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Continuous Bucket Elevators: Tips for a Successful Installation

January 3, 2018

Continuous bucket elevators are often a critical piece of equipment within a process flow. Installing a new elevator correctly is essential for a successful start-up and safe and reliable operation.

Companies have several options available for installing continuous bucket elevators. While many equipment OEM’s offer varying levels of services for the installation and commissioning of their units, buyers are also free to install using their own maintenance resources or those of a third-party contractor. Whether using an OEM, a third-party, or self-installing, it is important to ensure that the equipment OEM’s installation instructions are carefully followed to avoid problems and delays. In this blog, we offer general guidance that can help the installation process to proceed smoothly.

Tip #1: Uncrate and inspect equipment carefully.

Equipment OEM’s check their units before they leave the factory. Nonetheless, it is important to carefully inspect all parts received for any damage that may have occurred during shipment. Look for dents in section coverings and bent or misaligned pulley flanges and shafts. If these are not identified and corrected, they can adversely affect start-up and continuing performance.

Ensure also that all items and parts listed on the equipment OEM’s packing list are received and in the correct quantity. Missing or incomplete items can delay an installation, once begun.

Tip #2: Ready the installation site and space.

The process location into which the bucket elevator is being installed should be cleared of anything that may interfere with the installation. Floor space and headroom that is sufficiently sized to accommodate the footprint and vertical height of the equipment should be available. When calculating the floor area and headroom needed for an installation, do not overlook the space required for connections to upstream and downstream equipment, for any securing to overhead fixtures that may be required, or that which is required for installation personnel to work safely within.

Tip #3: Have all necessary tools and supplies on-hand.

Searching for needed tools and supplies can delay and complicate an equipment installation. With tools and supplies, the devil is in the details. For example, knowing if your equipment OEM uses imperial or metric fasteners can help avoid having to locate the appropriate tools once equipment assembly has begun. Similarly, reviewing the equipment OEM’s recommended lubricants to ensure that those needed are available can avoid start-up delays

Tip #4: Ensure all necessary electrical connections are made.

Continuous bucket elevators are usually powered by drive motors that depend on a supply of electrical current. All necessary electrical connections, including interlocking connections with other equipment and controls, should be made by a qualified electrician who can ensure compliance with local codes and regulations.

Tip #5: Follow the equipment OEM’s installation instructions to the letter.

Failing to follow an equipment OEM’s installation instructions can result in unsafe operation, damage to equipment, facilities, and personnel, as well as voiding any warranties. Where installation personnel are unsure about any aspect of an installation, the equipment OEM should be contacted for help and support.

Parts and components which are essential for the safe operation of the bucket elevator should receive particular attention. For example, if your unit is supplied with explosion panels, these should only be installed using the mounting hardware supplied or recommended by the equipment OEM.

Tip #6: Ensure all required safety guarding is in place before equipment start-up.

Each jurisdiction has its own regulations and requirements for the guarding of process equipment to ensure safe operation. The installation crew should ensure that all applicable regulations and standards for safe operation have been reviewed, understood, and complied with prior to equipment start-up.

Following these tips will help ensure a smooth, successful, and safe installation of your continuous bucket elevator. Should the installation process break down at any point for any reason, be sure to contact your equipment OEM for advice and support.

UniTrak manufactures TipTrak™ continuous bucket elevators. With their rubber beltchains and fully interlocking bucket assemblies, TipTrak™ continuous bucket elevators offer reliable spillage-free operation. To find out more about TipTrak™ continuous bucket elevators, please contact the UniTrak sales team for further information.

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