Solutions for Biomass Receiving Bin Woes

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Pellet plants and other biomass operations often struggle with biomass receiving bins and infeed systems. The bins are messy. They break down. They require too much maintenance. Material doesn’t flow well. We’ve heard it all, and we hear it often.

While tweaks to your biomass bin may reduce your headaches, the performance issues are often related to the overall design of the receiving and infeed system. Tweaks will only go so far; they can address symptoms but will not resolve the root cause of the trouble.

With chain and shuffling-floor bins, problems arise partly because they move the entire material pile toward the discharge area. If there’s a wall above the discharge slot, the floors often pack biomass against the discharge wall, where it bridges over the opening. At the same time, material often builds up above the discharge area and eventually overflows the bin, creating a mess.

BE&E can retrofit chain and shuffling-floor bins with a drag back chain to resolve flow issues. The drag back chain meters material as it approaches the discharge area, creating a consistent flow out of the bin.

Removing the discharge wall from these bins also poses problems. Without the wall, material sloughs out the bin in surges that can overwhelm the receiving conveyor. Thus, to protect the conveyor from damage, the operation must add a metering device to the process or oversize the conveyor to accommodate the peak flow rate during a surge.

Besides issues with flow, chain bins suffer much wear as the chains drag across the steel floor. They also lack redundancy: if a chain fails, maintenance employees must shut down the entire machine to fix it, as a single driveshaft almost always drives the chains.

The only alternative to chain and shuffling floors that can achieve equivalent throughput rates are screws, which BE&E employs in its receiving and metering bins. We opt for screws because they lack the complications mentioned above. Plus, they’re short enough in a bin that they don’t require infamously troublesome hanger bearings. They accurately meter material and evenly reclaim material from throughout the pile when adequately designed. What’s more, the screws in our bins are individually powered. So, if a motor needs to be repaired, crews needn’t stop receiving material. They can speed up the other three to compensate for the down screw until the repair is finished or live with a short-term flow rate at 75 percent of capacity.

BE&E offers two styles of trailer receiving bins for biomass. The first is a “high-top” bin. This style bin requires no ramp and moves the biomass horizontally toward the receiving conveyor, which is in a pit parallel to the delivery trailer. The second style, an “inline” bin, requires no pit. The screws in this bin are parallel to the trailer and slope upward to clear the receiving conveyor, which runs perpendicular to the trailer. While this bin doesn’t require a pit for the conveyor, it does require a low ramp.

BE&E designs pits for receiving biomass, too. In these, we place an inline receiving bin (without walls) or the base of one of our modular screw bins.

If your receiving and infeed bins are straining your patience, why not reach out? Our solutions are designed for simple maintenance and low operating costs. Let us allay your receiving process woes! Contact us today!


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