Conveying Cereal: Challenges & Solutions

Cereal producers have many important factors to consider when choosing a conveying solution.   The product can be fragile, the environment can be dusty, and most conveyors are too rough to meet even the most minimal requirements for product loss and degradation.

Over the past decade, WIESE has become the partner of choice for cereal producers. We have learned that choosing a conveyor for cereal means choosing a supplier that understands all the issues, including:

1. Product Loss and Damage

Perhaps the biggest challenge in conveying cereal is finding a solution that works without damaging the finished food product itself. Many solutions claim to be ‘gentle handling’, but are they?

Pneumatic and ‘drag’ conveyors, for example, claim to handle product gently, but they also create friction and changes to velocity that can generate a lot of ‘fines’ and damage to product. Layouts that require a change of direction, such as a 90-degree transition from horizontal to vertical, can be particularly damaging to delicate product.

Pneumatic systems also rely on indirect observation (fan, airspeed) to control critical parameters such as target velocity, and sudden increases in velocity can result in breakage.

Solution: WIESE Pendulum (P-Type) Bucket Elevators

WIESE’s P-Type (Pendulum) bucket elevators are specifically designed to meet the challenges of handling fragile products, like cereal. The bucket belt is built from free swinging buckets, mounted between the two rubber chains and can be tilted at any location by pneumatic or electrical bucket tipping devices with feedback signals. To avoid product loss at the various possible metered inlet locations, the buckets overlap like a closed belt.

All of this insures that during transport, the product remains safely undisturbed in the bucket.

2. Dust

Not only are cereals themselves dusty, but their ingredients, such as grain and sugar, pose well-documented challenges as well. While dust can be inconvenient in a production environment, of particular concern are dust combustion hazards. Static electricity can ignite a combustible dust cloud inside a conveyor system if the minimum ignition energy of the dust is very low.

So-called ‘tube systems’ are problematic for these applications as well. Powder and dust conveyed at high speeds through metal pipes and ducting can build up an electrostatic charge in the dust and potentially ignite. These ‘dust explosions’ can cause catastrophic damage to facilities and staff.

Solution: WIESE Pendulum (P-Type) Bucket Elevators

For systems at risk of dust explosions, WIESE offers continuous pendulum bucket elevators with ATEX certification. ATEX is the name given to the European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres.

For especially dusty applications, WIESE also offers special features such as:
• Rubber coated support rollers
• Pneumatic nozzles that keep dust off of the rubber chain and buckets
• Outlets/openings for exhaust/dust suction
• Dust-tight casing and drawer options

3. Product Contamination

The more complex the conveyor, the more difficult it is to clean.

Food processing facilities have a lot of moving parts, and it is more important than ever to make sure your product hitting shelves is safe and free from adulteration. Keeping foreign matter from entering the process stream, and maintaining a clean environment are critical objectives in achieving this goal. That is why it is of utmost importance to use conveying equipment that can be thoroughly and quickly cleaned.

Many of the most common conveying solutions such as screw conveyors or belt conveyors, utilize closed structures designed to protect workers from the inner movement of the components. While effective, these closed-casings makes it difficult to monitor the product stream for contaminants

Solution: WIESE Pendulum (P-Type) Bucket Elevators

Sanitary conveying systems must be easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble. To meet the hygienic demands of the food industry, WIESE has developed a sanitary, open-frame design for their elevators. In these models, a framework of fully welded, tubular stainless steel replaces the standard closed metal casing. This eliminates any ‘dead spots’ and difficult to access areas within the elevator, improving cleaning time and overall hygiene.

WIESE’s sanitary design models come with stainless steel or polycarbonate covers, both locked with casement fasteners that require a key for access. This ensures workers are protected by complying with proper lockout/tagout, while having a design that is more open and visible.

In addition to their clean overall design, WIESE’s elevators also feature several other hygienic benefits:
• WIESE’s chain itself is made of rubber, making it very hygienic (no lubrication required, no risk of metal pieces/shavings)
• WIESE’s pendulum style elevator features buckets that are removable without tools – this makes the exchange of buckets for cleaning very quick and easy.
• CIP (to clean buckets in place) is available as an option.

If you are a cereal producer that is looking for a supplier who understands the specific demands of this industry, WIESE is your partner of choice. To learn more about our equipment options and how we can help your next cereal project, please contact us directly.

Chaus Davids

Chaus Davids

Sales Associate

Header photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

by | May 3, 2021 | Bucket Elevators

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