Pete Lien and Sons, Inc. produces hydrated lime at the LaPorte plant near Fort Collins, CO. Hydrated Lime is produced by hydrating quicklime. Quicklime is calcium oxide (CaO) and is produced by burning or calcining limestone (calcium carbonate) in a kiln at 2,000-degrees F. Hydrated lime can be used in water treatment, soil amendment processing, and many other environmental applications. As part of the bulk material handling process, bucket elevators are used to elevate hydrated lime to storage silos and to various areas of the process. Pete Lien and Sons had been having problems with several bucket elevators, in particular the boot sections were corroding and wearing out prematurely. Also, the spring-tension take-ups used to keep tension on the elevator chain were not functioning properly. KWS was contacted by Pete Lien and Sons to help resolve the problems and was able to supply a cost-effective and practically maintenance-free solution.
Engineers from KWS made several site visits to Pete Lien and Sons and worked closely with the sales manager at Rocky Mountain Supply, a DXP Company, to determine the correct solution for the bucket elevator boot section in question. The KWS engineers took field measurements of the existing boot section and created a CAD model using Autodesk Inventor 3D. The CAD model was used for verification of the field measurements. The existing boot section utilized a spring-tension take-up with external bearings and seals. Pete Lien and Sons requested that KWS provide a superior take-up arrangement that would minimize maintenance and downtime. KWS offered an internal gravity take-up with a completely sealed boot section. The new boot section would eliminate any leakage of hydrated lime and reduce almost all maintenance. With many years of experience in the field, the KWS engineers were able to determine the exact weight required for the internal gravity take-up to keep proper tension on the chain while not exceeding the load rating of the chain.
KWS designed and manufactured a heavy duty bucket elevator boot with an internal gravity take-up. Hydrated lime is a very fine bulk material and was leaking through the shaft seals of the existing bucket elevator causing maintenance and operational problems. The hydrated lime was contaminating the external bearings and take-up springs causing failure. KWS made the boot section completely dust-tight. As part of the internal gravity take-up, hard iron bearings were located inside the boot section to support the tail sprocket and shaft. The internal gravity take-up was weighted to provide tension on the elevator chain. The internal gravity take-up allowed Pete Lien and Sons to completely eliminate the need for the spring compression take-up. All unwanted leakage, bearing failures and downtime were eliminated. The internal components of the new boot section were constructed from heavy wear-resistant steel for longer life. Lifting lugs were added to the new boot section for easy installation along with bolted, dust tight, OSHA approved inspection doors for access to the inside of the boot section.
Top Take-up U Series elevators are constructed with the take-up system in the head casing rather than the boot. This design allows for a curved bottom boot to reduce product build up and offers a better seal for fine and dusty materials.
Fine materials, such as sugar, salt, or flour, are known for being difficult to handle due to the dust and the ability to wear out bearings in the take-up area. That is why Universal Industries, Inc. engineered the Top Take-up Series.
The Top Take-up U Series is offered in three different sizes that each have a range of capacities in order to hit your speed, and footprint requirements. Available in powder coated carbon, stainless, or galvanized steel with buckets available in HDPE, carbon steel, nylon and urethane.
Since 1906, Universal Industries, Inc. has been striving to manufacture quality & reliable equipment serving the bulk material handling industry. Our decades of knowledge and experience in the industry has allowed us to design and engineer products that create significant value for our customers.
Universal Industries, Inc. designs and manufactures bucket elevators / grain legs, slider belt conveyors, idler bed conveyors, continuous cup elevators, and grain & commodities equipment that is suitable for a wide variety of industries and materials.
When installing a bucket elevator, it is important to remember that this is a vital piece of equipment in the process flow, requiring attention to detail during installation. Improper installation can lead to inefficiencies, equipment malfunction, and premature wear. Through decades of experience, FEECO has developed a set of guidelines to ensure each elevator gets assembled and installed properly. Before reviewing these steps, however, its necessary to understand the anatomy of the equipment.
The head assembly is the driving force of the elevator. The assembly includes the drive motor, gear reducer, head pulley, roller bearings, discharge chute, and throat plate. This sub-assembly is always the last to be installed, yet, it is important to ensure that the discharge chute is positioned correctly. The top section of the guard is removed after all of the components are installed for installing the bucket and belt/chain assembly.
The intermediate assembly is basically a simple shroud used to guard the span between the head and boot assemblies. On most elevators, several intermediate assemblies exist and all are identical. Each assembly consists of four structural corner supports for rigidity, as well as heavy-duty bolt flanges for proper alignment of each component. This design allows for custom heights and an extremely durable piece of equipment.
The boot assembly is crucial in the installation process; it is the first component installed and requires the most amount of attention. This assembly includes the take-up (belt/chain tension adjustment), boot pulley, roller bearings, and inlet chute (throat plate may be required on continuous style elevators). Designed with additional structural supports, the boot assembly is engineered to double as the base mounting point for the elevator. This assembly is also equipped with removable access panels and doors for initial adjustment, as well as routine maintenance.
The bucket and chain assembly is an option that comes on either centrifugal or continuous style elevators. Each bucket mounts to the chain in its corresponding mounting holes and is fastened together with the specified hardware.
The bucket and belt assembly is an option that comes on either centrifugal or continuous style elevators. Each bucket mounts to the belt in its corresponding mounting holes and is fastened together with the specified hardware.
Disclaimer: While the text below provides a general overview on installing elevator components, installation should only be performed under the supervision of a FEECO Service Engineer. The service engineer is a trained professional that will ensure all components are assembled and operating correctly. Installation of the equipment without a FEECO service professional on site could result in improperly installed or damaged equipment, and may even void the manufacturer warranty. The service engineers at FEECO are also trained and certified in the appropriate safety procedures, which must always be followed when installing a bucket elevator.
At FEECO, we take pride in how our equipment is designed, manufactured, and installed. It is important that we ensure our equipment is assembled correctly and operating at its full potential. While we have provided a general installation guide above, it is for this reason that a FEECO service engineer should always be present to oversee the installation and initial startup of each bucket elevator. For more information, or to schedule a service engineer for an on-site installation, contact our service department today.
These functions are accomplished by maintaining alignment of the two bearings supporting the tail pulley. This position is generally horizontal and 90 degrees to the belt centerline. Each bearing is mounted on a slide and attached to a hydraulic cylinder. One cylinder is Reference and one cylinder is Follow-up which is interlocked with the Reference cylinder.
The hydraulic system is also electrically interlocked to the starter of the bucket elevator or conveyor. When the starter button is pushed, the hydraulic system is activated. The preset hydraulic system cylinder pressure applies a downward force on the pulley. The downward force is calculated to provide enough tension in the belt to prevent slippage between the belt and the drive pulley. When the preset tension is reached, the bucket elevator or conveyor starts.
If bearing misalignment occurs, it is transmitted from the bearings, through a rope and sheave arrangement to a sensing pin attached to a servo control valve. When the bucket elevator or conveyor is loaded with product, the belt will stretch and the belt pulley moves. Since the system maintains constant hydraulic pressure, the Reference cylinder compensates for this movement by taking up the slack. The control valve is actuated and sends a hydraulic flow, proportional to the error, to the Follow-up cylinder. The Follow-up cylinder then moves in the required direction until the alignment of the bearings is reached.
This same sequence occurs when an abnormal load is applied to one side of the belt, causing the belt to shift. The belt shift produces unequal tension on the bearings and misalignment occurs. The Synchro Take-up/Belt Training System automatically compensates, equalizes the tension on both bearings and thereby centers the belt. Corrections are smooth, fast and proportional to any bearing movement.
The Synchro Take-up/Belt Training System can easily be incorporated into any existing installation and can be supplied as a pull or push system depending on space allocations. In the pull system, the hydraulic cylinders pull the pulley through a chain and sprocket drive attached to the take-up bearings. In the push system, the hydraulic cylinders are attached to the take-up slide above the bearing, pushing the take-up in a downward or horizontal motion.
Regular cleaning should be performed to ensure material build-up is continually removed. It is especially important to clean out the boot after each use if the elevator is used seasonally. The equipment should also be operated for a short period of time every two weeks to ensure belt flexibility is maintained.
There are four lubrication points on FEECO bucket elevators: two head bearings and two boot take-up bearings. Each lubrication point must be serviced at least once a week under normal operating conditions. Recommended bearing lubricants are based on standard operating temperatures and can be found in the bucket elevator equipment manual. Refer to the manufacturers recommended maintenance and lubrication procedures for more information.
Although the chain drive is splash lubricated, the chain drives oil level must be checked at the start of each operating shift. This can be visually monitored using the sight gauge (located on the side of the drive guard). If the oil level is low, fill the supply to the required level. Refer to the bucket elevator manual for lubricant recommendations.
Periodically inspect the oil for signs of contaminants. Drain, flush, and refill the oil supply if contaminants are present. Additionally, the chain should be soaked in a nonflammable solution to remove particles, dirt, or water from inside the bushings, rollers, and sidebars. The sprockets should also be cleaned. Both the chain and sprockets should be dried using compressed air. Replace either component if the chain or sprockets show signs of excessive wear or damage.
Periodically inspect the sprockets and drive chain for signs of wear or damage. The best way to effectively examine the component is to remove the upper drive guard and slowly rotate the sprockets and chain to inspect the component for issues.
The sprocket alignment, shaft alignment, and chain slack should also be checked to ensure the proper drive alignment is being maintained. Refer to the bucket elevator manual for more information on this procedure.
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