Many things can go wrong when conveyor chutes aren’t designed correctly, so it’s little wonder that operations personnel routinely encounter difficulty with them. To reduce problems, we offer the following advice:
- Leave enough chute to install a plug detector. Do not set crossing conveyors too tight on each other. When something goes wrong, you need time to shut down. A bigger gap will provide you time to do so.
- Flow material through big, relieving chutes. Material gets packed as it moves down the conveyors, and then they release (fluff up) at the chutes. A relieving (i.e. a wider bottom than top) chute will help prevent plugs.
- Extend chutes to the end of the head. You don’t want a shelf on which material can build up.
- Aim at the middle. Chutes at crossings are the hardest to get right, as they will tend to load to one side of the chain, which is a problem. Try to get the splash plate of the chute to dump right in the middle of the crossing conveyor floor. (Splash plates should be made from AR400.)
- Be mindful of surges. Either do things to avoid them or make sure you can accept them in the conveyors without flooding them, as you cannot flood bottom-drag conveyors: flooding a bottom drag requires the machine to pull the return paddles through a pile, which will damage the system. This is why we like to install chute plug detectors in every chute on our conveyors.
- Fill your conveyor. A full conveyor is always better than a partially filled one. And go only as fast as needed to do the job. Use VFDs and program them to vary the speed according to load. A full paddle is by default evenly loaded from side to side. A conveyor that is, say, 20 percent full will likely have the material load unevenly on one side of the floor. This will load the chains unevenly and lead to uneven wear. Uneven chain wear is the biggest complaint with dual-chain conveyors like our SMART Conveyor™. Ironically, it is typically self-inflicted.
- Slow down your conveyor. The primary wear of chain is rotation of the pin and bushing. Slow the conveyor down, and it will last longer. We size our conveyors to run full without overloading the chain. There isn’t a need to speed it up unless something changes with the infeed rate or volume. In such circumstances, contact your supplier before making changes to your conveyor.
When chutes and infeed into your conveyor aren’t done right, it will lead to problems—problems that will take your attention away from production centers and other important processes. Neither you nor we want maintenance personnel spending an exorbitant amount of time on transfer equipment. That’s why we work hard to design it right. We understand the details that makes these systems operate smoothly, which is why we’re the best source for your bulk material handling needs. Contact us today!