As the president of Challenger Pallet & Supply, Inc. Tad Hegsted needed a system to transport waste from his company’s pallet grinder to a loading bin at his new plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho. For this, he planned on purchasing a pneumatic blower with associated airlocks and cyclones. But when he learned the system required a 60hp fan, he decided to find another solution.
Sometime earlier, Tad had met a representative from Biomass Engineering & Equipment, a materials-handling company based in Indianapolis, and decided to give them a call. The company developed a solution using its SMART Conveyors™ that would move the same amount of material using one 2hp motor (3hp equipped) for a 95 percent energy savings against the pneumatic system—a difference that, over a fifteen-year period, would save Challenger $54,288.00 in electrical costs (with the equipped 3hp motor). The design met Tad’s approval, and he chose to work with BE&E.
BE&E was able to provide such a low-power solution because of the efficiency of its SMART Conveyors™. In SMART Conveyors™, twin chains run along UHMW wear strips, and the paddles do not touch the bottom panels or sidewalls. This ensures motor energy is used to move material and not overcome system friction.
The final system that BE&E designed for Challenger routed a conveyor from the grinder, along the front of the building, and above the bag house at 30°. From there, it dropped the material to a second conveyor, which collected additional material from the bagger. The second conveyor ran straight and then rose at 45° to the top of the loading bin and dropped material into a third conveyor, which deposited material across the top of the bin. The system also included a trailer loading station off the second conveyor that allowed Tad to load trucks with live-stream feed.
More than a year after installing the system, Tad has no regrets. The SMART Conveyors™ contain dust and debris, so there are no environmental issues or cleanup costs associated with the machines. Maintenance costs have also remained low. “It has worked perfectly since we installed it,” Tad said a year after the conveyor had been installed.
Tad was so pleased with the SMART Conveyors™ that he ordered more. In 2019, he replaced a leaky pneumatic system that transferred debris to a silo and a conveyance system that transferred material from the baghouse to the pneumatic system that feeds the second conveyor in the original order.
BE&E was pleased to work with Tad and Challenger Pallet. “He’s easy to work with. He’s a great guy,” said Dane Floyd, president and CEO of Biomass Engineering & Equipment. “We look forward to working with Tad again.”
Dane doesn’t want to limit his company’s efforts in the pallet industry to Challenger, however. “We want others to benefit from the efficiencies we’ve achieved,” he said. “Our conveyors are made for low operational costs. Our aim is to increase our clients’ profits.”
 The system required two points of entry, from the grinder and the baghouse, and would handle material 1” in size +/- 14 percent. The feed rate would be approximately six tons an hour without surges.
 Assuming eight hours a day of production, five days a week at 60 percent capacity and an average kilowatt-hour cost of $0.0682. Calculation for expense: (motor horsepower) x (average capacity percentage of motor) x 8 hours x 5 days x 52 weeks x (0.746kW) x (15 years) x ($0.0682 per kWh). Cost of BE&E conveyor system: $2,857. Cost of Pneumatic blower system: $57,145. Difference: $54,288.