Choosing Conveyors: An Overview

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We’ve said there is no “one size fits all” conveyor. But we’ll now go further: there is not even a “one size fits most” conveyor. Yet operations personnel often default to the conveyance systems they’re familiar with even when better solutions exist. The best conveyor for your application depends on the specifics—factors like the material conveyed, the system’s configuration, upfront costs, efficiency, and maintenance considerations. We’ve written this blog to help you make the best decision regarding which conveyor(s) to employ.

Conveyor Considerations

There are many things to consider when choosing a new conveyor: conveyance velocity, maintenance, dust control, cost, etc. However, there are three that stand apart as overarching “musts” to consider: material characteristics, operational requirements, and configuration.

  1. Material Characteristics. Biomass applications involve various material properties. Harsh or abrasive materials may necessitate “heavy-duty” conveyors or liners to prevent wear. However, lighter-duty options may suffice for infrequent use. Whatever you do, make sure the conveyor you select is up to the task. Other material properties, such as moisture content and fragility, also come into play. Some conveyors are better at handling certain materials than others.
  2. Operational Hours. How long a conveyor will continuously run should also influence your choice. Continuous operations require robust solutions. Generally, “heavy duty,” “ultra-heavy duty,” and “mill duty” conveyors are designed for continuous use in commercial settings. “Light duty” and “agricultural” conveyors are intended for intermittent use with lighter rigorous loads. These conveyors are often expected to run hard for only several weeks a year.
  3. Your layout will also affect which conveyors you apply. If you’re tight on space, you need a conveyor capable of elevating materials at sharp inclines. Belt and vibratory conveyors are out. The same goes for length. Belt and pneumatic conveyance systems can extend the longest without multiple conveyors. However, their drawbacks (dust leakage, high power draw) remain the same and can prove more dramatic with length.

For more details, see our updated conveyor reference chart. In it, we compare conveyors’ general features, functionality, and materials they handle well. Make it your first stop when selecting a conveyor. One size doesn’t fit most—choose the solution best for your needs.

BE&E and VibraPro

We offer vibratory conveyors through VibraPro and drag conveyors (SMART Conveyors™) through BE&E.

VibraPro is a leading provider of vibratory conveyors and offers robust solutions across diverse industries, including wood products, recycling, industrial manufacturing, and biomass. Their conveyors are categorized into balanced and unbalanced types, with additional options like deck conveyors and various duty levels.

Customization is a hallmark of VibraPro’s vibratory conveyors, which feature options like screening, partition wall separation, dewatering systems, and adjustable dropouts. The company prioritizes precision and customization, showcasing meticulous testing and design to meet different industries’ unique material handling needs.

BE&E’s SMART Conveyors™ are highly refined, premium machines designed for top-tier performance in medium- to ultra-heavy-duty situations. With hundreds of these conveyors in the field and many hours of testing, we’re confident in our machines’ ability to get the job done while saving you on ongoing costs. These conveyors allow broad customization from a catalog of shapes, sizes, and material options. We offer both top-drag and bottom-drag chain conveyors to best suit your needs.

Also, with their modular design, future changes are as easy as bolting new sections in place. All sizes of SMART Conveyors™ are available with straight sections, inside curves, outside curves, manual or automatic tensioning, direct drives in constant or variable speeds, feeding bins, manual or automatic conveyor gates, and more.

Selecting conveyors for biomass applications is nuanced, requiring a thorough understanding of specific requirements. Supplier terminology, material considerations, operational demands, and layout considerations are pivotal.

Whether opting for the robust performance of BE&E’s SMART Conveyors™ or the versatile solutions offered by VibraPro, industries can achieve efficient and tailored material handling. Contact BE&E to discuss your material handling project and leverage our expertise to optimize the performance and value of your biomass conveyance systems.