Solving the Problem of Conveying Sticky Materials

Conveying sticky materials is a challenging task for both manufacturers and processors. The materials can potentially adhere to the equipment, affect its throughput negatively, and contribute to downtime due to severe material buildup. In order to convey sticky materials successfully, you need to select the right equipment that facilitates material flow and prevents them from clinging together.

Some products and materials have inherently sticky characteristics that cause them to cohere. This can be due to a number of factors like the presence of moisture or a static charge buildup. Most of these problems can be particularly acute in the food industry where transfer chutes often get clogged from materials such as trail mixes, soluble tea, and the like.

To address such sticky situations, Weba Chute Systems and Brelko Conveyor Products joined forces to provide their clients with a tailor-made solution. For over 50 years, Weba Chute Systems has been making custom-made material transfer solutions that are specific to the needs and requirements of their customers. They adopt a scientific approach in tackling the dynamics of bulk material transfer for a more efficient solution. This helps minimize equipment maintenance, facilitate transfer conditions, contribute to higher throughput, and extend conveyor belt life.

Weba Chute Systems and Brelko worked with a beverage manufacturer in Gauteng, Africa who experienced troubles with transferring sticky materials. The client had problems with chute blockages as well as high amounts of spillage. The result was several plant stoppages that hindered the manufacturer from reaching their production targets. Downtime can prove costly and such issues can sometimes be addressed only during maintenance shutdowns.

So when Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems, was tasked to solve this problem, he knew they needed the expertise of Brelko for their effective spillage control measures. After completing the on-site assessment, the proposed Brelko equipment was agreed upon to manage the material spillage while Weba Chute Systems will address the material flow issues. Baller said “Challenges at certain transfer points in the beverage manufacturing plant meant the customer was not able to operate at optimal levels”.

Weba Chute Systems focuses on developing robust transfer chute systems that can handle the requirements of the mining sector. This means that their chutes are significantly larger and more durable compared to those used in the food and beverage industry. Generally, the chutes on mines weighed 50 tons, but the custom-made transfer chute for the Gauteng-based manufacturer weighed at around only 300 kilograms.

Baller said that “The design principles remain the same. With our understanding of material flow and our in-house design capability, we could develop the most appropriate chute design for this plant.” And developed they did. Weba Chute Systems studied the requirements of the beverage plant and paid close attention to the materials used for the transfer chute like stainless steel and polyurethane components that are food-grade. They also placed a bit more emphasis on the new transfer points that were installed in an existing plant. The team engineered for an existing footprint that catered to constrained spaces and accommodated existing walls and walkways.

The significant boost in production meant that the collaborative effort between Weba Chute Systems and Brelko Conveyor Products was a massive success. Baller concluded ““Our working knowledge of Brelko products allowed us to engineer our chute solution to achieve a fit-for-purpose solution for the customer.” The sticky materials flowed freely and the amount of spillage was greatly reduced, thus allowing the beverage manufacturer to meet their production targets with little to no downtime. 

Weba Chute Systems has plenty of established offices scattered across South America, the United States, South Africa, and Australia. With their sound engineering principles and use of advanced software, they can cater to almost any requirement their client may have. They engineer their transfer chutes specifically for the intended applications of their customers, taking into account factors like material size, shape, belt width, speed, and throughput.

To ensure a fit-for-purpose transfer point solution, Weba Chute Systems promises performance guarantees that are set in accordance with application and operational parameters. Thanks to their experience and expertise, Weba Chute Systems is in prime position to provide efficient material transfer solutions regardless of which industry their client works in.