Bulk Solid Material Conveying: Why You Should Test

August 9, 2018

Material testing is an activity often overlooked or bypassed when buying an engineered bulk solid material conveying solution. Without an accurate knowledge of material flow properties and behaviour, equipment and systems design will be based on guess-work. This increases the risk that the equipment or system will not perform as desired, leading to frustration and escalating costs.

No one buying an engineered bulk solid material conveying solution wants to incur the risk of failure or poor performance once the equipment is installed. Pre-purchase, this risk can be greatly reduced by having your material tested under controlled conditions by equipment engineers in a properly equipped test facility. These tests can accurately measure and assess material flow properties and characteristics, while determining how the material will behave when handled by a conveyor.

Bulk solid material conveying: material testing at UniTrak

In new customer applications where UniTrak is asked to provide a proposal, we routinely ask the customer to send product to us for evaluation and testing. These tests are designed to determine the flow characteristics of the material being handled so that our equipment designs can be adapted to overcome any challenges. All tests are carried out in our testing facility by our Test Team whose members include personnel from our equipment Engineering Team, and Sales and Service Teams. Specific tests that we often carry out include the following:

  • Flow testing. Powders and other materials vary greatly in their flow characteristics. Some powders will tend to fluidize when moved, while others may tend to cake or pack. Determining the flowability of powders and other materials is critical for developing appropriate equipment design data.
  • Blend testing. Segregation of blends and mixes can be a major problem in conveying. Our testing assesses the degree to which the particles of a blend or mix can segregate, leading to equipment design considerations.
  • Particle properties. Materials vary greatly in their particle composition and size, shape and density. Understanding these parameters is a key equipment design input.
  • Particle attrition. The propensity of a material’s particles to break, or throw off fines or dust, can determine equipment choice and design.
  • Hazard assessment. Some materials are flammable, explosive, or toxic. While for safety reasons we do not routinely test these hazardous materials, we draw on our nearly-50 years’ experience with past projects and customer inputs about material characteristics.

If you are buying an engineered bulk solid material conveying system, UniTrak will be pleased to evaluate and test your material and propose a recommended solution from our lineup of bucket elevators, aeromechanical, flexible screw, and inclined belt conveyors. Where required, we can engineer integrated systems, where our conveyors are combined with bulk bag fillers/dischargers or other material handling equipment as required. To find out more about our equipment lineup and how to arrange for your material testing, please contact our sales team.

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