Helical Coils: Where’s Archimedes When You Need Him?

Many Bender/Rollers not only curve metal in one plane; they also curve metal in two planes including helical coils.  Applications in construction include stringers and handrails for circular stairs as well as ornamental and structural members for buildings.

On a smaller scale, Bender/Rollers make helical coils for OEM applications including for screw conveyors and augers.  The ancient scientist Archimedes (born c. 287 BC) is generally credited with the invention of the screw conveyor which was used to transport water from a lower to a higher level.  Today, screw conveyors are used to move semi-solid materials like grain or gravel.

Augers look similar to screw conveyors but are usually thought of as a tool to drill through material.  But like a screw conveyor, they actually do transport the shavings of the drilled material up and away from the hole.  Some people put serrated cutters on the edge of their augers because they want to slice and cut while digging.

Both screw conveyors and augers can be made by attaching a helical blade to a center pole.  The helical blade is called “flighting.”  Both screw conveyors and augers often have blades with sharp edges, necessary, of course, for cutting but perhaps also helpful in conveying material.

We recently were asked to coil 1in OD round 304 stainless steel tube with a 0.125 wall to a 7.75in inside diameter with a 5.75 pitch between flights.  This helical pipe was then welded to the edge of standard flighting to create a rounded edge.

1in Pipe Coiled Into a Helix as Part of a Screw Conveyor

Not knowing the application, we speculated that perhaps this rounded edge improved the transportation of whatever product was being conveyed.  But we’re not sure.  Where’s Archimedes when we need him?


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