Agribusiness & Food

4B’s buckets help SunRice’s continuous improvement

Materials handling manufacturer 4B was contracted to provide engineering, design guidance and component supply as part of SunRice’s improvement programme.

SunRice, one of Australia’s largest branded food exporters, was looking to upgrade its older steel bucket elevators, as part of a continuous improvement programme.

The older style steel buckets had a very inefficient geometry, which lead to poor discharge of the material. Trials soon began, using several types of CC polyurethane buckets, which all proved to be inefficient to the point where throughput decreased by 40 tonnes per hour. Wear damage to the casings had also occurred, through the recirculation of the materials.

The agricultural cooperative reached out to 4B, a manufacturer of materials handling components, to provide engineering and design guidance and component supply for the project.

As part of the contract, 4B was required to provide suitable system belt speeds, adjustments to outlet chutes and select a suitable polymer style bucket that would not compromise the capacity of the system and operations.

A complete and thorough evaluation was undertaken of belt and pulley speeds, discharge efficiencies and actual volumetric filling factors of individual buckets. This was then assessed against the existing discharge chute design, which favoured the older style steel fabricated buckets.

The actual centripetal acceleration that was expected to occur with the modern polymer buckets was calculated and then cross referenced with the vertical and horizontal distances available within the existing discharge chute.

The combined results provided 4B Engineers with the exact information required to select a suitable bucket, adjust the angle of the outlet chute, and apply a belt speed reduction, which increased individual volumetric filling.

The versatile 4B Super Starco (SPS) bucket provided the best results due to wide range of speeds that it can be utilised in on most elevator applications. In this instance, the elevator had been designed around an old bucket that was now considered inefficient in performance and costly to manufacture.

The 4B solution delivered the benefits the customer was looking to achieve with their continuous improvement programme, eliminated backlegging and chute wear while maintaining origin design capacity.

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