What Is a Bulk Material Conveyor?

B. Turner

A bulk material conveyor is a machine or device designed to transport large quantities of loose materials. These types of conveyors can be found in factories, warehouses, and agricultural settings, where they are used to move items ranging from powdered chemicals to grains. A bulk material conveyor may feature manual or automatic operation, and can vary in complexity and design based on the application. Businesses rely on these machines to help them process bulk materials or manufacture items more efficiently, with less input from laborers. They may serve as part of a standard assembly line, or carry goods from one area to shipping or storage facilities in another part of a facility.

The apron conveyor is a type of conveyor system that is often used in manufacturing, and can be ideal for moving objects such as rocks.
The apron conveyor is a type of conveyor system that is often used in manufacturing, and can be ideal for moving objects such as rocks.

Bulk material conveyors come in a number of different designs, which vary based on the types of goods they can transport and where they can be used. The chute conveyor is the most basic, and features a design similar to a children's playground slide. This manual device carries bulk materials on an incline via gravity. To transport bulk items vertically, companies can use a bucket conveyor. These machines pick up a bucket full of materials at one level, then carry them up a vertical shaft to deposit them on another floor.

The vibrating pan bulk material conveyor can be used to transfer individual loads of bulk materials. These machines rely on motor-driven vibration to deposit a pre-determined load of materials for processing, assembly or storage. Pneumatic tube bulk material conveyor systems use blowers and vacuum power to draw bulk items through large pipes and tubes. While more expensive than many other types of conveyors, they also serve as one of the most efficient means for moving bulk materials over a large area.

Screw conveyors serve as perhaps the most common type of bulk material conveyor. These machines use a rotating screw inside of a tube or pipe to carry materials horizontally, vertically or at an incline. As the screw rotates within the pipe, it carries the objects up or over on its various "levels."

Bulk material conveyors can be found in many different types of applications. In the mining field, these machines transport minerals, metals and salt out of the mines or into storage bins. In agricultural settings, a bulk material conveyor can be used to transport grains after they are harvested, or to carry animal feed or corn into storage silos. Food processing plants rely on these conveyors to carry bulk items like sugar, grains, and other high-volume goods. Finally, manufacturers that produce chemicals or pharmaceuticals can use these machines to transport dry chemicals during processing or storage.

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