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MEETING GROWING NEEDS

May 17, 2021

TipTrak solution aids production at Australia’s largest horticultural supplier

Reliable equipment is vital for the success of every manufacturer or producer across any industry. So, when the bucket elevators were becoming a maintenance nightmare at Yates’ Wyee Plant – Australia’s largest supplier of horticultural and garden products such as seeds, fertilizers, garden soils and potting mixes – it came as little surprise that they wanted to find a replacement solution as quickly as possible.

“The existing units were extremely unreliable. The swinging buckets tended to jam in the curve section where the buckets change planes – from horizontal to vertical or from vertical to horizontal travel; this was as a result of the chains stretching unevenly,” explains Andrew Morgan, engineering manager for Yates’ Wyee Plant. “Towards the end of their lives, the original elevators had reduced the plant throughput speed from 12 tonnes per hour to 8 tonnes per hour, as the elevator was unable to handle 12 tonnes per hour without constantly crashing.”

While searching for replacements, another supplier informed Yates about UniTrak’s product offerings.

“The TipTrak elevator was recommended to us by another supplier of ours who had seen it operating elsewhere,” Morgan says.

The TipTrak features truly interlocking buckets that never separate and are designed in such a way that spillage is all but impossible at the infeed. The buckets are also much deeper both on the horizontal runs and when going vertically. This mean that product is more effectively and completely captured at the infeed than with the shallower pivoted style buckets.

The TipTrak buckets are secured to the molded TipTrak “chain” which very much resembles a timing belt. This is elastomeric belting with a stainless steel aircraft cable core that is mechanically joined at one point in the system. The belting combines all of the advantages of a chain, strong mechanical core, and positive drive with the advantages of a belt. In other words, no moving parts in the chain/belting, tough elastomeric construction, and very low noise. With a TipTrak chain/belting, there is never any chain/belting stretch and of course no requirement for lubrication.

After learning about the features of the TipTrak Bucket Elevator, Yates decided to purchase one to replace its two older bucket elevators. The difference in production efficiencies was noticed immediately.

“The TipTrak elevator has removed a major bottleneck from the processing plant,” Morgan says. “Upon commissioning, the plant throughput was immediately able to return to 12 tph. Whilst commissioning, we were able to obtain an instantaneous throughput of 19 tph, but we’re currently working on proving a reliable 14 to 16 tph.”

The project went so well, in fact, that Yates is looking at installing a second TipTrak system in the future.

“Hopefully, we can get our plant to the stage where we will be able to install another TipTrak in parallel with the existing one, and potentially double the plant’s throughput rate,” Morgan says. “There’s also potential that we’ll be able to use TipTrak in our packaging area in the future, also.”

For more information on the benefits and advantages of TipTrak elevators, visit www.unitrak.com.

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