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USE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF ELEVATOR BUCKETS IN FLOUR AND FEED MILLING INDUSTRY

28 March 20209 min reading

“The healthy operation of an elevator means that it does not leak the product when it carries into the elevator and provides the desired capacity with the determined sufficient and minimum energy consumption in the targeted life. At this point, the use of a well-designed elevator and correctly selected buckets are the main factors in the successful operation of the elevator.”

Murat Aksoy General Manager Millpart

At first bucket elevator needs to be defined before providing explanations of elevator buckets.

In simple words, bucket elevators vertically convey bulk materials. They are considered similar to conveyor belts, with the greatest difference being that bucket elevators move material using buckets attached to a rotating belt or chain. The buckets work to pick up material, move it to the desired endpoint, discharge material, and finally return to the starting point to pick up a new load.

Elevator buckets are taking very important place at bucket elevators. Elevator buckets are containers for the collection and transport of powder or granular materials. They attach to belts on a conveyor system. Elevator buckets, or conveyor buckets as they are sometimes known, are usually bolted to a vertical conveyor belt and used to hold and lift the material.

It is possible to mention bucket elevators under, Resources, Kinds, Applications and Specifications.

RESOURCES Often, they are mostly used to transport raw materials of flour, animal feed production, pasta production, cement industry, recycling plants etc. are the mostly the area of use. Elevator buckets are also used to move other abrasive or hot materials, and may be designed for either agricultural or industrial applications. Some elevator buckets are made of metals such as aluminum, cast iron, or steel.

KINDS There are many dissimilar types of elevator buckets and a variability of ways to categorize them. In addition to materials of construction, elevator buckets may be defined as low-front, medium-front, or high-front. They may also be listed as shallow pattern, medium pattern, or medium deep pattern. Typically, shallow-pattern and medium-pattern elevator buckets are used to convey sticky materials such as clay at slow speeds, or to transport free-flowing materials such as sand at higher speeds. In addition to bucket type, products differ in terms of:

• wear and impact resistance • heat resistance • diameters color and dimensions and • bolt-hole patterns and thickness • bucket venting for the flow of carried material.

SPECIFICATIONS Before preference of buckets; it requires an analysis of the material to convey, characteristics of equipment, and the elevator itself. When evaluating the material which will be carried some points such as restrictions, density, humidity, particle size, and heat should be considered. Since elevators differ by manufacturer, application, and industry, there are a variety of elevator specifications to take into consideration. These include head pulley diameter, shaft size, boot pulley diameter, take-up style, head shaft revolutions per minute (RPM), trunk size, and the distance from head to boot shaft. Feed direction, belt type, elevator capacity, width, and lagging should also be noted. Elevator manufacturers generally follow to create rules in the sector by using certain models in different capacity ranges in order to create certain body sizes. The elevator body types, which are generally referred to as drum diameter, are offered as models such as Ø200, Ø400, Ø600, Ø700, Ø900. In parallel, elevator bucket manufacturers have developed bucket models specific to elevator types by creating specific bucket models. These bucket types are defined by dimensions such as Width X Height or full volume, wiping full volume. The engineers who design the process make use of the bucket tables communicated by the bucket manufacturers to determine the most suitable bucket model and the frequency of placement on the belt that can provide the desired capacity for the right process and the right product.

Bucket manufacturers are now able to produce buckets from a wide range of engineering materials. More preferred are buckets produced by injection molding from engineering plastics rather than conventional sheet buckets. The use of elevator buckets with long life, high wear and fracture resistance is essential for process quality and safety.

The supplier catalogs can be used to select the type of bucket that suits the product and process to be transported. In addition to this, it will be a good method to consult the supplier in the selection of the bucket depending on the product to be transported.

The lifespan of an elevator bucket will vary depending on the material and production conditions in which it is manufactured, as well as the level of abrasion and service life of the product it carries. When transporting products with high abrasive characteristics, elevator buckets made of plastic materials with high resistance to abrasion should be preferred. On the other hand, when carrying wetter and stickier, molasses materials, elevator buckets made of materials of special composition according to this working method are preferred.

The healthy operation of an elevator means that it does not leak the product when it carries into the elevator and provides the desired capacity with the determined sufficient and minimum energy consumption in the targeted life. At this point, the use of a well-designed elevator and correctly selected buckets are the main factors in the successful operation of the elevator.

APPLICATIONS Some elevator buckets are designed specifically for agricultural or industrial applications. For example, cast nylon buckets are used in foundries, glass plants, mines, and other demanding environments. These elevator buckets are corrosion-resistant, relatively low-maintenance, and designed for clean dumping. Because they are lightweight, they can help increase bearing and drive component life, reduce belt stretching, and reduce the amount of power required to operate bucket elevators.

If there is comparison between plastic or steel bucket the following points can be mentioned:

• Plastic buckets are non-corrosive • Plastic buckets will flex when they encounter an obstacle, allowing the bucket to pass through without damage, they then return to their original shape. Steel buckets will dent and loose capacity; the deformation of steel buckets also increases the risk of spark by scraping the casing or another metal object placed near the buckets. • Fixing or changing a damaged steel bucket requires costly down-time and labor. • Using the proper plastic is for the specific application, bucket life should be as good or greater in most applications. Stainless steel can for instance be replaced with nylon or urethane (the most resistant plastics) at a fraction of the cost. • Plastic buckets also have important weight savings that can reduce cost by being able to use a lighter elevator belt. It also improves the life of other drive components in the elevator. • Polyethylene and urethane are approved for use in food applications by the FDA in the United States whereas steel buckets are often not. • Plastic buckets are non-sparking • Nylon, polyethylene and polyurethane buckets are usually substantially less expensive than steel to start with. • Light weight plastic buckets with a low profile cut can be placed closer together, thus enhancing capacity over and above the previous heavy steel buckets.

These advantages make the plastic buckets more popular in agricultural sector. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved HDPE raw material for food application and globally the food manufacturers seek FDA approved spare parts for their production plants.

In the world there is very big market for feed and flour where bucket elevators are mostly used. This important market needs a very big production capacity and within this capacity all parts are as important as buckets. The global bucket manufacturers are taking very important role in this market to provide food safety spare parts which is not harmful for living being. The big challenge here is that; in all countries there are local bucket manufacturers who uses recycled plastic granules in their production without getting any certification or approval from any national or international institutions and these buckets are being used in industry of food as flour, feed, pasta, salt etc. Globally this is a big risk for health. Millers or users must ask certification or laboratory test reports from the manufacturers in the point of judgement for choosing the right product. With the advancement in bucket manufacturing especially for flour milling industry is being able to use raw materials which is FDA approved lubrication materials, etc. that has resulted safety and healthy food for environment and human being. Other than technology, the mill operator’s judgment also plays an important role to choose the correct product. Factors such as preference of manufacturer and certification of produced spare parts are not only for the buckets but also for all related parts which are in interaction with flour. On a legalized surface, there should be enough inspections or surveys through private or government organizations. Plastic products as buckets, sieve cleaners, such as ball cleaners or cube cleaners, are mostly wearing parts during the flour production and the particles of these plastic parts are in interaction with and thanks to the help of temperature - humidity they affect each other and origin of produced food gets the effect of plastics. This will slowly hamper the health of living being.

Globalization, which eliminates the commercial borders, also helps the emergence of international academic studies scientifically. In this context, the importance of university and industry cooperation has resulted in the application of newly discovered materials and manufacturing technologies in food industry. Similarly, developments in metrology and the use of newly developed test and precision measuring devices in the industry can be applied to many different test elevator buckets such as abrasion, fatigue, fracture and exposure to thermal changes. In this way, it has become easier to obtain more accurate measurements and to convey these results to the scientific community as well as to producers.

In the context of university - industry cooperation, the impact of science and technology on the firms in the sector creates a strong dynamism and enables sustainable competition on a global scale.

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