If you need to move bulk materials vertically, you will likely consider using a bucket elevator system. For mining, construction, or power plant companies, bucket elevators provide an ideal solution for moving all manner of bulk materials, including cement, coal, fertilizers, and building materials.

However, how do you go about selecting a suitable bucket elevator system? Read on to discover more about bucket elevators and how you should choose one.

What is the bucket elevator?

The primary function of a belt bucket elevator is to move bulk materials vertically. Being in closed systems, they are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Therefore, they have utility in a wide range of industries and situations.

Bucket elevators offer users for main advantages, as follows:

  • Customizable. 
  • Small footprint.
  • Diversity of use.
  • High capacity.

Classification of bucket elevators

There are two types of bucket elevators, continuous or centrifugal. Either of these options can be belt or chain-driven. Let’s take a look at these classifications in a bit more detail

  • Centrifugal bucket elevators. 

This option is your first choice if you need to move large material loads quickly. With these elevators, the bucket serves as the loader. Therefore you should ensure you also have highly durable buckets in the configuration. Ideal materials to move with a centrifugal bucket elevator include gravel, sand, wood chips, and the like.

  • Continuous bucket elevators. 

These elevators are more suitable for moving materials you want to avoid or minimize damage. An inlet shoot feeds continuous bucket elevators, and the discharge process is designed to be gentle. This option is ideal for moving fragile materials.

  • Belt-driven. 

This method is more cost-effective but is only suitable for lighter loads.

  • Chain-driven. 

A more heavy-duty method, chain-driven elevators are likely necessary when moving large, hot, or rugged materials.

Identifying the correct bucket elevator system for your situation can be challenging. Therefore, you should consider the following factors when selecting your supplier:

  • Flexibility.

Are they prepared to consider your unique circumstances? Can they develop a bespoke bucket elevator?

  • Previous experience in your sector. 

Have they supplied your industry previously? What materials do they specialize in?

  • Quality of manufacture. 

Your bucket elevator should be manufactured to specific standards. It should provide you with a high-quality, low-maintenance, and high-reliability solution.

  • After-sales support. 

Your bucket elevator is a significant investment, so you want it to last. Therefore, ensure you select a supplier that can provide after-sales support for installation, training, servicing, and spares.

Application scope of belt bucket elevators.

Bucket elevators are ideal for vertically moving a wide range of bulk materials. Their flexibility makes them suitable for many industries. Commonly, they can be found in power plants, steel production facilities, paper mills, and fertilizer plants.

Some of the most common bulk materials are used to move include the following:

  • Sand
  • Coal
  • Coke
  • Potash
  • Woodchips
  • Aggregate
  • Cement 
  • Fertilizer 
  • Lime

Common problems when using the bucket elevator.

Bucket elevators conveyor are not without their issues. When using a bucket elevator, common problems you may find include maintenance, mess, and jams.

  • Maintenance.

Bucket elevators are complex machines. As such, they have a multitude of parts, gears, and components, all of which require maintenance. For instance, you must ensure correct speeds, tensions, and alignments are correct. Also, cleaning the machine to ensure a smooth operation can be challenging, mainly when working with certain materials.

  • Mess and Wastage. 

A common issue is a belt coming off-track. Poor belt tracking can result in worn buckets, which are then unable to hold material so well. The result is a mess of material that is either discarded, resulting in wastage, or cleaned up, which takes time. Even when buckets are in good order, the elevator can become messy. That’s because, over time, material accumulates around the buckets and belt sections.

  • Jams and blockages. 

Certainly, the granular nature of many of the materials commonly moved by a bucket elevator makes them prone to jams and blockages. For example, typical areas of blockages include the equipment frame, chain links, belt, and other moving parts. They can also occur due to material build-up in the bucket elevator housing, eventually clogging the machine. As a result, jams and blockages can halt production. Therefore, it is essential to get them cleared as soon as possible.


Without a doubt, bucket elevators conveyor provide an excellent means of moving bulk material vertically. Moreover, you can have them customized to meet a wide range of requirements in many industries and move many different materials.

Deciding to purchase a bucket elevator is a significant investment decision. Therefore, you should take time to ensure you select the suitable machine for the job. Hopefully, this article will help you choose a bucket elevator system to meet your needs.

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