With 32 years’ experience in bulk materials handling, I’ve seen how often the process is treated as an afterthought.
All too often, the clients we deal with focus on getting the mixer bottomed out first and leave the handling systems until later. It’s either that, or they prioritise the building construction.

I’m sure sometimes there’s a need for this approach, but you’d be foolish to leave handling out of your thought process.

The bulk storage, conveying, local day bins, dosing, weighing, feeding and minor ingredients systems all come together to form a ‘core processes’. They make up a large part of the overall investment, and due to their widespread, disparate and often complex nature, they can be the biggest part.

It takes a great degree of specialist knowledge and skills to deliver them, especially when you take into account the wildly different and changeable material characteristics.

Bespoke, engineered solutions are often the only way to ensure their success.

This means not compromising on the basic building blocks of handling systems, and not imposing avoidable constraints. For example, a little extra height in a structure could help you benefit from completely free “gravity-feed”, instead of potentially expensive, time-consuming extra steps.

If you don’t focus on handling systems at the right time, you can often end up suffering from ‘schedule squeeze’.
Going over time in other decisions when you’ve got a fixed end-date to aim for means you run out of time for raw ingredients systems to be designed, supplied, installed and commissioned. This could even include the total control system, which also impacts on other suppliers’ equipment.

This will all lead to last minute software delivery without time for thorough testing, having a potentially catastrophic knock-on effect in the form of commissioning delays.

That fixed end-date can easily be blown out the water.

My appeal to everyone reading this is to give bulk material handling the higher profile it deserves. I’m positive you’ll see the benefits.

Zeppelin are here and ready to help. If you’d like to get us involved at the early stages of your project development, we’ll show you those benefits every step of the way.

David Scott
Managing Director
Zeppelin Systems UK Limited