Traditionally, dedicated vehicles and ships have been used to transfer bulk products but this adds significant costs to the logistics operation. Using such conventional methods, a product is loaded into lorries or tankers and driven to the port where it is unloaded into silos or flat stores to suit shipping times. When the bulk vessel is available, the material must be loaded using a specialist bulk ship loader. At the destination port, the process is reversed requiring more unloading and reloading before delivery to the customer – with the possibility that an intermediate distribution location is also required.
The ISO container offers an alternative, simplified route as once the product is inside the container; it is the same as any other containerized cargo and can be loaded, shipped and unloaded with comparative ease. There is therefore a significant cost advantage in using containers due to the elimination of needless loading and unloading.
The Redler Container Loader is a product developed specifically to serve this market
Container Loading Methods
Unloading of the bulk material from the container is generally simple – either tipping into a hopper or connecting to a pneumatic transfer system to suit the customer’s requirements. Loading the container is more difficult as most containers are rear door type and thus need an alternative approach to minimise loading time and maximise use of the container volume.
There are a number of methods used to load rear door containers – belt conveyors, screw conveyors, pneumatic transfer and gravity are possible options, but all these systems require either large investment in dedicated installations or suffer from low overall loading rates, high power usage and high manpower needs. If the product to be loaded is granular or a pellet, an alternative method can be employed that avoids all these problems.
The belt thrower was developed from grain handling equipment first used in the middle of the 20th century. It makes use of a material’s inherent velocity as it falls from the silo outlet and simply changes the flow direction to horizontal and provides a small amount of additional velocity. In this way product dropping from a silo can be simply redirected into the container – thus feed rates are the same as gravity feeding from the silo. The method can be used for many different materials (but note that powders are generally not loaded efficiently with this system) and Redler have supplied hundreds of units based on this technology over the past 40 years. Please watch the attached animation to see the principle in action and refer to the product page to see details of the different loader configurations.