Understanding Bulk Conveyor Handling Systems

Colin Fairweather, CEO, Facet Engineering

Bulk handling conveyor systems are designed to receive and continuously move vast quantities of dry, free-flowing product, typically into storage facilities or for further processing. Bulk handling conveyor systems transport large volumes of product throughout a process plant, from feeding raw materials, moving product between processes and conveying the finished product into packing lines or storage facilities.

Free-flowing bulk materials can be powdery, granular or lumpy in nature. Some typical examples of product moved in bulk include sand, cement, coal, fertilizer, chemical powders, minerals, ore, gravel, clay, ash, salt, flour, stones, sugar, woodchips, grain, cereals and seed.

Bulk handling conveyors, most commonly included in bulk material handling systems include belt conveyors, screw conveyors, drag chain conveyors and bucket elevators. More in-depth bulk handling systems may also include storage bins, a range of different types of conveyors and discharge bins and hoppers.

  • Belt conveyors are extensively used for bulk handling applications. Belt conveyors have low maintenance requirements and can be used to convey a wide range of products, and are a very cost-effective option for bulk conveying over long distances.
  • Bucket elevators are widely used for moving free-flowing material in large volumes when vertical conveying of the product is required. Bucket elevators work well with durable, abrasive products.
  • Screw conveyors are highly effective for bulk handling of both free flowing and more sluggish products. These low maintenance conveyors can also be supplied with multiple inlet or discharge points and can also be positioned horizontally or at an incline, making them highly versatile.
  • Drag chain conveyors work well for moving abrasion-resistant granular products. As a fully enclosed conveyor, chain conveyors provide dust-free handling and very low product contamination risk. With low power consumption and maintenance requirements, chain conveyors are a cost-effective bulk handling option.

When designing bulk handling conveyors, the characteristics of the product must be taken into consideration to minimise, where possible, some of the common problems that occur when moving free-flowing product in large volumes.

Factors that have an impact on moving bulk material include:

  • Product particle size,
  • Bulk density,
  • Moisture content,
  • Angle of repose,
  • Product abrasiveness, and,
  • Required throughput capacity.

These factors directly impact the type of conveyor that will be best suited to transport the product being moved.

Our bulk handling conveyor systems are custom-designed to incorporate all aspects of handling and moving product, from product intake and receiving, feeding and product conveying – including vertical conveying requirements. In addition to a range of conveyors, we can also supply product receiving hoppers and storage bins, Ribbon Blenders for dry product mixing and ancillary equipment such as structural supports and platforms. 

With over 30 years of experience in conveyor system design, we understand the intricacies involved in handling and conveying products in all industries. Our design office will provide you with guidance and advice on the conveyor best suited for your conveying application.

Contact Us directly to discuss your bulk handling and processing requirements.

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