21 September 2019

Table of Contents for Industry Focus: Bulk Material Handling Equipment

Industry Focus: Bulk Material Handling Equipment

Bulking up

Growing on the back of fast paced industrialisation & urbanisation, allied industries in the construction space are reaping fruits of labour. One such industry which is coming of age is the bulk material handling industry, which has been registering a stupendous performance latterly. Supported by new age technology advancements, this segment is set to up the construction ante in future reports Prerna Sharma.


As per the recent market research reports, the global market for bulk material handling products & technologies offered an opportunity worth $58.86 bn in 2015. Analysts project this market to expand at a CAGR of 1.30 per cent between 2016 and 2024 and reach a value of $65.74 bn by the end of 2024.The worldwide bulk material handling products and technologies market is spread across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Rest of the World that includes the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Europe has been leading this market for quite some time and is expected to retain the prime position over the next few years. In 2015, the Europe market for bulk material handling products and technologies accounted for a share of 34.4 per cent in the overall market.


Germany, among all the European markets, has emerged as the most attractive market for bulk material handling products and technologies. The increasing demand for industrial automation, which require extensive usage of bulk material handling equipment, rise in mass production methods, such as assembly line production, and the growing need for bulk equipment in the construction industry has boosted this domestic market substantially.


Among other regional markets, Asia Pacific is showing signs of strong growth. The Asia Pacific market for bulk material handling products and technologies is largely acquired by China, which is one of the most prominent domestic bulk material handling products and technologies market across the world. Researchers expect the china market to expand considerably in the years to come and have a significant impact on the Asia Pacific market. The market in North America, on the other hand, is anticipated to experience sluggish rise over the forthcoming years.




Demand trends

The degree of competition is high within this market as these companies aggressively involve into mergers, acquisitions, and business alliances to strengthen their visibility. Over the coming years, players are likely to focus more on product innovation, development, and implementation of advanced technologies, which is likely to intensify the competition between them.


While solid bulk materials account for the majority of the market with 89.8 per cent share, there is a growing demand for powder bulk materials, such as cement and fertilisers from the construction and agricultural sectors. The demand for powder bulk material is on the rise owing to the growing need for cement from the construction industry and fertilisers from the agriculture industry. Growth in industrial automation and an increase in the assembly line concept and mass production methodology will propel the growth of this segment in the future.


Machines capable of handling bulk materials – especially those containing hazardous waste – are in high demand in these areas. Furthermore, bulk material and bulk powder processing are entering the assembly line in the manufacturing sector, requiring the aid of conveyer system to meet the production capacity.




Sectors aiding growth

The chemical, construction, food & beverages, energy, mining, oil & gas, metals, pharmaceuticals, and the plastics industries are the key end users of bulk material handling products and technologies across the world. The demand for these products and technologies has been the most prominent from the mining industry, which has been closely followed by the construction and the chemical industries. According to analysts, the scenario is likely to remain so in the near future.


The increase in automation in the manufacturing companies is driving the growth of the market; as the bulk material handling equipment is an integral part of the automation process. The need of assembly line in the manufacturing sector is also driving the bulk material handling products and technologies market. Assembly line requires the aid of conveyer system to meet the production. However, high initial cost and low technological penetration are the major restraints in the growth of global bulk material handling products & technologies market.



Advancements shaping up

Over the years, the techniques of handling and transporting bulk material have evolved significantly in response to technological advancements and changing consumer requirements. Belt conveyor technology is the most extensively used at coal handling stations of power plants, bulk cargo handling ports and at mine loading stations. While short-distance conveyor belts have been popular since the 1960s, long distance applications are fast gaining popularity due to reasonable capex, low land requirement, high reliability and low operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.


Meanwhile, advances in material technology have helped increase the strength-to-weight ratio of belts, reduced the span requirement, and improved their thermal stability. Belts are now manufactured from new materials like polyester polyamide and aramid fibres, which provide the same strength as steel-chord belts at a much lower weight. Low rolling resistance belts have also been designed to substantially reduce the energy requirements and costs of conveyor systems.


System designs have also started incorporating protection systems comprising induction loops and coils, along with external sensors, transmitters and receivers, to improve productivity and reliability while reducing O&M costs. There is also a growing demand for the integration of automation technologies to enable precise process control and monitoring of conveyor systems. The focus is on centralised integrated operation, mining conveyor control programs, remote access, ERP integration, and wireless data communication.


Consumers are now seeking the installation of smarter conveyor systems, scientifically designed and engineered to cater to their specific needs. Despite higher upfront costs, such systems have lower lifetime costs owing to lower operational costs, as well as higher productivity and energy efficiency. The challenge for the conveyor system manufacturing industry going forward is not only to build more capacity to meet demand, but also to understand and cater to emerging consumer expectations of larger capacities, greater reliability, mechanised control and improved energy efficiency. The standard setting and regulatory process also needs to accommodate and encourage new-generation conveyor solutions and alternative technologies.




Is the road to growth smooth enough?

The selection of the right components for the optimisation of internal processes is decisive for the efficiency and safety of your transportation systems. The challenges of conveying and processing dry bulk material are often not readily apparent to processors when selecting bulk material equipment. The consideration of factors that are attributed to equipment size and selection focus on bulk density; minimum/maximum partial size; particle properties; environmental considerations – humidity, toxicity, ambient temperatures, shipping distance, etc. one most also consider the type of material before selecting the equipment whether it’s chemical, organic, inorganic, food-based, pharmaceutical or nutraceutical, or agricultural, etc.


These are just some of the foundational elements considered when equipment is selected for conveying, feeding, unloading, and filling. Challenges arise when these are the only elements considered when equipment is designed. Processors share in the frustration of dry material systems not meeting production capacity and struggle with material flow issues even though equipment is sized and rated for the specified elements listed above.


Unlike gaseous and liquid systems where in absence of pressure drops, the state of the product conveyed or transported does not fluctuate much. In bulk materials however, this is not always the case. Bulk density as an example is not a constant figure. The same material can have varying bulk densities in different stages of production causing flow rates to change creating the need for processing formulas to be adjusted.




New age equipment & technologies

To overcome these challenges, best practices suggests having material tests performed prior to equipment purchase and experience. One must relyon an experienced vendor who has tested, and understands the dynamic nature of bulk materials to guide equipment layout and options to avoid pitfalls in expected output.


NORD DRIVESYSTEMS drive solutions are based on the principle of the function pyramid: Motors, control units and gears are just as much components as our extensive range of system modules such as planning, project management, installation and service. NORD DRIVESYSTEMS produces helical, parallel shaft, bevel gear and worm gear units and is the only manufacturer in the world which produces industrial gear units up to 242 kNm as unicaseversions. The benefits include extreme reliability and exceptional sealing, safe handling of even the largest output torques, high axial and radial load bearing, quiet running and low maintenance and especially long operating life. With its own gear and motor production facilities, NORD offers its customers complete, sophisticated system solutions with the very highest levels of economy and efficiency.


In any large scale stockyard operation, one of the major functions is stacking the material. thyssenkrupp manufactures rail mounted stackers in a variety of configurations. These rugged, operator-friendly stackers are designed taking into consideration the functional requirements such as throughput, mobility and automation (semi or fully automatic), as well as operational requirements like luffing or slewing operations and so on. thyssenkrupp manufactures the whole range of stacking and reclaiming machines for stockyards. Its rail mounted bucket wheel reclaimers for various types of material have built-in safety elements and hydraulic systems for smooth operations. Available with either fully or semi-automatic control systems as required, the machines guarantee uniform reclaiming of stock pile with highest degree of economy and efficiency.


Crushing within cities is becoming more tightly controlled through environmental and safety regulations. According to Metso, sustainability and operational flexibility should and can be built into the same package. That’s why they designed Lokotrack®. Lokotrack LT106's compact dimensions and agility on tracks mean lower transport costs between and at crushing sites. The chassis design, with good clearance at both ends, enables safe and easy loading onto a trailer. Thanks to the feed hopper sides with a patented and safe hydraulic securing system and radial side conveyor, the unit is ready for crushing or transport within minutes.


Sandvik UI310+ is an electrically driven wheeled crushing unit which offers a versatile and highly efficient primary crushing solution. Electrically driven, it offers a cost-effective solution for aggregates producers who require the productivity and reliability of Sandvik crushers without the onsite mobility of tracked plant. Resting on its laurels, Bevcon Wayors executed in record time 1.5 km pipe conveyor for handling 3150TPH limestone from Mine to Process plant at Shree Cement. Recently the company commissioned steep angle sidewall conveyor in one of the cement plant in India for conveying 1650TPH clinker from wagon unloading to silo storage which is first-of its-kind installation in Indian cement industry.


According to sources, this revolutionary concept is going to change the current practices adopted in Indian Cement Industry.




Promising times ahead

The rising urbanisation has the most prominent impact on the market for bulk material handling products and technologies across the world. With continued infrastructural developments and construction activities, especially in emerging countries, such as China and India, the demand for these products and technologies has been increasing substantially. The growing need for automation in the manufacturing industry is also reflecting positively on their sales, creating growth opportunities for this market during the forecast period. However, the need for high initial investments and the presence of several budgetary constraints may limit the market's growth to some extent over the next few years, notes the study.


The bulk material market, including bulk powder processing, is expected to reach a value of $62.36 billion by the end of 2020. The study suggests that high initial investment and decreased use of advanced bulk material handling technologies might suppress the market. Increases in industrial automation, mass production methodology, and assembly line concepts, however, will further advance the market, especially from the pharmaceutical and food/beverage sectors. All in all, there seems to be good times ahead for the future of bulk material handling equipment in the country!



Conveying systems have been widely adopted and installed across industries to enable quick and efficient movement of heavy material. Currently, such systems are being deployed extensively in many industry segments including power, mining, ports, cement, steel and aluminium. The deployment of such systems has helped reduce haulage costs and improve safety of operations. It has also minimised the environmental footprint of transportation activity.



  • Bevcon Wayors
  • CosBen Equipments
  • DCL Bulk Technologies
  • McNally Bharat Engineering
  • Metso India
  • NORD Drivesystems
  • Rossi Gearmotors
  • Sandvik Asia
  • Tenova India
  • TRF Ltd
  • thyssenkrupp Industries
  • Wam Group

Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)