In Bulk Materials Handling

Bulk Materials Handling: DEM Impact Analysis Conveyor Chute Design Comparison

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Frank Soto

DEM (discrete element modelling) is a powerful technique used to model particle flow in the design of bulk materials handling equipment. Insights gained from DEM analyses can help design more efficient equipment and transfer chutes. Among others, DEM is useful in predicting bulk materials flow patterns and flow rates; wear patterns; and velocity profiles relative to the conveyor equipment and transfer chutes.

In the mining and metals industries, as well as the agricultural and food industries, DEM helps in the evaluation and optimisation of equipment including transfer chutes, feeders, mills and crushers. Advanced DEM software allows simulation of flow patterns and equipment wear and comparison of design changes. SOTO predominantly use Rocky DEM software

SOTO Engineers have recently conducted a comparative analysis of two types of chutes to be used in the same location. Two options that SOTO had recommended was a curved hood and spoon and a rock-box design. The DEM was used to assess and optimise the material flow and impact energy of the proposed chute transfer options.

The following is the proposed SOTO curved chute design

It can be seen from the above image that the material flow from the upper conveyor first impacts the hood, then drops on the intermediate chute (IMC), and then flows through the chute onto the lower conveyor.

The Rock Box Chute Design option shown below effectively only has only 2 impact zones.

The selection of images below is taken from the SOTO analysis using the Rocky DEM Advanced Particle Simulator. In the Rock Box design, most of the areas are blue in colour, showing that the impact is of low intensity on most areas. The maximum impact intensity in the Rock Box design was found to be considerably less than the Curved Chute design. The higher impact energy will generally lead to higher wear rates of the chute material and in some cases result in higher degradation of the material being transferred through the chute.

Impact Zones @ Rock Box Design

Impact Zones @ Curved chute Design


The following is another comparative analysis conducted of curved vs rockbox design for another conveyor transfer.


Impact Zones @ Rock box Design


Impact Zones @ Curved chute Design

More details of the impact analysis, a standout example of the technical prowess of the SOTO DEM team, can be seen in the video [LINK HERE] generated for the complete run time.


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