Problems and Solutions for Biomass Conveyor Designs

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Imagine a typical biomass conveyor: it’s designed with a single chain that runs along the center of the floor and through the biomass, which smooth, metal paddles—that extend to the conveyor’s walls—drag via the chain drive. The conveyor is held aloft with multiple support structures.

Not every biomass conveyor is designed this way, but many of these elements are common to their design. While these elements might keep costs low, there are several problems with them:

  • The single chain holds all the stress, so it is likelier to break than the chains in a twin-chain drive system.
  • Material continually wears the chain.
  • Additional wear occurs on the floor where the chain rubs and where the material gets trapped around the chain.
  • The metal paddles can bend, which makes them less efficient.
  • Metal paddles can be expensive to replace.
  • Paddles that reach the conveyor walls can exacerbate a material’s tendency to pack, which causes it not to flow as well.
  • Friction between the chain, material, and paddles decreases the machine’s efficiency and increases its power requirements.
  • Technicians must open the conveyor to access all the components, including wear strips.
  • The conveyor cannot achieve acute conveyance angles and therefore obstructs floor space with its supports.

Friction and wear result in extra maintenance, and inefficiencies result in more costs to run the machine. These problems, therefore, add to the total lifetime cost of a machine, despite their dollar cut to the up-front cost.

And that’s not good engineering. At BE&E, we believe in top-quality design that reduces a machine’s lifetime cost. So, while our machines might cost more at the outset, they’re a better value considering the operational savings.

Better Biomass Conveyor Design

How is our design different?

For one, we designed our conveyor with twin chains that hold the paddles on the sides, not in the center. This design makes the paddles less likely to bend. If they do bend, they bow in the center instead of the edges, so they can still move material.

biomass conveyor paddle design

The plastic we use for the paddles also makes them rigid, and they’re less costly to replace than metal paddles.

Because those twin chains run out of the material path, they last longer and run more efficiently. The twin chain design also allows technicians to change curve wear strips without opening the conveyor—not that they’ll need to change them often. Our conveyors have moved high volumes of DDGS continuously for a year without the wear strips needing to be replaced.

A second way we’ve differentiated our design from other conveyors is our conveyors’ sturdiness. We build strong conveyors, so they require fewer structural supports and therefore take up less floor space. We can also engineer our conveyors up to vertical conveyance angles—something unmatched in the industry. That means our conveyors can fit in tight spaces that other designs cannot work.

What else sets our conveyor apart? For that, you’ll have to check out our conveyor information page or contact us directly.

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