The silver casing around your diamond ring or the golden earrings that dangle by your neck both came from the same source: ore. Each material went through a similar process to reach its current form and, eventually, the arrival in your home.

The key to this manufacturing process is bulk material handling equipment. We know, it doesn’t sound as glamorous as discovering a pearl in the deep blue sea! But here’s the lowdown.

What is Bulk Material Handling Equipment?

Bulk material handling equipment moves dry materials, which exist in a loose and bulk form, from one location to another destination.

Broadly speaking, bulk material handling systems consist of a few basic parts; conveyor belts, dumpers, elevators, loaders, hoppers, and dischargers. (In addition to enabling transportation, bulk material handling systems may also provide storage or blend materials.)

This equipment may be stationary inside a factory. For instance during silver production, iron, copper and other base metals, smelting is the process by which those base metals are extracted from an ore. In a factory, ore must be moved into the furnace and out of the furnace, by way of bulk material handling equipment.

Bulk material handling equipment can sometimes take the form of a large tool that is used at a port to load bulk solid materials onto ships. Such a version is called a shiploader. Usually, those designs are comprised of an extendable arm or boom, and then the materials are transferred from the feeder to the end destination on a belt conveyor.   The materials move either on or off the ship. Pretty simple, right?

What Materials Does Bulk Material Handling Equipment Move?

Materials—those that are being transferred at ports or in factories—run the gamut. Bulk material handling equipment is used to move rock, minerals, parts and other bulky bits. The specifics include everything and anything from ores and coal to logs, wood chips, sand, and sawdust at sawmills. The materials being moved could also include loads at paper mills and flour mills, gravel and stone, or factories with coal-fired boilers. Likewise, bulk material handling equipment can also be utilized to handle mixed wastes.

Can you even imagine what people did without bulk material handling equipment?

Bulk material handling equipment simplifies a labor-intensive process, which saves money and time for everyone. General Kinematics creates equipment that is designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize the need for maintenance. As a result, downtime is reduced, giving you an advantage on costs and time.

In a long queue of designs, options vary so that each design pairs well with the material that needs to be moved. For example, Vibrating Fluid Bed Processors are ideal for heating, drying, cooling, coating or elutriation. They use a process, by which vibrations agitate the materials to move them, and gas is passed through the material bed to suspend the material in a fluidized state. Another fashion is Industrial Packaging Equipment and Machinery, which suits a wide variety of operational and logistical needs. Packaging Equipment and Machinery includes even more specific styles of machines, like a bulk bag discharger, which uses vibratory action to dislodge and break apart clumps and sticky product.

These designs of bulk material handling equipment, are like a family tree. GK continues to develop new and innovative features depending on the bulk materials that need to be moved. Reach out to General Kinematics today to discuss your bulk material needs!
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  • Amy Donahue

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