Global demand for sulphur continues unabated. Global output now exceeds some 60 million metric tons annually, and most sulphur produced is recovered from fossil fuel sources such as oil and gas. Sulphur is widely used as an input material for the production of agricultural chemicals, fertilizers and other products. Processed sulphur generally takes two forms: molten and solid. Where the processing takes place close to a refinery, the molten form is typical. However, when sulphur has to be transported across larger distances, from the processing plant to the customer, the solid form prevails. In this blog, we look at the advantages of bucket elevators for handling solid sulphur in production and processing facilities.
About solid sulphur product
Solid sulphur can be produced using a pastillation system, such as the Sandvik rotoform process, or through a drum granulation process. Both processes are capable of producing premium quality product. Once sulphur pastilles or granules have been formed, they need to conveyed, stored, and then bagged or bulk loaded for transport. Bucket elevators have been used in many production facilities to effectively move pastillated or granulated sulphur product.
Bucket elevators for handling solid sulphur: challenges
Bucket elevators for conveying pastillated or granulated sulphur product need to be capable of handling the challenges of this material. These challenges include the following:
- Dust explosion risk. Because sulphur dust is explosive, bucket elevators for handling solid sulphur need to be capable of addressing this risk. This requires the use of bucket elevators with dust-tight casings, anti-static drive assemblies, explosion relief vents, dust suppression systems, and other explosion prevention features.
- Solid sulphur is abrasive on elevator parts and components. Bucket elevators used to handle solid sulphur should be constructed form high-wear parts and components which resist the abrasive effect of the material.
- Should solid sulphur come into contact with water, sulphuric acid will be formed which can seriously corrode elevator parts with which it comes into contact. Elevators should therefore be constructed from materials which can withstand corrosive attack from sulphuric acid.
Bucket elevators for handling solid sulphur: solutions
TipTrak™ Monocoque units from UniTrak are a preferred choice in many sulphur production facilities.
Compliant to ATEX Zones 21 and 22, TipTrak™ Monocoque bucket conveyors are an ideal choice for the safe and gentle handling of solid sulphur product, including pastilles, granules, pellets and prills. TipTrak ™ Monocoque conveyors feature a fully enclosed and sealed gas-tight design that permits safe handling by mitigating the risks associated with product dusting and any resulting fugitive dust emissions that may result in an explosion. A polymer interlocking bucket assembly provides conductive continuous electrical grounding, while an explosion-proof motor and explosion vent panels where required provide additional safety and protection against the risk of explosion.
In addition to these explosion-abatement features, the optional stainless steel design of the TipTrak™ Monocoque conveyor provides protection against the effects of corrosion. Units for sulphur applications are constructed using high-wear parts that resist the abrasive effects resulting from contact with sulphur particles.
Where product integrity is a concern, TipTrak™ Monocoque units can gently move sulphur pastilles, pellets and prills with no damage or degradation. The fully interlocking bucket design and rubber beltchain of TipTrak™ ensure that the material has a gentle ride through the conveyor with zero spillage along the way. The rubber beltchains which drive the unit are made from rubber compounds especially formulated to resist degradation by elemental sulphur.
If you are seeking bucket elevators for handling solid sulphur, UniTrak has the equipment and experience to move your material safely and efficiently. To find out more about how UniTrak can service your solid sulphur handling application, please contact our sales team directly.