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bucket elevator engineering guide | elevate bulk materials vertically

bucket elevator engineering guide | elevate bulk materials vertically

One of the most efficient ways to elevate bulk materials vertically is with a bucket elevator. A Bucket Elevator consists of a series of buckets attached to a belt or chain with pulleys or sprockets located at the top and bottom of the unit. The buckets are located in a casing or housing to contain the material.

Bulk materials are loaded into each bucket as the bucket moves past an inlet point. KWS designs and manufactures a wide variety of bucket elevators based on the characteristics of the bulk material and the process requirements.

bucket elevators: the choice for vertical aggregate handling

bucket elevators: the choice for vertical aggregate handling

Vertical handling is a necessity in the aggregate industry, transporting material seamlessly throughout a processing facility despite the various heights at which it must be delivered. Throughout aggregate processing facilities, material is elevated for feeding weigh hoppers, loading rail cars, transporting material to various processing stages, and more.

While troughed inclined conveyors are often used for elevating applications, this type of conveyor requires a specific amount of floor space per rise in unit of elevation. The amount of space required is dependent upon the angle of lift, as shown in the diagram below.

Bucket elevators rest vertically on a base, rising straight up to the required height. This allows smaller facilities to vertically transport their material to greater heights with only a minimal ground footprint.

Dust is a common challenge among aggregate operations, particularly when it comes to handling and moving around materials. Depending on the material, fugitive dust may result in a hazardous work environment, premature equipment wear, or unacceptable product loss.

As a completely enclosed system, bucket elevators are ideal for handling dusty aggregates, containing dust and mitigating any associated issues. When looking to minimize fugitive dust, care should be taken to ensure the selected elevator is fully welded to prevent any points of escape. Dust pick-off points can be added to keep a slight negative pressure inside the casing, allowing dust to be extracted and collected, while minimizing dust within the elevator casing.

A number of materials fall into the aggregates category and bucket elevators can handle them all, though materials with a sticky quality should be avoided, as they can cause issues on discharge and with internal material buildup.

Due to the level of duty the equipment must endure, the aggregate industry generally demands a higher caliber of equipment. For this reason, its important to select a bucket elevator manufacturer with an understanding of the unique challenges that aggregates present; equipment should not only be built for reliability, but for longevity as well.

Continuous discharge bucket elevators operate at a slower speed and do not utilize a throwing action on aggregates. This elevator type is preferred when handling more fragile materials, or those that are prone to aeration.

Centrifugal discharge elevators move material at higher speeds. This elevator type uses centrifugal force to throw material from the buckets at discharge, while a digging action loads the elevators at the inlet.

Granular free-flowing materials are typically handled with centrifugal discharge elevators, because the material lends well to the digging action at loading, and efficiently discharges at the higher speed.

For most aggregate applications, the chain-type elevator is selected. When utilizing the chain type, higher capacities can be achieved by utilizing a double chain configuration over a single chain design.

The belt-style elevators are typically a less costly option, but are generally only suitable for free-flowing granular materials (almost all sand handling elevators are of the centrifugal discharge belt style).

Material temperature also factors into the choice between belt and chain type elevators. Standard belts are available for up to 200 F, with upgrades available for up to 400 F. Beyond this, belts are not usually recommended.

Aggregate size and the type of elevator chosen (centrifugal or continuous) also impact the choice of bucket style used (of which there are many). Elevator buckets are available in a variety of capacities and materials of construction to tailor bucket performance to the material being handled.

As an example, nylon buckets are frequently used for centrifugal discharge elevators handling sand, because of their wear and release properties (however, they are not necessarily a fit for high-temperature applications). Ductile iron is another common material of construction used with centrifugal discharge elevators.

Continuous discharge style elevators tend to use fabricated steel buckets, which are available in numerous sizes and plate thicknesses. Abrasion-resistant construction, wear lips, etc., can also be utilized.

The abrasivity of a material must also be factored into the design. Materials that are highly abrasive may require wear areas to be reinforced with additionally heavy-duty construction, or may require parts, or all of the unit, to be constructed from abrasion-resistant materials.

While in some cases, the selection of the proper bucket elevator configuration for a given aggregate may be clear, this is not always the case. With significant versatility and many different options available, bucket elevators provide the best handling solution possible when designed around the unique parameters of the specific application. This often requires expertise to define the optimal solution.

Bucket elevators provide an essential handling solution for high-capacity vertical conveying in the aggregate industry, particularly when spatial restrictions exist. Bucket elevators can offer improved vertical handling and valuable dust control, but should be designed around the given application, with aggregate size, capacity, and material abrasivity being critical design considerations.

FEECO has been a preferred supplier of custom bucket elevators for the aggregate industry since 1951. Our bucket elevators are designed to be robust and built to last. For more information, contact us today!

bucket elevators

bucket elevators

FEECO has been building custom bucket elevators for over 65 years. We offer a variety of bucket elevator designs and sizes to handle materials ranging from dry dusty powders such as fly ash, to heavy materials such as iron ore pellets. Bucket elevators can be ordered in a number of configurations, including centrifugal belt, centrifugal chain, continuous belt, continuous single chain and continuous double chain.

Centrifugal bucket elevators are chosen when there is a need to move large amounts of material quickly. Instead of direct loading, buckets serve as the loading apparatus, scooping material up from the boot or inlet section. For this reason, durable buckets should be selected with this design. Centrifugal force at the head pulley throws material from the buckets into the discharge chute. The buckets are spaced in wider intervals to prevent discharge interference from the preceding bucket and to assure maximum fill of the buckets at the boot end while moving at a higher speed. The design of this style yields optimized material fill and reduced interference between buckets.

Continuous bucket elevators are designed to handle friable, fragile materials to minimize product degradation or damage. They are also ideal for handling sluggish or abrasive materials. Continuous bucket elevators are also used to convey light, free-flowing matter where aeration of the material must be avoided.

Material is fed into the buckets from an inlet chute. Buckets are designed for gentle discharge; the buckets are closely spaced on the belt or chain to allow the material to flow over the backside of the preceding bucket, whose extended sides form a chute to guide the material into the discharge spout. Direct loading of the material, combined with the slow speed of this elevator type, avoids the throwing action associated with centrifugal style elevators, making it ideal for use with fragile materials.

Chain bucket elevators provide a higher-capacity, more durable handling option. They are best for jobs requiring rugged handling of large particles, or materials that are heated or have a potential for combustion.

All FEECO equipment and process systems can be outfitted with the latest in automation controls from Rockwell Automation. The unique combination of proprietary Rockwell Automation controls and software, combined with our extensive experience in process design and enhancements with hundreds of materials provides an unparalleled experience for customers seeking innovative process solutions and equipment.

Bucket elevators can handle a variety of materials, and therefore are used in many different industries and applications, though generally, they are not suited for wet, sticky materials, or materials that are stringy or tend to mat or agglomerate. They are frequently found in bulk material handling settings such as power plants, fertilizer plants, pulp & paper mills, and steel production facilities. Some of the most common materials for which bucket elevators are employed include:

Flexibility: Make sure the bucket elevator manufacturer is prepared to tailor the unit to the specific requirements of the material being handled, as well as any operational goals. This will ensure an efficient and reliable handling solution with long-term dependability.

Material Experience: Many bucket elevator manufacturers specialize in a specific industry. In choosing a manufacturer, ensure they have experience around the unique challenges of the material to be handled.

Aftermarket Support: Select a manufacturer that has the capabilities to service and maintain their equipment for a maximum return on investment. This includes provision of spare parts, training, installation assistance, and more.

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Image: The image above shows the scooping and throwing action of the centrifugal belt style elevator at left. At right, the more gentle feeding and discharge of the continuous belt style elevator is shown. Bucket Elevator Styles: The image above shows the scooping and throwing action of the centrifugal belt style elevator at left. At right, the more gentle feeding and discharge of the continuous belt style elevator is shown.

FEECOs bucket elevators are designed and fabricated to the highest quality standards. With over 65 years of experience, our equipment is especially valued in tough applications that require a high amount of ingenuity to achieve success.

4b plastic and steel elevator buckets and cups

4b plastic and steel elevator buckets and cups

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experiences with belt bucket elevators - accendo reliability

experiences with belt bucket elevators - accendo reliability

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