In many facilities, continuous bucket elevators are used for vertically conveying hazardous materials. Minimizing risk and ensuring health and safety while achieving compliance with applicable regulations are key objectives that must be met when moving any type of hazardous material. Fulfilling these objectives safely requires using conveying equipment that is purpose-built for the job.
Unless they are customized and tailored for the job, standard continuous bucket elevators do not have the necessary features and protections that are require to move hazardous materials safely and with minimal risk. This blog examines the critical factors that users should be aware of when considering continuous bucket elevators for safely conveying hazardous materials.
Hazardous materials include those which are extremely dusty, unstable, explosive or toxic. This material category also includes applications where a safe material may be transformed into an unsafe one should it come into contact with another material or environmental factor.
A key concern when moving hazardous materials is explosion prevention. There are multiple possible sources of ignition for an explosion to occur within a continuous bucket conveyor. These sources are outlined in a guidance document for EU ATEX Directives that cover equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres, published by the UK Solids Handling and Processing Association(SHAPA). Some of the ignition sources identified by SHAPA can be present in continuous bucket elevators; therefore, elevators used for moving materials which are explosive should be capable of the suppressing these ignition sources.
Bucket elevators for safely conveying hazardous materials: equipment features
Intelligent design and construction of a continuous bucket conveyor can address many of the concerns associated with safely conveying hazardous materials. TipTrak™ Monocoque and PEC bucket conveyors from UniTrak have the following features which help users to move hazardous materials safely and efficiently:
- Fully enclosed and gas-tight sealed designs. TipTrak™ Monocoque conveyors feature a fully enclosed and sealed gas-tight design. A variety of options are available, including explosion relief panels. PEC conveyors feature a fully enclosed, but not gas-tight, design. PEC and Monocoque units permit safe handling by mitigating the risks associated with product dusting and resulting fugitive dust emissions that may result in an explosion or personnel harm. Direct connection to the plant dust collection system can be easily made with either model.
- Explosion proof drive motors. The drive motors used on TipTrak™ PEC and Monocoque units meet all requirements for tools and fixtures intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres as defined in EU Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX), or as of April 20, 2016 of the EU Directive 2014/34/EU (ATEX). These explosion-proof motors can be used in categories 2 and 3, in gas zones 1 and 2, and in dust zones 21 and 22.
- Fully conductive drive assemblies. TipTrak™ PEC and Monocoque units can be supplied with a continuous electrical ground path that prevents the accumulation of a static electric charge.
- Explosion relief vent panels. These panels provide additional safety and protection in the event of a dust explosion.
- Rubber beltchain, polymer interlocking buckets and joint strips. TipTrak™ PEC and Monocoque units come equipped with a rubber anti-static beltchain which reduces the risk of sparking or heat buildup that could occur with a metal drive chain. Interlocking polymer anti-static buckets and joint strips reduce static charge build up and prevent spillage of material as it moves through the conveyor.
- Stainless steel frame construction. TipTrak™ PEC and Monocoque conveyors can be supplied with full stainless steel construction to eliminate the build-up of rust and prevent sparking.
TipTrak PEC and Monocoque bucket elevators are used in many facilities worldwide to safely convey handle materials. To learn more about the advantages of TipTrak™ bucket elevators for safely conveying hazardous materials in your facility, please contact the UniTrak sales team.