What Is a Bulk Conveyor?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A bulk conveyor is any conveying system used to transport large amounts of material or heavy, bulky items from one location to another on a belt, in an auger, or through a tube. The specific design of a bulk conveyor can vary drastically according to the intended application as well as by the materials to be moved. Auger conveyors, for example, are intended for use with transporting fine particulate matter, such as soil or grains. Belt conveyors are intended for use moving larger, bulkier items such as stones, boxes, or large drums and buckets.

One type of bulk conveyor commonly used in industrial settings is the hopper conveyor. This piece of machinery features two main parts: the conveyor belt, which moves the materials from one location to another, and the hopper, which is a pyramid-shaped container with a large opening at the top and a small opening at the bottom. The hopper is used to temporarily contain materials before they are loaded onto the conveyor belt. The opening at the bottom of the hopper will steadily feed out material and drop it onto the conveyor belt for transport. It can be loaded using a bucket loader or other piece of heavy machinery fitted with a bucket attachment.

If the materials being transported on the bulk conveyor are very fine particles, the conveyor belt itself will need to be contained within a frame that has high walls. These walls will prevent the materials from spilling off the side of the bulk conveyor, and help prevent materials from falling into the machinery of the conveyor system, potentially leading to damage to the machine. Some fine particulate conveyors do not use a belt at all, since materials are likely to fall beneath the belt. Instead, an auger, or large screw, is set within a long enclosure; as the auger turns, the materials are moved in one direction or another by the blades of the screw.

The bulk conveyor is likely to be made from steel, since this material is exceptionally durable and heavy duty. Bulk materials can be exceptionally heavy, oddly-shaped, or otherwise cumbersome, so the bulk conveyor will need to be built to withstand the excess weight and bulk of the materials. Rollers will tend to be large, and they will be mounted on heavy duty bearings that will allow easy and free rotation of the cylinders during the transport process.

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