Over 50 years of experience has equipped us with the knowledge and expertise to be able to offer advice and solutions for any aspect of bulk materials handling across a wide range of industries and a diverse assortment of materials.
Bucket Elevators are a simple but effective method of elevating free flowing and semi-free flowing bulk materials. Their inherent simplicity makes them a popular choice for bulk material handling and processing applications. Guttridge bucket elevators operate across the world in a wide variety of markets, from grains, feeds and foods to oilseeds, biomass, waste and minerals.
Guttridge bucket elevators are capable of handling most free flowing materials as well as many materials with poor flow characteristics. The specification of the Guttridge standard range of bucket elevators is also easily tailored to suit:
With continuous bucket elevators (or bucket conveyors as they are often called), the term Carryback is used to describe the incomplete emptying and discharge of material from the buckets. Incomplete emptying of buckets results in material remaining in the bucket following discharge and being carried back through the elevator. Carryback material eventually deposits on ledges and surfaces within the conveyor frame, while traces may also remain in the buckets. Accumulation of the material within the conveyor frame can lead to potential mechanical problems such as off-tracking or in severe cases damage to the buckets or other components.
Addressing carryback, when it occurs, requires first determining the cause. When buckets do not discharge completely, and material is being carried back through the elevator, it could be due to the following reasons:
The material being moved has a tendency to cake and pack once loaded into the elevator buckets. When handling these types of materials, it is not uncommon for some residual material which has become caked or packed to remain within a bucket following discharge.
Different bucket plastic materials can be selected to provide the best product release properties while still maintaining other requirements such as conductivity, extreme temperature or abrasion resistance.
When handling materials which are prone to accumulating a static charge, causing it to adhere to the buckets, consider using elevators with fully conductive bucket assemblies. Conductive bucket assemblies help discharge static, allowing material to fully release from the buckets.
Applicable flow aids such as a bucket discharge assist device (bucket thumper or bucket knocker), whose pendulum mechanically impacts each bucket at discharge, thereby loosening material and directing it back into the discharge flow of the elevator.
As with any equipment, routine inspections are required. As most Bucket elevators are fully enclosed for safety reasons; Inspection windows, doors and removable cover panels in strategic locations allow your maintenance personnel to perform these routine inspections and provide the necessary access for cleaning.
Clean-out drawers are also available to allow for some accumulation of the carryback material which can then be easily emptied. The above tips will help to troubleshoot bucket elevator carryback when it occurs. Implementing many of these solutions onto an existing installation will likely require retrofit assistance from the OEM who supplied the elevator. However, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Reducing bucket elevator carryback requires working with equipment suppliers who have the know-how and equipment solutions to properly address the issues and reduce the frequency thereby preventing serious issue from happening in the future.
At UniTrak, we have over 45 years experience in helping customers to move even the most difficult-handle materials effectively and efficiently.TipTrakTMbucket elevatorsfrom UniTrak have design features and options to successfully prevent and address bucket elevator carryback. In every project requiring a bucket elevator, we carefully review the application requirements and, where appropriate, conduct material tests to determine the risk of carryback occurring. From there, we propose an equipment solution which includes specific options to prevent carryback. These options may include the provision of buckets especially designed to prevent material adherence and the inclusion of suitable flow aids where needed.
Continuous bucket elevators are widely used in many facilities to transport bulk solids. While a well-designed continuous bucket elevator is an effective means of material transport, there are factors which can degrade the overall efficiency of a unit. In this blog, we highlight four signs of bucket elevator inefficiency, whose causes, if not addressed, can seriously compromise equipment performance.
A critical, but often overlooked aspect of bucket elevator design and operation is considering how the equipment will be fed. Failure to control and regulate the feed of material into the elevator can result in product losses and damage, as well as reduced throughput. Common causes of infeed losses include the following:
Reducing the running speed of a continuous bucket elevator below the designed or planned rate is often a response to other problems, such as the infeed problems described above. Reduced speed may also be necessary when the elevator spills or damages product when running at the planned rate, or when downstream equipment is unable to accept all product from the elevator when it runs at the planned rate. The solution in all cases is to investigate and correct the root cause of the problem so that the elevator may be run at the planned rate.
Reduced yield can take several forms. First, the quantity of product that the elevator delivers to downstream equipment may be lessened through losses from spillage, failure of some product to discharge from the buckets, etc. Secondly, the quality of product delivered by the elevator may be compromised as it moves through the equipment. Both types of losses, quantity and/or quality, represent yield losses.
For the first case, addressing the causes of spillage or failure of material to discharge will improve the quantity of product delivered by the elevator. Material spillage can be a function of equipment design as well as operating procedure. For example, continuous bucket elevators designed with interlocking buckets, as opposed to those which merely overlap, will always be more effective at preventing spillage. In addition, overfilling the buckets, either by presenting material to the elevator at too fast rate or running the elevator at too slow a speed, can result in material spillage. The solution in either case is to effect the necessary adjustments to material feed rates and/or the run speed to achieve the optimal bucket fill.
Failure of material to fully discharge from the elevator buckets can be addressed through the use of discharge aids, such as bucket knockers, which are designed to dislodge material from the elevator buckets at the point of discharge. In addition, conveying materials which are inherently sticky and which have a propensity to adhere to the bucket surfaces may require the use of buckets with Teflon-coated or dimpled surfaces.
Quality degradation often manifests itself through particle attrition or breakage. The solution in this case is to use an elevator designed for high-care conveying and which is capable of gentle handling. This will prevent particle attrition or breakage and ensure that what goes into the elevator is what comes out.
Unplanned equipment downtime due to parts failure can seriously erode the operating efficiency of a continuous bucket elevator. While you may never entirely prevent the occurrence of unplanned downtime, there are certain steps that one can take to minimize the impact of such events when they do occur. These include the following:
UniTrak manufactures the TipTrak line of continuous bucket elevators. These elevators are renowned for their high reliability and gentle handling. To find out more about the TipTrak line of continuous bucket elevators, please contact our sales team directly.
Adding a bucket elevator to your warehouse is an excellent way to boost productivity and cut down on injury potential with your employees. However, selecting a bucket elevator is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are a number of options available, so you need to determine whichbucket elevator designstyle is right for your company needs. By going through the following steps youll identify crucial variants within your design process. This way, youll be able to better select abucket elevator designperfect for your business.
When you are considering abucket elevator designyou need to look at the different build methods and what you are doing to use the elevator for within your place of business. All of this will play a role in the eventual final design of your elevator.
From here, youll need to look at the overall makeup of the material youre using the elevator for. What is the overall weight of the material? Can you alter the weight or is it one, large object, so the weight will remain constant? Is there any moisture involved with the material, or is there a texture that might need a slick hoisting material on the elevator to make sure it doesnt slip off? The more you know about the material(s) youll be using the elevator for the easier it will be to design an appropriate device.
Next, youll want to consider how fast the elevator needs to move or how often youll be using it. And beyond the materials being moved, what about the space around the elevator? What kind of warehouse footprint are you looking at remaining in? Does it need to fit inside a small six-foot by six-foot square space? Or is there a bit more wiggle room? You dont want to order a bucket elevator and then discover it is not going to fit.
Lastly, is the operating going to be continuous, or will it only be used a few times during the day? Will it be used inside of a building with controlled temperatures, or does it need to go outside for exterior work where the weather elements are not as easily controlled?
Now that youve considered what youre going to be using the bucket elevator for, what youll be putting on the elevator and where youll be using the elevator, you need to consider the make of the elevator itself.
First, how tall and wide do you need it to be? Do you need to lift the materials up an additional ten feet? Or maybe you need the elevator to lift higher? Perhaps you have rafters above the regular work floor that is used to house excess gear and it is important to be able to lift the stored items up to these rafters. Youll need to know these measurements as it will help with the design.
Do you want the elevator to be open, fully sealed (so it feels more like a traditional elevator), or should it be just partially enclosed? Does there need to be some kind of airflow, or will the fully enclosed design be okay? There are some materials you dont want to fully enclose as it needs air ventilation.
It is okay if you do not know all of these specifics right away. Sometimes you might not fully know what kind of drive system will work best or how fast you need the elevator to rise and decline. The staff at Gough Econ, Inc. can help walk you through the design process. They will know how to best determine the kind of equipment and elevator specifics you need.
There are a number of configuration and movement variants youll need to consider. Elevators do not simply move directly up and directly down. You may want the elevator to move along an incline and down along a decline. Perhaps it is designed to work along stairs and there is a set incline it needs to follow. You may need the elevator to work along a stair step design. This is a design possibility, or you might need the elevator to travel along a floor and then lower down to the basement or a lower level. With a bucket elevator you are not required to have a simple up and down movement. After all, sometimes you need your bucket elevator to move in more than just a 90-degree angle.
With these configuration variants you can work with Gough Econ, Inc in determining these variations. As long as you do this youll be able to properly customize your elevator in order to bet improve productivity and safety within your production facility or warehouse.
Of course, if youre not fully sure on the configuration or shape of movement you will need dont worry. The sales engineers will work with you in going over your current facility blueprints and helping you decide where the elevators will work best.
By following these steps youll have a better understanding of how to find the rightbucket elevator designfor your business. However, you may still have questions. If you do, or if you are ready to place a bucket elevator order, a sales engineer is on hand at Gough Econ, Inc. to assist. Whatever assistance you might need, you can email or call Gough Econ at your convenience. So, if youre ready to take the next step in your warehouse or manufacturing plant production, yourbucket elevator designis just a single email or phone call away.
Leeds, United Kingdom Periodic inspections of bucket elevators should be an essential part of any maintenance program. Often it is helpful to conduct these with a trusted vendor who can provide insight into solutions that go beyond just part replacement. The following are examples of common issues found during bucket elevator inspection programs conducted by 4B Components USA. This paper will provide suggestions on what to look for and explain the consequences of each issue.
The rubber surface on this head pulleys slide lagging has worn away and also a section of the lagging has come loose and is in danger of scraping the casing which can create heat and sparks. In addition, the reduced contact between the pulley surface and the belt can cause the belt to slip under load which will also lead to heat. Either of these heat sources could ignite a dust cloud inside the elevator, resulting in an explosion. Finally, if a perforation is worn into the casing dust can escape, and an extensive hot work repair will be required.
To help with early indication of these types of issues the installation of a speed switch on the tail shaft can sound an alarm and provide automatic shutdown before a dangerous belt split condition persists. Also a correctly positioned misalignment switch can detect a misaligned belt, a misaligned pulley or a piece of lagging that has come loose. These sensors can both alarm or shut down the bucket elevator so that corrective repairs can take place.
No matter the precautions taken, tramp material such as rocks, metal wrenches and wood boards can find their way into bucket elevators. The impact of these foreign objects in the product stream takes a toll and can result in broken buckets. Impacts can also knock buckets loose from the belt, diminishing throughput and could actually cause a plug condition. Screens and magnets located at the inlet can help capture tramp material before it enters the elevator. And plug sensors can help to detect a blocked chute. Also, heavier duty elevator buckets with stronger front lips can withstand more impact than lighter duty.
Aside from broken buckets, prematurely worn buckets can diminish throughput and make discharge inefficient. Another consequence could be early discharge resulting in material falling back down the upside of the elevator leg also known as back-legging. Back-legging just adds to the problem of premature wear because additional material ends up in the boot and the buckets must dig through it, wearing them further. Causes of this type could include an under tensioned belt, improper belt speed, excessive digging or material buildup in the boot, or the wrong style of elevator bucket being installed.
If the material being elevated is too abrasive for the bucket resin being used, employing digger buckets or changing to nylon or polyurethane buckets may help. 4B Components engineering group can assist with these issues along with any corrections to the elevator leg design, belt speed and bucket spacing.
The head sprocket on this continuous discharge chain bucket elevator came loose from the shaft because the set screw in the keyway failed. The sprocket wandered and the buckets eventually scraped the casing. Here again is metal-on-metal friction. Aside from wearing the buckets prematurely, this friction is a heat source that could lead to a dust explosion.
The installation of an extended range proximity switch on each side of the leg casing can sound an alarm when the chain moves over and can automatically shut down the elevator if the condition persists.
In a similar continuous chain bucket elevator, the chain barrels are starting to flatten as can be seen circled in the image to the right. This indicates possible chain stretch and / or improper meshing with the sprockets. The chain is wearing prematurely, or stretching, and impeding the efficient function of the entire system.
Periodically inspect the chain barrels and chain for excessive wear, cuts, grooves, or flat spots. Chain barrel wear results in hooked sprocket teeth which accelerates chain wear so it is important to also inspect the sprockets.
The nuts and lock washers that secure elevator bolt fastening systems can come loose. In attention during installation and the constant vibrations of the elevator can work these items loose. This is the reason equipment manufacturers recommend the regular tightening of elevator bolts throughout the life of the bucket elevator. No one wants an elevator bucket to become detached and cause damage.
One solution to this problem is the use of fanged style elevator bolts in conjunction with a nylon insert lock nut (nylock). The fangs bite into the belt cover and prevent the bolt from rotating as a nylock nut is applied. Once in place, it is less likely that the nylock nut will back off due to system vibration. Another solution is the installation of an EASIFIT Elevator bolt. These specialty bolts incorporate a hex at the end of the bolt which locates into a special tool in order to stop the bolt from turning when a Nylock nut is installed.
In this article we have shared six common problems identified during 4B bucket elevator inspections. Many other issues can arise and our team of bucket elevator specialists is qualified to inspect and provide solutions to help bring your bucket elevator back to its optimum performance. Contact us to book your bucket elevator inspection.
Acmon Systems is an engineering company with manufacturing excellence specializing in the field of Bulk material Handling solutions in a wide range of industry sectors. Acmon Systems is a member of Acmon Group, and thisvideo helps you understand Acmon Groups philosophy, actions, projects in 2 minutes! Continue reading
Bethlehem (PA), United States SMART ELBOWDeflection Elbow from HammerTekends formation of streamers, angel hair and snake skins by eliminating impact and frictional heat caused by conventional elbows conveying pelletized resins and compounds when pellets skid against the outside radius of the elbows creating friction and heat, melting pellet surfaces, forming streamers and causing downstream quality problems.
You run a tight ship. You do everything in your power to manufacture and ship the best material possible. You take care of your employees, monitor safety, and invest in their overall wellbeing. This means you also take care of your equipment. After all, the only way to send out quality products and to take care of your employees is to take care of your equipment. If you have a bucket elevator you will need to clean it from time to time. Even if youre moving plastics and metals or have a medical-grade HVAC system in your production facility the bucket elevator will become dirty. If youve only recently upgraded to include a bucket elevator in your manufacturing plant, you may not know exactly the best way to do this. No worries, as weve got you covered.
The material used in a bucket elevator isnt all that different from other kinds of conveyor belts and assembly line aspects within your production facility. The main difference is the bucket design. The buckets do not have as much room for you to access inside of the bucket. And if the buckets are on the deeper side it may prove especially difficult to reach in there and clean. Even the easiest-to-clean bucket elevator conveyors are, at the very least, time-consuming. So, if youre new to the world of elevator buckets or if youre just now considering the installation of one within your facility do note youll need to devote extra time to the cleaning of it. But dont worry, it isnt as daunting of a task as you might think. At least thats the case if you invest in a bucket elevator from our team here at Gough Econ. While learning how to clean a bucket elevator you must take care of some things, such as mentioned below:
Before deciding on the best way to go about cleaning your bucket elevator, you need to consider what youre using your bucket elevator. If you are using it to move non-food materials, you will have a few additional cleaning options. If you are using the elevator to move food, including everything from pet food to produce, youll need to use food-safe cleaning options to ensure there is no cross-contamination. If you have other cleaning equipment you use on other areas of the production floor, and different conveyor belts within the transportation set up in your plant, you will be able to use these same materials on your bucket elevators.
First, you need to schedule a time where you can perform routine cleaning. You should perform a deep clean several times a year and then you can perform some basic cleaning in between, although it will depend on what you use the elevator buckets for. You should take this time to inspect the elevator buckets and replace anything that is damaged or looks like it is deteriorating. General upkeep will help extend the life of your bucket elevator and reduce any unexpected downtime.
With a scheduled downtime, you should then remove the buckets from the elevator. Dont try to clean the buckets while still attached as this opens up the possibility of injuries, not to mention it is easy to miss debris within the elevators, or to leave access cleaning solution within the buckets, which then might cause damage to the materials you place inside of the buckets during production. Once you have all the buckets removed, you can easily clean the buckets and inspect the rest of the elevator equipment.
To start with how to clean a bucket elevator, first, the easiest method and one you might want to consider for general cleaning (such as in between when you deep clean the buckets) is with alcohol wipes. An alcohol wipe is easy to do and will help remove just about all debris and gunk that has built up in the buckets. Alcohol will also help cut through grease that may have started to collect.
For a more extensive cleaning you will want to consider a hygienic cleaning solution. While the bucket cleaning via hand wiped alcohol is one option, a hygienic cleaning uses an industrial washing machine to really get in there and remove debris. This also works well if it has been some time since the last full cleaning. However, keep in mind that if you use the buckets for foodstuff, you likely will not be able to use a hygienic cleaning method on your buckets. Instead, you may be able to perform a steam cleaning. Steam clean is helpful if you dont have the kind of downtime necessary to dry the buckets completely. Steam cleaning isnt as thorough as wet cleaning, but it is a good option if you use foodstuff or in between your deep cleaning sessions, and you need something quick yet generally effective.
If youre short on time, you can always spot clean with the vacuum and compressed air method. This isnt the best option when you want a thorough cleaning, but it should work in a pinch, especially if you dont have a ton of downtime to work with.
If you dont have a ton of downtime in between shifts and stopping everything to clean your buckets isnt an option, you should consider investing in dual buckets. This way, you can remove all the current buckets and then swap clean buckets in. With the dirty buckets removed, you can clean them without any kind of a rush.
It doesnt matter if youre just starting with bucket elevators or youve been using the equipment for some time now; our staff is here to help you with all of your bucket elevator needs. From cleaning to new equipment, weve got you covered. And this is exactly how to clean a bucket elevator.
Venting an elevator bucket aids in bucket fill and discharge with light, fluffy materials. Lightweight, fluffy materials, and those that are extremely dense or flow poorly can be difficult to handle in bucket elevators at high speeds. Because these materials tend to trap air when being handled by an elevator bucket, it is necessary to provide air relief to assist in their filling and discharge. Materials in this category might be various flours, meals, feed mash or screenings. As these materials enter the bucket, air is released through a series of vent holes in the bottom of the bucket allowing for a more complete fill. These vent holes also allow air to re-enter the bucket, which facilitates full release of product into the discharge. Standard hole diameter is equal to the size of the bolt mounting holes. Anything different is considered a custom vent.
A venting bucket can improve the efficiency of some bucket elevators when handling certain products. On dense materials such as lour, meals, and mash feeds, the vents allow air to escape through the cup as it fills, which permits the cup to fill more completely. During discharge, air can return through the cups as it empties, thus preventing a vacuum that could hold some of the products in the cup and cause back-legging.
On extremely light materials such as alfalfa meal, screenings and bran, a vented bucket not only minimizes blowing of the product during loading and discharge, but also reduces air turbulence in the leg as the bucket travels empty down the return side of the elevator. A reduction in air currents minimizes the vacuum which can draw a light product through the down leg and back to the boot.