IAB Weimar uses EDEM to optimize the design of a Trough Chain Conveyor

IAB Weimar is a non-profit research institute that works with companies to develop and test new products, equipment and processes.

IAB Weimar completed a project to help a company design a new chain conveyor, using EDEM bulk material simulation to investigate different equipment designs to ensure an optimized conveying of material.


A trough chain conveyor is a piece of equipment used to transport bulk material with a powered chain system. The ‘feeding area’ and chain performance are important considerations when designing this piece of equipment to ensure there are no blockages or mechanical faults. IAB Weimar wanted to ensure that the design of a new chain conveyor would be optimized to transport rocks without blockage or damage to the chain and equipment.

EDEM's Role

EDEM provided a virtual environment for IAB Weimar to test and compare the efficiency of two different chain setups. The geometry of the conveyor was imported into EDEM as a CAD file. The chain was made of particles and created by attaching clumped particles to each other using a user defined factory. 3 different types of rocks were created using multi-sphere particles with different shapes to represent the real material. Several scenarios were tested with a double chain, single chain and changes to the way the material is introduced on the conveyor.


Simulations showed which design and set-up would cause blockage and failure of the machinery and which would perform well. EDEM enabled IAB Weimar to make design decision and improve the material feeding area by adding additional baffles. In addition, critical areas of blockage were determined and slight modifications on the geometry set-up were made to decrease the blockage probability. It gave their client confidence that the final design would perform well and could be implemented without risks of material blockage or equipment failure.

Double chain, standard feeding of material on to the conveyor:

Simulation shows material blockage and chain failure.

Double chain and improved material feeding area with additional baffles installed and the geometry surface smoothened in one region:

Simulation does not show any issues. Transport of materials is working as expected.

Single chain, improved material feeding area:

Simulation shows major issues and proves the insufficient fuctionality of the one chain setup.

EDEM enabled us to have an insight view into the material flow and get a deeper understanding of the process. With the simulation it was possible to exactly determine the critical spots and test several new improvement setups with low effort to find an adequate solution.

Dr.-Ing. Knut Krenzer, Head of Simulation IAB Weimar