Keeping an Eye on Success in the Load Zone
Bulk material handling involves transferring massive weights and amounts of a product. As tons of bulk material drop with a powerful force from receiving chutes onto a receiving conveyor belt, this impact zone can become highly susceptible to significant belt and frame damage and excessive material spillage. This creates more concerns, such as housekeeping and fugitive dust.
Heavy, bulky material can make rollers in the load zone much less effective. If large lumps land between the rollers, the belt must stretch to absorb their impact. This causes great stress and, over time, can disfigure the belt.
Maintaining steady production and preventing operational hazards and costs requires efficient transfer point design, including proper conveyor belt support in the load zone.
Assessing Load Zone Transfer Points
The load zone is vital to operational success. Suppose load points are not adequately supported and protected. In that case, they can significantly hinder production by adding to belt wear, material spillage, airborne dust, loss of product, belt mistracking, and equipment attrition.
A properly engineered transfer point will ensure that each component fulfills its role in a steady material flow and material containment. One of those pivotal functions is lessening the impact of falling material on the conveyor belt.
A heavy-duty impact bed with rubber or urethane impact bars under the load zone is a strategic alternative to traditional cushion rollers. As the material drops to the conveyor belt, the impact bed reduces stress on the belt by absorbing and transferring the impact forces. It also closes the gaps left by impact rollers.
Support beams in the center of the impact bed are set just below the belt’s line of travel. In addition to absorbing impact, the support beams help the conveyor belt avoid friction when the belt is empty and prevent abrasion and tears from sharp materials.
As the material moves past the impact bed in the conveyor chute box and into the settling zone, sliders can create a troughed belt to center the material and reduce material disruptions, which enhances dust control.
Together, impact beds and sliders protect the conveyor belt, weaken impact energy, and reduce damaging vibrations, extending conveyor belt life. They also eliminate having to struggle with bent idler shafts and frames and replace worn rollers.
Efficiency in the load zone also calls for proper skirting that creates a strong seal at the load point, ideally without damaging the belt’s top cover. The troughed belt will continue through a transition area onto a flat pulley with many conveyor systems. If that transition lasts more than one second, the material in the trough can spill over the edges of a belt that does not have good skirt sealing. (The conveyor belt should also be moving at least 500 feet per minute to minimize spillage along the side of the head pulley, especially with free-flowing materials such as pellets.)
The skirt seal should start in the loading area and continue to the end of the settling zone. The trough angle created by the sliders will also contribute to a tighter seal between the belt and the skirt.
Benetech Conveyor Components for a Fully Supported Load Zone
Benetech’s engineers have developed advanced transfer chute designs as the main component of our patented InteliFlo® load chute with the adjustable J-Glide® discharge.
The InteliFlo chute actively helps prevent dust generation rather than just passively trying to control it. Its distinctive round chute design replaces a traditional chute’s square corners, maximizing material flow while dramatically reducing dangerous and costly build-up and spillage.
The patented J-Glide® allows for adjustable, vertical loading to accommodate various fuel types and environmental conditions by changing material speed through the transfer. Adjustable horizontal loading likewise works to ensure improved center loading of the belt.
Benetech’s Warrior Impact Bed stabilizes and supports it as the material is loaded on the belt. The impact bed’s stiff, rigid steel frame and soft rubber bars cushion the belt to absorb even the heaviest force. The result is less damage and longer life of the belt, much less spillage, and decreasing O&M costs.
Fine-tune wing adjustments further allow for optimal sealing. The wings and center sections slide in and out for easy access.
Also, in the load zone, the Warrior Roll & Guide Support Bed creates a seamless seal, helping to eliminate spillage and dust. The Roll & Guide Bed’s distinctive design applies low-friction slider bars on the wing sections and rollers in the center. As a result, belt drag is minimized while the belt is fully supported at the edges, where reinforcement is needed the most. Adjustable wing sections further ensure a flat surface for the conveyor belt and the load zone.
Easy to install and maintain, the Warrior Roll & Guide Support Bed increases skirtboard life, removes gaps between the skirtboard and the seal, and eliminates crimping of the interior seal.
Because Benetech’s sealing solutions feature a modular design, the system can be built to any length on the conveyor. All seal options are interchangeable, and one person can make skirt-rubber adjustments. Maintenance also can be managed outside of the belt.
Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) Flow Analysis
Bulk material handlers need only evaluate the production and labor expense of fugitive dust and material to grasp how much an inefficient transfer point design can affect load zone operations. Poor belt support, improperly sealed chutes, bent idlers, and uneven material distribution can result in equipment, maintenance, and material problems.
Benetech can develop a custom transfer point system that suits your specific material and operating conditions. After evaluating your processing needs, our expert Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) chute team can design, fabricate, and install a material handling solution to your exact requirements, including unique transfer chutes for your transfer tower cascade conveyors and post-crusher load zones.
Our engineers use state-of-the-art DEM analysis to analyze and optimize each material handling transfer point design in developing advanced transfer chutes. This pre-installation computer-modeling process anticipates your plant’s potential downstream material flow problems and solves them before expensive mistakes interfere.
All computer modeling includes the latest multi-phase material flow and airflow engineering analysis based on Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) criteria. This enables precisely defined and controlled material movement from the head of the belt conveyor through discharge to the receiving conveyors.
Beyond the optimal transfer chute, we can support you with the belt conveyor impact loading equipment to maintain the belt support and sealing you need for steady production free of spillage and dust.
Benetech: Your Ally in Bulk Material Handling
When you have a bulk material handling challenge, we have professionals who can help you master it to run your plant with the schedules and margins you aim for. Contact us at (630) 844-1300 to speak with a specialist if you would like to discuss transfer point solutions, including belt conveyor impact loading equipment.