Life would be lot easier for conveyor manufacturers if every application involved handling temperate products. Reality, however, is quite different – many conveying applications involve handling products that are either quite hot or cold. Successfully handling these products without either damaging the equipment or the product requires using conveyors that are specially engineered for the job. This blog looks at the challenges of vertically conveying products at extreme temperatures using continuous bucket elevators and shows how UniTrak tailors its equipment to successfully overcome these hurdles.
Continuous bucket elevators for low temperature products
Bucket elevators moving cryogenic materials, frozen foods, freeze dried coffee, etc., or which are installed in cold room environments or outdoors, have to deal with low temperature extremes.
Due to the frigid temperatures involved, handling cold temperature products can be particularly challenging as it imposes unique stresses on conveying equipment. The low temperatures can impose significant stresses on conveyor drive assemblies, as well as the equipment frame and lubrication system. Here is how TipTrak™ bucket elevators from UniTrak are engineered to deal with these low temperature challenges:
- Drive motors. Standard AC motors supplied on bucket elevators are usually only rated for temperatures down to -26°C (-15°F). For applications involving cold products or environments, TipTrak™ elevators are supplied with motors specially rated for cold temperature service.
- Drive assemblies. Bucket elevator drive assemblies generally consist of two types of drive chains: metal drive chains; and rubber drive chains, such as those found on TipTrak™ bucket elevators. In contrast to metal chains which can rust or become brittle in cold applications, the TipTrak™ rubber beltchain can be custom manufactured using elastomers that are formulated for cold temperature service.
- Buckets. TipTrak™ elevators for cold temperature service are supplied with interlocking plastic buckets and flexible joint strips (to prevent spillage) that are designed to withstand the low temperatures.
- Equipment options. Food grade applications sometimes involve the movement of frozen ingredients or products. For these situations, TipTrak™ units with washdown duty motors and Clean-In-Place (CIP) systems. Buckets, beltchains, and joint strips made from FDA-approved materials are also available.
- Reducer gear lubricant. Standard conveyor gear reducer lubricant is usually rated for a minimum temperature of -12°C (+10°F). TipTrak™ elevators can be supplied with low temperature lubricants which can handle temperatures down to -34°C (-30°F).
- Equipment frames. Cold temperature applications may cause condensation to deposit on the conveyor frame, potentially causing corrosion and rust. TipTrak™ equipment frames for cold temperature service are available in either stainless steel or carbon steel with a corrosion-inhibiting paint finish.
Continuous bucket elevators for high temperature products
Moving hot products in a bucket elevator requires that the conveyor be designed to be resistant to the effects of high temperatures. In particular, buckets and drive assembly components which are likely to come into direct contact with hot product must capable of withstanding the high heat transfer which will occur.
For applications involving hot products, TipTrak™ elevators are supplied with rubber beltchains, buckets, and flexible joint strips designed to support high temperature service. TipTrak™ rubber beltchains, buckets and joint strips for high temperature service will support application temperatures up to 200°C (390°F).
A further application requirement to consider when moving hot product through a bucket elevator is whether or not the product temperature should be maintained or lowered. If the former, a fully sealed elevator, such as the TipTrak™ Monocoque model, will help maintain the product temperature as it moves through the elevator. In cases where it is desired to dissipate the heat and cool the product as it transits the elevator, either a TipTrak™ Open Tube or enclosed PEC model with venting would be preferred.
TipTrak™ bucket elevators are available in a range of constructions, configurations, and capacities that will support almost any application. To find out more about TipTrak™ continuous bucket elevators for handling high and low temperature products, please contact our sales department for a review of your application and needs.