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How to choose a conveyor
Your guide to finding the best conveyor solution for your project
Conveyors come in all shapes and sizes and, whether you’re hiring or buying, you need to make sure it’s the right machine for the job. Choosing a conveyor isn’t straightforward.
It’s not as simple as saying “I want to move rubble 5m so therefore I need X”, because if it’s 5m up a hill then you’ll need a different conveyor and belt than if it’s 5m on a flat. It also depends how you’re loading the conveyor (an excavator will mean the conveyor needs to manage a higher throughput than if you’re loading by hand) and other factors too.
To help you select the conveyor that’ll best suit your purposes, we’ve put together this checklist of the 8 questions to ask when specifying a conveyor.
1. What kind of material do you want to move?
The type of conveyor and belt you need depends on the kind of material you’re moving. All materials convey differently so you’ll need a different belt for excavated spoils compared to, say, dewatered sludge. This one question alone can’t define the conveyor, but it’s the first question we ask because it’s the best place to start when building a picture of your application.
2. How will you be loading the conveyor?
Conveyors are designed to be loaded continuously, for example via another conveyor. However, they can also be loaded by bulk delivery, for example via wheeled plant or excavator, if you add a large feed hopper. If you’re loading using a small machine or Bobcat then you might be able to get away with a smaller hopper, depending on the kind of material you’re loading and if you're willing to trickle feed. And if you’re loading by hand then you might not need any additional equipment at all. The way you load the conveyor will also affect the throughput of material. Knowing the loading method and the kind of material you want to move, we can determine the size and width of the conveyor you need. We can move as much as 500 tonnes per hour or as little as 10 tonnes a week, dependent on the application.
3. Is there an incline?
And if there is, how steep is it? It may be that you need to get your material over something, or you may need to discharge your material into a lorry or skip that is higher than the starting point. How steep the conveyor needs to be will affect what type of belt you need. If the conveyor is on an incline then you might need a chevron belt or a flighted belt to carry the material up the slope.
4. How far do you need to move the material and what is the route like?
Needing to move material 10m doesn’t automatically mean one 10m conveyor. You might need two or three conveyors to get around corners or avoid obstacles. To specify a solution we need a complete picture of what the site is like. • Is there an incline and, if so, where is it? • Will the length of the run need to be shared by more than one conveyor? • Are there any obstacles? Does the material have to come through a window or along a narrow path? Are there steels, walls, piles, lintels, sills or anything else in the way? All these things are relevant when choosing the right conveyor – or series of conveyors – for the job.
5. Where is it discharging and what will you be discharging into?
A skip, a lorry, a trailer, a pile? How and where you want to discharge affects how we install the conveyor and how high the discharge will be. If we do a drawing for you (which we usually do) then we’ll also add the discharge method in so you can visualise how the system will work.
6. What power supply do you have available?
Is it 110V or 415V? The power supply affects the achievable length of the conveyor: 110V isn’t enough to power our longest conveyors. If you have a long run and you only have 110V available then you’ll need more conveyors. Added to that, some of our units don’t come in 110V so we don’t want to send you kit that won’t work on your site.
If you don't have a power supply available then we can provide a generator (or if you have 110V but you need more). You'll also need to consider the distance between your power supply and the conveyor as the motor will struggle if the current drops too much.
7. How do you plan to support the conveyor?
If it’s being built onto site then you need some kind of support. Conveyors are versatile pieces of kit and don’t need anything complicated in terms of support. It could be scaffolding, trestles, hung from something, or a self-supporting unit sitting on concrete. Think about what will work best on your site and we can work around that. We also supply mobile conveyors if you’ll need it to be moved around. Talk to us about what you want to achieve and we’ll help you work out the best way to do this.
8. What site access is there?
This is less important than a lot of people think. It's useful to know what access there is as we might need to bring the conveyor in pieces and assemble it on-site. However, awkward site access hardly ever prevents us getting the kit on site. If we’re installing it, can we get to where it needs to be? If you’re unloading it, how will you get it to where you need it? We also need to know if there are any vehicle restrictions on site. Some sites will only accept FORS and so we need to know this. Some sites can’t get a large wagon in so we have to bring the kit in smaller vans. Let us know if there are special specifications for our delivery vehicles so we can make sure we get you up and running without any fuss.
Need more help? Call us on 0800 915 9195 or click here to drop us an email.