A bucket elevator can elevate a variety of bulk materials from light to heavy and from fine to large lumps.
A centrifugal discharge elevator may be vertical or inclined. Vertical elevators depend entirely on centrifugal force to get the material into the discharge chute, and so must be run at a relatively high speed. Inclined elevators with buckets spaced apart or set close together may have the discharge chute set partly under the head pulley. Since they do not depend entirely on centrifugal force to put the material into the chute, their speed may be slower.
Nearly all centrifugal discharge elevators have spaced buckets with rounded bottoms. They pick up their load from a boot, a pit, or a pile of material at the foot pulley.
The buckets can be also triangular in cross section and set close together on the belt with little or no clearance between them. This is a continuous bucket elevator. Its main use is to carry difficult materials[clarification needed] at slow speed.
Early bucket elevators used a flat chain with small, steel buckets attached every few inches. While some elevators are still manufactured with a chain and steel buckets, most current bucket elevators use a rubber belt with plastic buckets. Pulleys several feet in diameter are used at the top and bottom. The top pulley is driven by an electric motor.
The bucket elevator is the enabling technology that permitted the construction of grain elevators. A diverter at the top of the elevator allows the grain to be sent to the chosen bin.
Capacity Increase & Weight Reduction – Non-metallic buckets reduce weight on elevator up to 80% while achieving up to 25% more capacity than cast iron buckets.
Construction – Non-metallic buckets are available with non-corrosive, non-sparking properties. Constructed with thicker walls and heavy front digging lip, various materials of construction offer heat, impact and abrasion resistance.