Granular Sugar Conveying Systems

April 25, 2017

In conveying applications, granular sugar can be considered as a difficult-to-handle material. If you have an application involving sugar, it is important to carefully consider your choice of conveying equipment – choosing the wrong equipment can have significant consequences.

Granular Sugar Conveying Systems: Challenges

As a material, granulated or pelletized sugar has the following handling characteristics. First, the material is abrasive, meaning that the conveying equipment has to be capable of withstanding the higher wear imposed on it by sugar granules or pellets.

Secondly, sugar is hygroscopic. This means that it readily absorbs moisture, causing the material particles to clump and lump. Thus, depending upon the equipment chosen, flow aids may be necessary to secure successful discharge from the conveyor and ensure a free-flowing supply of material.

Thirdly, sugar dust is highly combustible and explosive. Conveying equipment should be capable of preventing fugitive dust emissions and static build-up, while eliminating any possible source of ignition once the material is in the conveyor.

Granular Sugar Conveying Systems: Solutions

At UniTrak, we have several equipment options which have proven success in granular sugar conveying applications. These equipment solutions have been used in multiple installations globally to address the challenges associated with conveying sugar described above.

When moving volumes of granular sugar up to 115,000 pounds per hour in continuous operations, TipTrak™ bucket elevators are an preferred equipment choice. TipTrak™ conveyors feature fully interlocking bucket assemblies which all but eliminate product spillage. In addition, TipTrak™ Monocoque units with explosion-proof options feature a fully sealed, yet accessible, design which addresses the problems of fugitive dust emissions and explosion risk mitigation.

TipTrak™ bucket elevators can also be supplied with high-wear components which withstand the abrasive effects of conveying granular sugar. In addition, TipTrak™ units with metal detectable, high temperature, and anti-static conductive buckets can be supplied to resolve some of the challenges associated with handling sugar.

Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors are an excellent equipment choice for moving volumes up to 67,000 pounds per hour. The fully enclosed operation of an aeromechanical conveyor minimizes product dusting, while the high velocity airstream leaves little residual material in the conveyor, providing it is run until empty.

UniFlex flexible screw conveyors are a good choice for intermittent or batch-type operations involving the handling of granular sugar. These simple-to-operate and easy-to-clean conveyors can be supplied with a hopper to permit easy feeding from bags or sacks.

Finally, many operations which handle or process granular sugar receive their input material in FIBC’s (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, or “super-sacks”). Bagstander bulk bag unloaders from UniTrak offer a safe and effective way to discharge sugar supplied in FIBC’s.
Bagstander bulk bag dischargers are supplied with a dust collection port which allows ready connection of the Bagstander to your facility’s dust collection system. Dust and fines which are produced in the Bagstander’s discharge chute during bag emptying are then collected, reducing fugitive dust emissions.

In addition, each Bagstander comes equipped with an aluminum body valve (iris valve), with polyurethane-coated nylon diaphragm, that allows product to flow from the bag without the operator ever coming into contact with the product. The iris valve permits the operator to undertake a controlled release of product once the bag is in position and fully opened, thus preventing accidental spillage and dusting of material.

A Bagstander unit can be easily combined with a TipTrak™ bucket elevator, a UniFlex flexible screw conveyor or Powderflight aeromechanical conveyor to create an integrated and cost-effective material handling system. These integrated systems allow users to easily transfer the material discharged from bags either directly or indirectly into the production process.

To find out more about how UniTrak can help with your granular sugar conveying needs, please contact our sales department.

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