontal Conveyor

Horizontal vibrating conveyors transport materials horizontally. They are commonly used in applications where precise control of material flow and orientation is required. Industries such as mining, construction, and manufacturing utilize horizontal conveyors for efficient material handling.

Vibratory Feeders

Vibratory feeders are a type of vibrating conveyor used to feed materials into a processing or packaging machine. They are designed with a tray or bowl that vibrates, causing the materials to move forward. Vibratory feeders are commonly used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food processing, and packaging.

Oscillating Conveyors

Oscillating conveyors, also known as shaking conveyors, are a type of vibrating conveyor that moves materials in a zigzag pattern. They are often used for sorting, screening, and separating applications. Oscillating conveyors can handle a wide range of materials, including bulky and irregularly shaped items.

Selection Criteria for Vibrating Conveyors

When choosing a vibrating conveyor for a specific application, several factors need to be considered. Here are some important selection criteria:

Material Characteristics: The properties of the materials being conveyed play a crucial role in selecting the appropriate vibrating conveyor. Factors such as the material's density, particle size, abrasiveness, and flow characteristics should be taken into account. Certain materials may require specific trough designs or additional features to ensure efficient and safe transportation.

Throughput Requirements: Determining the required throughput is essential in selecting a vibrating conveyor. The throughput is typically measured in terms of the volume or weight of material per unit of time. It is important to consider the desired production rate and the capacity of the conveyor to handle the required volume efficiently.

Trough Length and Vibrational Frequency: The length of the trough and the vibrational frequency of the conveyor are interrelated factors that influence the conveying capacity. Longer troughs and higher vibrational frequencies generally result in higher conveying capacities. However, it is crucial to strike a balance to prevent excessive energy consumption and unnecessary wear and tear on the equipment.

Uses of Vibrating Conveyors

Vibrating conveyors find application in various industries where efficient material handling is crucial. Some common uses include:

Mining and Quarrying: In the mining and quarrying industry, vibrating conveyors are used to transport bulk materials such as coal, ores, and aggregates. They are employed in processes like feeding crushers, screening operations, and stockpiling materials.

Food Processing: Vibrating conveyors are extensively used in the food processing industry for tasks such as transferring ingredients, conveying finished products, and aligning food items for packaging. They are ideal for handling delicate food items that require gentle transportation.

Recycling: Vibrating conveyors play a vital role in recycling operations. They are used to transport and sort various recyclable materials, including plastics, glass, metals, and paper. The precise control offered by vibrating conveyors helps in efficiently separating and processing recyclable materials.

Other Industries: Vibrating conveyors also find applications in industries such as agriculture, construction, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. They can be customized to meet specific industry requirements, making them versatile for a wide range of material handling needs.


1. What are the main advantages of vibrating conveyors?
Vibrating conveyors offer several advantages, including gentle material handling, reduced maintenance requirements, low noise levels, and precise control over material flow. They are also suitable for handling fragile or delicate items without causing damage.

2. How do I determine the right size of vibrating conveyor for my application?
The size of the vibrating conveyor depends on factors such as material characteristics, required throughput, and the dimensions of the working space. Consulting with a vibrating conveyor manufacturer or an industry expert can help determine the appropriate size for your specific application.

3. Can vibrating conveyors handle delicate or fragile materials?
Yes, vibrating conveyors are suitable for handling delicate or fragile materials. The controlled vibrations and gentle motion prevent excessive impact or damage to the materials during transportation.

4. Are vibrating conveyors suitable for high-temperature environments?
Vibrating conveyors can be designed to operate in high-temperature environments. Special heat-resistant materials and components can be used to ensure the conveyor's durability and performance. It is important to communicate the specific temperature requirements to the conveyor manufacturer to ensure the conveyor is appropriately designed for the application.

5. What maintenance tasks are required for vibrating conveyors?
Regular maintenance is essential to keep vibrating conveyors in optimal working condition. A crucial part of a conveyor safety program is the lockout/tagout procedure. Other maintenance tasks may include inspecting and tightening connections, lubricating moving parts, checking for wear or damage, and cleaning the conveyor. Following the manufacturer's maintenance guidelines and scheduling routine inspections can help prevent breakdowns and prolong the lifespan of the equipment.

6. Are there any safety considerations when using vibrating conveyors?
Safety is of utmost importance when using vibrating conveyors. Some important considerations include providing proper guarding to prevent access to moving parts, ensuring emergency stop buttons or switches are easily accessible, and implementing safety measures to prevent material spillage or accumulation. It is crucial to follow safety regulations and guidelines specific to the industry and location of the conveyor.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.