BULK PRODUCT CONVEYORS: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WORK
In this post we will explain what bulk product conveyors are (what they are and how they work). We will also make an introduction to the concept of bulk transport, a very present and widespread modality in the logistics of all kinds of products, although many times we do not realize it.
What is bulk transportation?
We understand as bulk the merchandise that is transported in large quantities without packaging or without carrying any type of packaging.
Bulk transportation is the main way of moving basic and everyday products that we consume every day. Food products, gas, oil and many others are transported from the production center to the point of transformation or sale in bulk. The fruits that are collected in the field, the milk from the dairy farms, the gasoline that we put every day in our car have been previously transported in bulk. Milk, for example, is transported in large tanker trucks to the factory where it is processed and packaged. Other products, such as fuels, even reach the consumer in bulk format, since they are never packaged.
On the contrary, merchandise that is not transported in bulk is packed in boxes, bags, PALLETS or in smaller formats, such as cans or bottles.
Bulks can be both solid and liquid. As examples of solid bulks, we have agri-food products, such as cereals, olives, which are transported from the field to the processing plants in trailers or trucks, in large quantities and without packaging.
Bulk transportation from origin
Bulks can be solid or liquid. As examples of solid bulks, we have grains such as SOYBEANS, wheat or barley. The minerals, chemicals or fuels that we have already mentioned are also transported in bulk.
For bulk transport, special ships are used - such as bulk carriers, gas carriers or oil tankers - in which the container is the ship itself. The merchandise goes in the free warehouse, without any container. When these ships arrive at the port, special machinery such as cranes, conveyor belts or powerful hoses with absorption systems are used to unload them. Normally, they are reloaded into open trucks that transport them back, again in bulk, to the processing plant, which can be an oil refinery or a flour mill.
Machinery for the transport of bulk products in factories and logistics centers
Among all the machinery used in different bulk handling centers (ports, silos, warehouses or factories), we are going to focus on those that are the fundamental tools, the most used, and that we will usually find.
The augers are devices that are formed by a metallic longitudinal axis and of robust construction that is surrounded by a metallic propeller. The gaps between the propellers serve to deposit the material that we want to transfer from one point to another in the factory.
The operation is that of the endless screw: at each turn the material goes from one hole to another in the helix and moves. The worm shaft is fixed at both ends. In one of them is the rotor connected to an electric motor that transmits the necessary movement. The shaft rotates and the propellers spin without stopping, displacing the bulk.
There are different types of CONVEYOR BELTS. The operation of the conveyor belt is similar in any of its modes. We have a continuous belt attached to two pulleys, one at each end. The whole set is supported by a metal structure that fixes it to the ground. At one end, there is the motor shaft that is connected to an electric motor that enables the movement of the belt. The structure of the conveyor belt does not move, what does is the belt that rotates on itself when it reaches the end of its path. The moving belt ends at the pulley, turns around and continues its movement underneath.
The conveyor belts can be made of different materials. The belt can be metallic if you have to transport hard and heavy materials, but it can also be made of rubber or textile. In the event that they have to be used to transport food, they will be built with hypoallergenic materials.
The conveyor belt is used in the reception of the bulk, but also in the internal transport through the plant, to take them from one point to another in the processing area. The belt can be positioned horizontally, but also vertically when the bulk has to be lifted.
The conveyor belt in one more FOOD INDUSTRY MACHINERY. If she did, it would be impossible to treat tons of fruit and other bulk needed to produce food.
The bucket elevator is also a ubiquitous machine in the handling of all types of bulk, be it grains to produce food or feed, or other types of bulk.
The bucket elevator is used to transport materials at height. It gets its name from one of the fundamental elements that compose it: the bucket, which is a metal receptacle shaped like a cube and open at the top. The buckets are hooked to a band that sets them in motion. This band is an endless system, which rotates within the metallic structure that serves as a support.
The bucket elevator is present in all bulk handling phases, from the reception area to the processing area. The bucket elevator is normally placed in a horizontal position, although we can also find versions placed in a horizontal position. In these cases, instead of lifting the bulks from one area to another, what it does is move them over the factory floor, from one point to another.
It is important to understand bulk product conveyors: what they are and how they work, since they are essential auxiliary elements in any industry that has to handle tons of products. It is the most efficient way to handle huge quantities of products.
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