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Bucket Elevator Design: Centrifugal Vs. Continuous

This article was co-authored by:

Tim Matzke
Material Handling Expert

Greg Makos
Technical Writer

When selecting a bucket elevator, the goal is to allow for the most
efficient process flow possible. In order do this, it is important to
understand the design functions of each piece of equipment and how
they affect the material that is being handled. Two different elevator
designs are manufactured at FEECO: centrifugal and continuous. Both
are designed to move material vertically, with each offering distinct

Centrifugal Bucket Elevators

The centrifugal style elevator has the ability to move large amounts of
material quickly, and works great for durable and abrasive materials like sand, gravel, and other free flowing bulk

The centrifugal style elevator starts by scooping material from the boot or inlet section; this action requires a durable
bucket (see Bucket Style Selection for more information). Due to the high speed of operation; this elevator generates
centrifugal force at the head pulley. This force throws the material out of the bucket and into the discharge chute as
shown in figure 1. The launching and digging actions of this design run the risk of damaging fragile material, so this
style is not recommended when handling more delicate materials.

Centrifugal style elevators are available in either belt or chain drive. The elevator shown in figure 1 is setup with AC
style buckets mounted on a belt drive system. Due to belt stretch and chain strength, both systems have some
restrictions when they reach immense heights. FEECO can assist in fine-tuning the technical details to ensure
efficiency for the specific requirements.

Continuous Bucket Elevators

Conversely, the continuous elevator is designed to operate at a slower speed to eliminate the throwing action, and is
therefore better suited for gentle material handling.

With a continuous style elevator, buckets are specifically designed to act as part of the discharge chute when
inverted as shown in figure 2. The material pours out of the bucket and slides down the inverted bucket ahead into
the discharge chute. Even though the buckets will scoop up some material from the boot, this elevator is designed
with a higher feed inlet to allow the majority of material to flow directly into the buckets. In all, the design of this
elevator greatly reduces the damage and degradation of more fragile and friable materials. Additionally, this design is
beneficial when the product is light and/or fluffy and needs to avoid aeration. (To learn more about selecting an
elevator design based on material, see Everything you Need to Know about Bucket Elevator Design ) The elevator
design depicted in figure 2 is setup with the medium front mounted on a belt drive system.

FEECO has over 60 years of experience in the engineering, designing, and manufacturing of bucket elevators.
Where most elevator manufacturers rely on modular designs, at FEECO, we understand that each material has
specific requirements. In many cases, a custom solution is the key to an innovative and efficient bucket elevator.
Collaborating with our customers, as well as our in house experts (R&D, engineering, and design), we can create the
best possible result to suit the customer’s unique handling system needs.

For more information, contact us today.

FEECO International, Inc. Toll Free: (800) 373.9347 Phone: (920)

468.1000 Email: sales@feeco.com

Figure 1
Figure 2


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