Conveying Agricultural Chemicals

June 7, 2018

Agricultural chemicals (“agrochemicals”, for short) consist of fertilizers, fumigants, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, and plant growth regulators. Agrochemicals are an important part of modern agriculture worldwide. According to Statista, the projected value of the global agrochemical market in 2020 will be 250.5 billion USD. In this blog, we examine some of the issues associated with conveying agricultural chemicals.

Agrochemical products help ensure a safe food supply to sustain the world’s growing population. Properly applied, these chemicals prevent/control diseases or pests harmful to crops, including fungi, nematodes, insects, rodents, etc., or inhibit/promote plant growth or germination rates.

Agricultural chemicals are manufactured and supplied in various concentrations and forms, including liquids, powders, granules and pellets, etc. Companies involved in the manufacture of agricultural chemicals often use conveyors to move materials through their production processes.

Conveying agricultural chemicals: challenges

Agrochemicals in powder, granular, or pellet form are often harsh and aggressive in nature, being caustic, corrosive, or hazardous to health if inhaled or ingested. Some agrochemicals are also potentially explosive, meaning that any conveying equipment used for handling these materials should be explosion-safe. To ensure proper dosing and effectiveness in the field, pelletized product requires movement by conveyors that are capable of handling product gently to avoid particle attrition or breakage.  Finally, because many solid agrochemicals are blended mixtures, conveyors should be capable of moving mixed materials without any blend separation or degradation.

Conveying agricultural chemicals: equipment solutions

UniTrak offers the following equipment solutions for effectively and safely conveying agricultural chemicals:

  • TipTrak™ bucket elevators. Ideal for moving large amounts of material vertically and horizontally, TipTrak™ bucket elevators offer gentle handling and spillage-free operation. For applications involving the conveying of harsh agricultural chemicals, corrosion-resistant equipment frames, buckets, and rubber beltchains reinforced with pre-stretched steel aircraft cables are available. Where toxic or explosive materials are being handled, fully-sealed TipTrak™ Monocoque units provide completely contained, explosion-proof operation. Finally, TipTrak™ units assure the integrity of blends and mixtures – what goes in to the conveyor is what comes out, with no separation of blend ingredients.
  • Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors. Sometimes known as “rope and disc” conveyors, or by the acronym “AMC”, aeromechanical units consist of a fully enclosed tube in which a series of disks attached to a continuous wire rope travels at high speed, creating a high-velocity airstream. This airstream draws material into and through the conveyor, allowing the conveyor to closely mimic pneumatic conveyors with this mode of operation.

Aeromechanical conveyors are a good choice for moving solid agrochemicals in singular or mixed form. These conveyors contain toxic and explosive dusts and avoid the particle attrition or blend separation often encountered with other conveying modalities. Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors can be connected to and fed from a variety of sources, including bins, hoppers and silos, mixers and blenders, and bulk bag dischargers and fillers.

  • UniFlex flexible screw conveyors. For applications where particle attrition and blend separation are not key requirements, UniFlex flexible screw conveyors offer and economical conveying solutions, and are a proven equipment choice for intermittent or batch-type production environments. These conveyors can be used to feed agrochemical bulk solid ingredients to the blending or mixing processes. UniFlex conveyors occupy a small footprint and can be quickly disassembled for easy cleaning and fast turnaround.

With over 50-years’ experience in helping companies worldwide solve their bulk materials handling challenges, UniTrak has the equipment to convey agrochemical product. To find out more about how we can service your application, please contact our sales team.

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