As we noted in a previous blog on conveyor systems integration, the infeed area of conveyors can often be a source of trouble. This blog looks at the common infeed problems that can be encountered with bucket conveyors.
Problem #1 : Uneven product distribution over the buckets
This conveyor infeed problem is often a design issue. This problem often arises when product is being fed at right angle to the conveyor. If unaddressed, the uneven product flow can cause uneven wear on the bucket surfaces, and may also result in overfilling of the buckets and spillage. Good equipment design, such as equipping the conveyor with bias-cut infeed chutes, can prevent this problem.
Problem #2: Overfilling the buckets
This conveyor infeed problem usually results from an incorrect equipment setup. Often, the conveyor speed is set too slow, in an attempt to reduce bucket fill, which causes the buckets to be overfilled. Increasing the conveyor speed to one that results in a maximum of 2/3 or 67% bucket fill will usually correct the problem.
Problem #3: Feeding buckets before the conveyor is running
If a bucket conveyor is not running at full speed before bucket loading begins, this infeed problem can arise. The solution is to start the bucket elevator first, then allow time delay before starting your upstream equipment. Similarly, upstream feeding equipment should be stopped before stopping the bucket conveyor to ensure that all material is emptied from the conveyor.
Problem #4: Excessive product drop height at the infeed
Once again, this conveyor infeed problem arises as a consequence of improper equipment design. To ensure the optimal product transfer from an upstream process into a bucket conveyor, the drop height should be as little as is practical. This offers a gentler product transfer, maintaining product integrity, while reducing the amount of dusting and providing better overall infeed control. Higher discharge elevations can also cause certain products (i.e., those with rounded or spherical particles) to bounce and may cause containment issues at the infeed.
If upstream processes are difficult to lower or modify, a common solution is to raise the lower portion of the bucket conveyor. For example, all TipTrakTM bucket conveyors come equipped with adjustable floor supports which make altering the height of the unit easy. Larger height increases can be accommodated with lower support frames, if required.
Problem #5: Lack of dust collection
This infeed problem is usually the result of filing to use a proper dust collection system. Without a proper dust collection system, fines are carried throughout the conveyor, causing deposits on equipment pulleys, ledges, and other flat horizontal surfaces. Eventually the build-up of dust becomes severe enough to cause mistracking of the conveyor. Eliminating this conveyor infeed problem requires using a conveyor equipped with a dust collection system, such as that offered with TipTrakTM bucket conveyors.
If you foresee, or are encountering, any of these common conveyor infeed problems with your application or equipment, please contact one of our application specialists for an application review. They will be pleased to discuss how TipTrakTM bucket conveyors can help prevent these common infeed problems from arising.