The challenges of conveying and processing dry material are often not readily apparent to processors when selecting bulk material handling equipment. The consideration of factors that are attributed to equipment size and selection focus on:

  • Bulk density
  • Minimum/maximum partial size
  • Particle properties
  • Environmental considerations – humidity, toxicity, ambient temperatures, shipping distance
  • Type of material – chemical, organic, inorganic, food-based, pharmaceutical or nutraceutical, or agricultural

These are just some of the foundational elements that must be considered when equipment is selected for conveying, feeding, unloading, and filling. Still, challenges arise when these are the only elements considered during the equipment design phase. Processors share in the frustration of dry material systems not meeting production capacity and struggle with material flow issues even though equipment is sized and rated for the specified elements listed above.

In gaseous and liquid systems, the state of the product conveyed or transported does not fluctuate much (assuming an absence of pressure drops). With bulk materials, this is not always the case. As an example, bulk density is not a constant figure. The same material can have varying bulk densities in different stages of production, causing flow rates to change and requiring adjustments to processing formulas. There have been numerous studies and articles that try to explain this dynamic, including our white paper Material Effect on Power Requirements for Screw Feeders. < link: http://hapman.com/white-paper-material-effect-on-power-requirements-for-screw-feeders >

Influence of Feed Material on the Performance of New Plants

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Studies also show that start-up systems for solid material handling typically only hit 40% of stated production rate in the first year.* This is a dramatic figure when considering the wide range of industries that process bulk solids. Food, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, chemical, building materials, and minerals processing are some of the industries challenged by the shear characteristics of the raw materials in their processes.

To overcome these challenges, best practices suggest performing a material analysis prior to purchasing a conveying system. Relying on an experienced vendor that understands and has tested the dynamic nature of bulk materials to guide equipment layout and options is a safeguard against experiencing pitfalls in expected output.

*source: Bell, 2005, Challenges in the Scale-up of Particulate Process – An Industrial Perspective, Powder Technology, 60-71

Hapman offers bulk material handling solutions for some of chemical processing’s biggest challenges:

  • Dusting
  • Segregation
  • Degradation
  • Batching inefficiencies
  • Precision and flow issues
  • Cleaning and sanitation problems

And those solutions have helped to create a full line of bulk material handling and conveyor equipment that you can use individually or as a system:

  • Helix® Flexible Screw Conveyors
  • Vacuum Pneumatic Conveyors
  • Tubular Drag Conveyors
  • Solidquid™ Systems
  • PosiPortion™ Feeders
  • LumpMaster® Lump Breakers
  • Bulk Bag Fillers
  • Bulk Bag Unloaders
  • Bag Dump Stations
  • Bag Compactors

If you are ready to improve the safety and efficiency of your bulk material handling process, contact us today. We’re ready to start.

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