The Effect Of Temperature On Bulk Material Handling Systems

Understanding the effect of temperature on your bulk material handling system is crucial if you want to maintain your system effectively. While temperature fluctuations are normal in a pneumatic conveying system, they should be within the rated range of your components in order to avoid excess wear and tear. This article explains the relationship between heat and the life expectancy of your bulk material handling system. 


What Is Bulk Material Handling?

Bulk material handling is simply the method of transporting bulk materials across certain areas via conveying systems, like conveyor belts. Bulk material handling is simultaneously a field of engineering that’s focused on designing equipment for industrial purposes, such as in the construction, mining, and manufacturing industries.

Some examples of bulk material handling equipment include:

  • Hoppers
  • Stackers
  • Toploaders
  • Bulk tankers
  • Conveyor belts
  • Pneumatic systems
  • Storage silos 




Bulk materials refer to any type of material that is in the form of powder, granules, or lumps, and can freely move or slide. Because of gravitational action, most types of bulk materials naturally form mountain-like heaps when poured on a flat surface. This sight will be familiar to most as large mounds of coal or sand in stockyards.

In addition to sand and coal, other examples of bulk materials include:


Why Does Temperature Affect A Bulk Material Handling System?

Designing bulk powder handling equipment involves considering the various factors that contribute to wear and tear. Heat is a major factor that affects the wear and tear process of bulk handling systems. This is because the moving parts create constant friction, which, at high speeds, can generate a lot of heat. In pneumatic systems, the pressure created by moving air inside the tubes or pipes can also cause the temperature to rise.

When subjected to high amounts of heat, metals expand. This means that some components may become misaligned, stuck, cracked, or even bent. Extreme heat is particularly problematic with a pneumatic system, where the flow rate of bulk materials can be drastically affected. Therefore, it’s crucial to the longevity of your equipment that you know the dangers temperature can pose. 


How Temperature Can Affect Bulk Handling Systems

As we’ve just outlined, bulk material conveyor systems, whether mechanical or pneumatic, may break down if subjected to extreme heat. Metal components may expand and become malleable. All of this can cause severe damage to your bulk handling system if you don’t know what to look out for. 

So, here are several ways temperature can affect the performance of your bulk handling system:

  • Metal expansion and contraction: Extreme temperatures can cause the metal components of your bulk material handling system to undergo periods of expansion and contraction. Metals expand when heated, and contract when temperatures reduce.
  • Deformation and misalignment: The expansion-contraction cycles of metal components can result in them becoming deformed and misaligned inside dry bulk handling systems. Gears, conveyor belts, and motors may not efficiently function if this happens.
  • Cracking and bursting of gaskets: Extreme heat may also lead to the cracking and bursting of gaskets. If components are ceramic-coated, the ceramic may also crack as the metal expands and contracts.
  • Impeded flows: Heat can impede the flow of bulk materials. Clogging and lumping of your product may be the result of high temperatures and humidity levels. Lumped materials may then struggle to pass through the hoppers and filter receivers.
  • Melting of bulk materials: Some bulk materials, like sugar and detergent, are susceptible to melting and caking if subjected to certain temperature thresholds. This will inevitably cause flowability problems.
  • Electrostatic buildup: Fast-moving bulk materials, like grains, passing through pneumatic tubes and elbows can cause electrostatic build-up due to frictional heat. This can happen both among the particles as well as on the inner surfaces of tubes.

The integrity and life expectancy of bulk material handling systems can be maintained by avoiding extreme temperatures. One way of doing this is by ensuring that your bulk handling system includes proper ventilation and internal climate control for temperature and humidity. By being more aware of how heat can impact your handling equipment, you will ultimately improve its longevity.

At Progressive Products, we won’t sell you anything you don’t need – contact us today to find the right solution for you.


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