UHMWPE Drag Conveyor Paddles

Drag Conveyor Paddles : Steel vs Plastic

If it is familiar with you about the steel mills or power plants, or if your factory has equipment such as pushers, tractors, buried conveyors, grain conveyors, etc. Then we are sure you know the product of ” Drag conveyor paddles”.  Why plastic ones can replace more and more iron drag conveyor paddles?  Let us bring you into this blog, the answer is in it!  And we are sure the plastic UHMWPE conveyor blade will be your next choice!

Drag Conveyor Paddles

What is a drag conveyor paddle?

Drag Conveyor Paddles, also known as chain paddles or drag flight paddles, are combined with the paddle frame and chain and are an essential part of chain conveyors. This equipment is one of the most efficient ever for transporting bulk materials. This chain conveyor can be used to transport grain, iron ore, coal, etc.

Due to the large conveying capacity of the drag conveyor and the high load during conveying, drag conveyor paddles are wearing parts. These delivery paddles require regular inspection, maintenance, and replacement.

So is there a chain paddle that is cheap and durable? At this time, there are generally two discussions. One is a steel paddle and the other is a plastic paddle. Which material is more cost-effective? Let’s make a comparison.

Check out the video below to see how the drag paddle works.

Cost of drag conveyor paddle: Steel vs Plastic

Many people take it for granted that steel paddles are cheaper than plastic paddles because the price of steel per kilogram is cheaper than the price of polymer plastics. This kind of thinking is wrong. It should be noted that we are comparing the price of the finished product, not the price of the raw material. For steel parts, raw materials to finished products need to undergo processes such as cutting, welding, forming, mold processing, etc. Steel is notoriously difficult to machine and is more difficult to shape than plastic. With the complexity of metal parts, the processing difficulty and price will increase exponentially.

For plastic parts, the price is only a slow and steady increase as the part becomes more complex. When you see this, you will understand why a plastic drag conveyor paddle is cheaper than Steel. In fact, there are many advantages of plastic paddles. Please continue to read our blog.

Impact strength of drag conveyor paddle: Steel vs Plastic

Carbon steel 45#: 16-44 KJ/m2

UHMW-PE: 140 KJ/m2

The production of plastic drag conveyor paddles generally uses UHMWPE as raw material, and its excellent impact resistance is only one of its advantages. Compared with Steel, it has unparalleled wear resistance, impact resistance, self-lubricating, corrosion resistance, impact energy absorption, low-temperature resistance, and hygiene. Non-toxic, not easy to adhere, not easy to absorb water, low density, and other comprehensive properties. In fact, there is no simple polymer material with so many excellent properties.

Production efficiency of drag conveyor paddle: Steel vs Plastic

The density of UHMWPE is 0.920~0.964 g/cm3, and the density of steel is 7.86 cm3. So we can conclude that the steel paddle of the same volume is more than 8 times that of plastic. The light chain paddle can reduce the load on the transmission system and improve the conveying efficiency. And it does not stick to the material so the conveying system can transport more material per revolution, which is also not available in the steel paddle.

Serviceability of drag conveyor paddle: Steel vs Plastic

There are several notable features of UHMWPE which are wear resistance and self-lubricating properties. The wear resistance can make the drag conveyor paddle last longer, and the self-lubrication can make it not easy to wear. These two features can make the plastic paddle less damaged and reduce the number of repairs and replacements.

Another difference between steel paddles and plastic paddles is corrosion resistance. Since such large chain conveyors are generally exposed, they will be exposed to sunlight, weathering, and acid rain for a long time. Moisture and chemicals in the material being transported can also damage it over time. Plastic paddle avoids these problems.

This virtually saves a lot of costs for manufacturers. Iron paddles not only lack these two features, but they also carry a lot of risks when damaged. The next article will give the answer.

drag flight paddle

Risk coefficient of drag conveyor paddle: Steel vs Plastic

Steel paddles tend to crumble easily at low temperatures. If this happens, the broken metal fragments will violently rub against other parts of the conveying equipment. It will easily destroy the entire chain conveyor and bring a lot of trouble to maintenance. If the transport happens to be grain or a material with a low ignition point, the heat generated by friction can even ignite it. Since the plastic drag conveyor paddler has good toughness, there is no risk of breakage.


Compared with a steel paddle, the plastic paddle is almost perfect, we recommend using the UHMWPE drag conveyor paddle to replace the steel paddle. Our team can help you design and develop alternative solutions. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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