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Bulk Material Handling Conveyor Design Considerations

Material spillage is not only wasteful but also creates cleanup challenges. If your bulk material conveyor isn't suited for the job, you'll likely deal with these issues for an extended period. Designing a successful system poses numerous challenges, ranging from weight considerations to repose angles. Here's some guidance on what to factor in when specifying a bulk conveyor.

Bulk material handling conveyors transport rock, construction aggregate, ore, or powder between two points. These conveyors are pivotal, integrating with extraction, loading, or deposition operations. The characteristics of these processes define the material to be moved, the distance, and the rate. Only when these are clearly understood can work commence on designing a bulk material handling conveyor.

Understanding the Bulk Materials

Bulk density and repose angle are vital factors for sizing the conveyor in terms of width and feet per minute, alongside the target tons per hour. However, these figures alone aren't sufficient. It's imperative to grasp the material's characteristics, including:

These factors dictate the type of belt required, idler roller design, and the necessity for belt scrapers. While CEMA standards offer initial guidance on material properties, consider having your material analyzed before finalizing conveyor design details.

Belt Speed or Belt Width

Dust generation and spillage are directly proportional to belt speed. While faster belt speeds may seem economically advantageous, associated costs may outweigh the savings. Opting for a wider belt running at a slower pace could be a better option, except in confined spaces like mines where operational constraints apply.

Mobility Design

Considering relocating the conveyor in the future? Investing more upfront to extend its lifespan might be worthwhile. Although stacker and unloading conveyors are typically mobile, this may not always hold true for radial stacker conveyors and overland conveyors. However, these can be engineered for portability if specified at the project's outset.

Define the Environment

Environmental factors beyond weather conditions must be considered, such as:

Overland conveyors may span many miles and traverse varying terrain, necessitating elevated sections of structure, changes in belt direction, and addressing dust issues during design.

Review Loading and Unloading Requirements

Loading and unloading points require careful consideration. Material characteristics and target tonnage dictate belt loading and chute or rockbox size. Modeling material flow aids in optimizing the design. Additionally, assess the space available for loading zones, considering that ample space enables proper troughing before loading, thus enhancing belt life and minimizing spills.

Efficient Belt Cleaning

Insufficient belt cleaning leads to additional cleanup work and shorter belt life. Tailor cleaning efforts based on the nature of the bulk material being conveyed. Additionally, prioritize service and maintenance considerations during design to ensure accessibility to various components throughout the conveyor's life-cycle.

Engage With Experts

Bulk material handling conveyor design is intricate and requires experience to navigate potential pitfalls. Partnering with seasoned professionals, such as West River Conveyors, with decades of conveyor design expertise, ensures the development of a system that meets both immediate and long-term needs.

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