Apron Feeders

Apron Feeders are a robust style of feeder that can be used to feed or extract material in a wide variety of applications. Apron Feeders excel at handling material that is beyond the scope of other feeders.


Apron Feeders are generally used as a primary or bin feeder application designed for varying applications, from light-duty to severe-duty, from low tonnage to high tonnage of material. They are the feeder of choice for reliability, high uptime and high returns on capital, and are designed for decades of service. Combined with a variable speed drive, these feeders provide the ultimate in flow control.

Integrating the Apron Feeder drive to the crusher it feeds ensures the crusher is performing at its peak efficiency, while integrating an Apron Feeder to any downstream system ensures the highest operating performance.

Apron Feeders are used to feed material in a wide variety of material handling applications, from mining ores, aggregates, scrap/recycle material or any special material you have. They can handle small and large capacities from 10-6,000 tph and can withstand extreme impact loading. Apron Feeders deliver material at a uniform rate, allowing optimal feeding to downstream equipment. Due to their long service life with low-maintenance applications, Apron Feeders are a popular feeder choice. 

How Apron Feeders Work

Apron Feeders work by conveying material from a hopper to the delivery point at a controlled rate of speed.

The Apron Feeder consists of a frame, undercarriage components, head shaft, tail shaft, flights and a drive. The undercarriage chain wraps around the head shaft and tail idler, and flights are bolted to the strands of chain. The chain and flight combination rides on undercarriage rollers.

An Apron Feeder is usually installed under the opening at the discharge end of a hopper. As the head shaft rotates, the material in the hopper is pulled out of the opening by the movement of the flights. The size of the opening combined with the speed of the flights provides a metered flow.

Apron Feeders are tailored to fit many applications and installation requirements. This means that various aspects of the material stream, such as depth, can be adjusted to meet the required flow of material.

Why McLanahan Apron Feeders

McLanahan Apron Feeders are designed based on a decades-old concept developed by National Iron Company of using a crawler undercarriage. Their reliability has been tested by hundreds of Apron Feeders still operating in the field.

McLanahan Apron Feeders are available in six chain sizes, 16 standard flight widths and an infinite range of lengths — all designed to meet a customer's application requirement.

McLanahan Apron Feeders use sealed-for-life undercarriage components, with oversized head shaft bearings, to reduce monitoring and keep maintenance requirements to a minimum. Designed to provide unmatched reliability, Apron Feeder components include a lubricated chain, carry rollers, return rollers, idler wheels, 100,000 hour bearings and fabricated components. Since there are very few components used in an Apron Feeder, maintenance inventory can often be kept quite low. When maintenance is required, most tasks can take place at the tail-end of the Apron Feeder, which is easily accessible.

Safety pull cords and a zero speed switch are standard features. Unlike other vibratory feeders, when you stop an Apron Feeder, material flow stops immediately.

Apron Feeder flights can be supplied in cast manganese or fabricated, formed steel to fit the duty requirements of the application. This gives ultimate flexibility in having the right feeder duty for the application.

Apron Feeder drive systems can be supplied in electrical-mechanical or hydraulic to match the duty and requirements of the application.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apron Feeders

Ask An Expert

Apron Feeders are calculated and designed for each application. This ensures the performance and reliability for which they are known.

Information critical to the power calculation and design of an Apron Feeder includes type of material, feed rate, size of material and more. Please contact McLanahan for a questionnaire you can fill out so we can help you select the proper Apron Feeder.

You can also download our guide How to Size and Select a Feeder to ensure you have a proper understanding of the information needed to make sure your feeder is the right selection and fit for your specific application requirements.

The carry roller mounting channel on a McLanahan Apron Feeder is designed with removable sections to allow for carry roller replacement from outside the feeder.

The return roller stub shaft on a McLanahan Apron Feeder is mounted to a bracket. This bracket is mounted with four fasteners to the web of the main beam. The fasteners are accessible from outside the feeder. Once the bracket is removed, the return roller may be replaced.

The average life of a McLanahan Apron Feeder's components are as follows: 

  • Drive sprocket - one to four years
  • Carry roller - five to seven years
  • Return roller - five to 10 years
  • Tail wheel - seven to 10 years
  • Chain - seven to 15 years.

Both electrical-mechanical and hydraulic drives are available on McLanahan Apron Feeders. Electrical-mechanical drives are less costly and limited in speed range and start/stops per hour. Hydraulic drives are more costly, with infinite speed range and infinite start/stops per hour.

McLanahan experts say that a sealed chain is preferred, as it lasts longer and requires little routine checkups. If the lip seal fails on a SALT chain, failure is imminent.

McLanahan Apron Feeders offer reliability, high uptime and high returns on capital, and are designed for decades of service.

Features & Benefits
  • Rugged welded steel beam frame with impact rails to limit flight deflection, thus eliminating permanent bending of the flight
  • Large anti-friction spherical bearings on the head shaft, resulting in long bearing life
  • Grease lubricated bearings mounted in housings and labyrinth or taconite seals
  • Tractor idler wheels (sealed for life) are mounted to adjustable tail frame weldment
  • Standard undercarriage components, yielding a reliable, long-life feeder
  • Cast manganese segmental sprockets bolted to heavy steel hubs keyed to oversized front drive shaft
  • Superior flight sealing overlap design, reducing the leakage of fines

Need Some Help?

Our customer service team is here to help you 24/7. We can ship you parts, send field service technicians to your site and answer any questions you have. Whatever you need, we are here for you.