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Material handling equipment has a vital role to play in a wide range of industries. From mining to manufacturing, machinery can be crucial to how a business functions and completes its work in a timely and efficient manner. Perhaps one of the most important types of machinery that you may not be familiar with is the bucket conveyor.

Also known as the bucket elevator, a bucket conveyor is a piece of material handling equipment that is designed to boost production speeds by transporting materials from one place to another. Bucket conveyors have a unique selling point in that they can move materials vertically in addition to horizontally, expanding the areas in which they’re used. Read on to learn more about how bucket elevators are used in a wide range of production applications.

How do bucket elevators work?

Unlike other conveyor belt systems, a bucket elevator houses materials in a bucket which is kept level while it’s transported along the conveyor. Keeping the bucket level when moving horizontally or vertically is pivotal to their usefulness, as it keeps important materials from spilling out. From powders to stainless steel, bucket elevators can increase your business’ capacity rate by a lot, since you don’t have to worry about what’s in the bucket spilling out while in transit.

Different bucket elevators have different strengths and applications. For example, a centrifugal bucket conveyor uses centrifugal force to move materials at various speeds continuously while in motion. On the other hand, a continuous bucket conveyor is explicitly designed with the intention of transporting fragile materials at a useful capacity rate for your business, even though the speed of a continuous bucket conveyor is generally much slower. A final type of bucket elevator is the positive discharge conveyor, which transports and tips materials out at the end of the conveyor path.

What are the industrial applications of a bucket and conveyor system?

Each bucket conveyor system has its own strengths when it comes to the industries it’s used in. For example, centrifugal bucket conveyors are generally better with handling fine materials and powders, since it’s easier to make a bucket fill with grain, sugar, or minerals continuously than it is to get to make a bucket fill with solids or metals. Contrary to centrifugal bucket conveyors, a continuous bucket conveyor is more commonly used for more sensitive applications where cargo must be protected after each bucket fill.

The mining industry and plastics manufacturing companies generally use this approach, as the cargo they’re transporting is more precious and loses its value if damaged in transit. Cereal manufacturers and other food and beverage companies may utilize a positive discharge conveyor to transport items like fruits or nuts since they can maintain the integrity of their cargo while also getting it from point A to point B.

As you can see, bucket elevators are pivotal to many industries where the transportation of large loads of material in a safe and efficient manner is crucial to the success and efficacy of a business. Ultimately, which bucket elevator you choose to use will depend on a variety of factors, including price and application. Take, for example, a mine shaft, where it would be near impossible to transport tons of ore up a vertical incline by hand in a timely manner. Some bucket conveyors, such as those designed and manufactured by Ryson, include modular components and pivoting buckets that make them even more versatile than other continuous bucket elevators on the market.

As the continuous bucket conveyor illustrates, where there’s a will, there’s a way, as continuous bucket elevators expand upon the concepts of a traditional conveyor belt in order to carry bulk materials in a revolutionary way.

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