March 15, 2019

3 Myths About Continuous Bucket Elevators

When it comes to bulk power handling systems, the bucket elevator is one of the most reliable pieces of equipment in moving great volumes of material upward. It moves at a slower speed, eliminating the throwing action that other bucket designs have, making it well-suited for gentle material handling. While effective, some widely-believed myths have cropped up regarding the performance of continuous bucket elevators. Here is a breakdown between what is fact and what remains a myth for continuous bucket elevators.

About Continuous Bucket Elevators

There are different types of bucket elevators: centrifugal, continuous, and discharge. Continuous bucket elevators are usually much slower in speed with buckets that are spaced out continuously. They work by allowing the force of gravity to discharge their load onto the inverted front of the proceeding bucket, after which the bucket brings the material into the discharge throat as the elevator descends. 

Continuous bucket elevators are also used to handle fragile and delicate materials since the movement minimizes product damage. It is also useful for handling light, fluffy materials that cannot be aerated during transport. Bucket elevators also come in many styles depending on what materials need to be moved, from metal to molded plastics. 

Myth: Plenty of Maintenance Is Required for Continuous Bucket Elevators

This is a myth since continuous bucket elevators actually require minimal maintenance despite their numerous moving parts. This type of equipment is designed with a positive drive principle, which uses a rubber belt chain. High-wear belt chains and buckets are available to reduce the need for repair and replacement when used in heavy service applications, while drive assemblies lessen the number of moving parts and components for maintenance by design. 

Myth: Spills and Jams Are More Common With Continuous Bucket Elevators

There are continuous bucket elevator units designed with overlapping buckets that can cause spills as the buckets separate as they travel through the elevator. It is also possible for them to jam when any two adjacent buckets do not align together in the proper orientation. However, more buckets designed these days are made to be jam-proof with fully interlocked buckets that never separate as they move through the elevator. This also ensures no spillage. 

Myth: Cleaning Continuous Bucket Elevators Is a Difficult Process

While some units are still difficult to clean, most continuous bucket elevators manufactured today are now designed to have more accessibility to the equipment’s interior parts. This makes them easier to clean after use.

Some fully enclosed and fully sealed units come with access panels in several locations throughout the bucket elevator, which allows access to the equipment interior. If your system handles mostly granular materials like powders, then optional cleanout drawers are recommended. It is also important to get interlocked units to avoid any spillage and reduce the need for cleanups. Clean-in-place systems are also helpful for easy cleaning and sanitation. 


No matter what type of material your industry is transporting using continuous elevator buckets, it’s important to be familiar with any unsubstantiated myths about this equipment’s operation and function. With the right systems and design in place, you can successfully transport delicate materials efficiently and easily. There are many construction styles, configurations, and capacities to choose from, so work with reputable bulk material handling companies to design your continuous bucket elevator according to your specifications. 

Gough Econ provides customers with the services of a world-leading engineer and manufacturer in bulk material handling industries worldwide. We focus on total integration, including concept, solution, post-installation, and delivery support. For bulk material handling equipment manufacturers, get in touch with us today!

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