Bulk material handling
Bulk material handling is an engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 field that is centered around the design of equipment used for the handling of dry materials such as ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

s, coal, cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, wood chips, sand, gravel and stone in loose bulk form. It can also relate to the handling of mixed waste
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste; such as urea, sweat or feces. Litter is waste which has been disposed of improperly...


Bulk material handling systems are typically composed of stationary machinery such as conveyor belt
Conveyor belt
A conveyor belt consists of two or more pulleys, with a continuous loop of material - the conveyor belt - that rotates about them. One or both of the pulleys are powered, moving the belt and the material on the belt forward. The powered pulley is called the drive pulley while the unpowered pulley...

s, screw conveyor
Screw conveyor
A screw conveyor or auger conveyor is a mechanism that uses a rotating helical screw blade, called a "flighting", usually within a tube, to move liquid or granular materials. They are used in many bulk handling industries...

s, stacker
A stacker is a large machine used in bulk material handling. Its function is to pile bulk material such as limestone, ores and cereals on to a stockpile. A reclaimer can be used to recover the material....

s, reclaimer
A reclaimer is a large machine used in bulk material handling applications. A reclaimer's function is to recover bulk material such as ores and cereals from a stockpile...

s, bucket elevator
Bucket elevator
A bucket elevator, also called a grain leg, is a mechanism for hauling flowable bulk materials vertically.It consists of:# Buckets to contain the material;# A belt to carry the buckets and transmit the pull;...

s, truck dumpers, railcar dumpers or wagon tipplers
Rotary car dumper
A rotary car dumper or wagon tippler is a mechanism used for unloading certain railroad cars such as hopper cars, gondolas or lorries . It holds the rail car to a section of track and rotates the track and car together to dump out the contents. Used with gondola cars, it is making open hopper cars...

, shiploader
A Shiploader is a huge machine used for loading bulk solid materials like iron ore, coal, fertilizers, grains into marine vessels for transportation by sea. Shiploaders are a very common sight in ports and jetties from where bulk materials are exported....

s, hoppers and diverters and various mobile equipment such as loaders
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

, various shuttle
The original meaning of the word shuttle is the device used in weaving to carry the weft. By reference to the continual to-and-fro motion associated with that, the term was then applied in transportation and then in other spheres...

s, combined with storage facilities such as stockyards
A feedlot or feedyard is a type of animal feeding operation which is used in factory farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations . They...

, storage silo
A silo is a structure for storing bulk materials.Silo may also refer to:* Silo , a 3D modeling software* Silo , a defunct chain of retail electronics stores* SILO , used in Linux...

s or stockpile
A stockpile is a pile or storage location for bulk materials, forming part of the bulk material handling process.Stockpiles are used in many different areas, such as in a port, refinery or manufacturing facility. The stockpile is normally created by a stacker. A reclaimer is used to recover the...

s. Advanced bulk material handling systems feature integrated bulk storage, conveying, and discharge.

The purpose of a bulk material handling facility may be to transport material from one of several locations (i.e. a source) to an ultimate destination or to process material such as ore in concentrating and smelting or handling materials for manufacturing such as logs, wood chips and sawdust at sawmills and paper mills. Other industries using bulk materials handling include flour mills and coal fired utility boilers.

Providing storage and inventory control and possibly material blending is usually part of a bulk material handling system.

In ports handling large quantities of bulk materials continuous ship unloaders are replacing gantry crane
Gantry crane
Gantry cranes, bridge cranes, and overhead cranes, are all types of cranes which lift objects by a hoist which is fitted in a hoist trolley and can move horizontally on a rail or pair of rails fitted under a beam...


Other materials handling classifications (non-bulk)

Non-bulk materials handling classifications include palletization and containerization
Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers...

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