Selecting a Bucket Elevator Design

April 6, 2017

A variety of bucket elevator designs are available in the marketplace. How do you determine which design is right for your application? This blog looks at how bucket elevators are designed and how to choose the design that is right for your needs.

“Bucket elevator design” is a broad term that can be broken down into two components: the design itself; and the configuration of the equipment. “Design” in this context refers to the plan for how an elevator will be constructed to meet a particular application’s requirements. “Configuration”, on the other hand, refers to how the elevator’s infeed, vertical, and discharge sections are arranged so that the equipment can fit into the production process.

Bucket Elevator Design

Most bucket elevators are designed with a particular application in mind. While many bucket elevator manufacturers have designs for each model they offer, the very best manufacturers fully tailor their designs to meet each customer’s application needs. To execute this customized design process, an elevator manufacturer will want to know things like:
• The type of material being moved (i.e., powder, pellets, flakes, etc.)
• The properties of the material being moved (i.e., the material bulk density, weight, moisture content, texture, size, etc.)
• The characteristics of the material being moved (i.e., whether it is free-flowing, sticky, abrasive, explosive, toxic, etc.)
• The desired throughput rate
• The process configuration and footprint into which the elevator must fit
• The upstream equipment that will feed the elevator and the downstream equipment into which the elevator will discharge
• The operating conditions (i.e., continuous service, intermittent service, etc.) and environment (i.e., indoors/outdoors, high/cold temperature, etc.)
• Any applicable regulatory requirements
• Special requirements (i.e., washdown service, etc.)

These essential inputs to the design process are critical for determining final design elements, such as the following:
• The size of elevator that is required
• Whether an open, enclosed, or fully sealed design is required
• The drive system and buckets that are needed to achieve the desired throughput rate
• The type of buckets to employ to successfully handle the material being moved
• Whether flow aids will be required
• How the elevator infeed and discharge sections will need to be designed to successfully integrate with upstream and downstream equipment.
• How the design will need to accommodate the operating conditions and environment, as well as any applicable regulatory requirements
• How the design will address any special requirements, such as washdown service, etc.

About Configuration

In designing an elevator to suit a particular an application, the designer will need to determine the configuration of the equipment that is needed. Configuration is a key aspect of the elevator design process since the conveyor must fit within the space available and join up with upstream and downstream equipment. In many design projects, the location of upstream and downstream equipment is already fixed, and the designer must select a configuration that permits the infeed and discharge sections of the elevator to reach and connect with this equipment.

Bucket elevator configurations that are often employed are the standard “Z” type configuration, a “C” type configuration, and others. Please visit this page to see the configuration options that are available on TipTrak™ bucket elevators supplied by UniTrak.

In buying a bucket elevator, it is always best to work with manufacturers who have a proven design capability. These manufacturers will be able to ask the right questions, conduct any needed material test, and make any required site visits to ensure that the right conveyor design and configuration is recommended and supplied. This, in turn, will ensure a problem-free installation, start-up and run-in, eliminating the need for any design modifications or alterations once the unit has arrived onsite.

At UniTrak, we have over 45 years’ experience in designing bucket elevators that match our customers’ needs and requirements. Each TipTrak™ bucket elevator we supply is custom designed and configured in-house by our engineering team and manufactured in our ISO 9001-certified facility. Before we even begin the design process, our application experts review each customer’s needs in detail to ensure that no design consideration is overlooked and that the resulting design precisely matches the application requirements.

If you would like more information on bucket elevator designs, or the TipTrak™ line of bucket elevators, please contact our sales team directly.

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