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Using Grain Handling Equipment For Transporting Bulk Material

Many pieces of grain handling equipment are needed to get this bulk material from the silo to the factory and from one processing machine to another. Once the kernels arrive at the facility, they need to be cleaned and separated from contaminants and overly small or large edibles. Only after this is done can the material be converted to food products like white or whole wheat flour. Conveyors and separators that work on bulk cereals must be efficient, reliable, and gentle on the material, or they may cause breakage. For this reason, most processing facilities use conveyors that are specifically calibrated for working with these kernels.

Grain handling equipment is first used to transport the material in and out of the storage silo. Bucket elevators are typically employed when depositing harvested kernels into the silo. These devices are vertical conveyors that consist of a series of small buckets fixed to a large belt. A motor drives the belt and maneuvers the buckets into place in front of a feed shaft. Material is deposited into the bucket, which travels to the top of the conveyor and drops its load onto a second shaft at the top. When this material needs to be removed and transported to a processing facility, a sweep auger is normally used. A sweep auger consists of a large screw-like device that pushes the kernels to a chute at the bottom of the silo. Sweep augers are also useful when conveying powders or liquids.

Once the kernels arrive at the processing facility, grain handling equipment is used to clean, separate and move them around the plant. Several conveyor types are employed for transporting bulk materials like cereal kernels. One of the most common conveyors used in these plants is a vibratory conveyor. These devices consist of a trough that is subtly vibrated by a motor. The small undulations propel the kernels forward without damaging them. They are also extremely durable and can be used in harsh working environments without breaking down. Drag conveyors are also common pieces of grain handling equipment. These models are chain-driven and use panels to push bulk materials toward a feed chute or other conveyor.

Several machines are also used to separate and clean the material prior to processing
. Scalperators consist of a rotating mesh screen that properly sized kernels are able to pass through. Rocks, tramp iron and abnormally sized kernels are caught by the mesh and removed. Aspirators are machines that employ gentle blasts of pressurized air to remove straw and other light inedible material attached to the kernel. Length graders are pieces of grain handling equipment that are designed with multiple grooved discs. These grooved discs only pick up kernels that meet proper size standards. Other kernels are rejected and removed.

Other separators, like magnetic separators, are used to remove dangerous contaminants like iron particles
. Iron contamination may consist of tramp iron, like nails and wire, or particles so fine they can’t be seen. Magnetic separators can be installed anywhere and pull ferrous material out of the product stream, maintaining food safety.

From the fields to the grocery store, many machines are required to keep grains moving along and safe enough for human consumption.

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