Increase Volume with New Continuous Barge Unloader Buckets and Chain

Increase-Volume-with-New-Continuous-Barge-Unloader-Buckets-and-ChainContinuous barge unloaders play a vital role in bulk material handling, which makes it all the more important that these components are operating as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, new Continuous Barge Unloader buckets and chains can provide a significant increase in the volume of material you can handle. A simple upgrade can translate into the ability to move more material faster and with less waste.

Modern bucket and chains are specially designed and manufactured to provide lasting performance that will stand up to the toughest materials and work environments. Today’s buckets feature sprockets and chain rollers that have been flame hardened and outfitted with dual seals. These extras are designed to prevent contamination and seizing for smooth and continuous operation.

In addition, high alloy steel buckets are designed with specific mechanical properties in mind. Instead of simply providing a certain ratio of alloy, Continuous Barge Unloader buckets are manufactured to provide unbeatable strength. This same approach to alloy is used in creating abrasion resistant cutting lips and wear bars. With the right accessories, your equipment will continue to easily cut into rough materials and grab more with each pass.

Here are just a few of the advantages that come with adding new continuous barge unloader buckets and chains to your existing system:

  • Because of sharp cutting lips and strong wear bars, a higher volume of materials is transported each time and the entire operation runs more efficiently.
  • Better design and high alloy construction means that new buckets last much longer than those that may be currently used in your system. Chains designed with dual seals on rollers keep lubrication in and contaminants out. As a result, you won’t have to worry about putting up with worn buckets and chains or having to frequently invest in repairs and updates.
  • Less maintenance also reduces unnecessary downtime. There is nothing more detrimental to a business and profits than having to halt operations to deal with repairs, especially when those repairs could have been prevented.

If you have been looking for practical ways to increase the volume of your Continuous Barge Unloader, the answer may be as simple as upgrading to stronger buckets and less contaminant prone dual sealed roller chains. At Richmond Engineering Works, we specialize in helping bulk material handling companies from all over the country design and implement cutting-edge solutions that increase efficiency and revenue. We can do the same for you. Contact us today to get started.


5 Signs Your Coal Handling Equipment Needs Updated in 2018

If you have been putting up with old coaling handling material equipment, 2018 might be the perfect year to finally update your facility. For those who are hesitant to make the leap, here are five signs that now is the time to upgrade:


1. You are spending more manpower than ever on monitoring and troubleshooting equipment. Often times, companies put off replacing bulk material handling equipment because they don’t want to spend the money. However, outdated and faulty equipment comes with its own expenses. If you are consistently paying employees overtime to keep coal handling equipment functional, then it may be time to upgrade.

2. You have trouble finding replacement parts. When something does go wrong, you don’t want to have to waste time hunting down outdated parts. While you can always search for parts online or hoard obsolete parts from other plants, this can cause serious delays in production and put you in a precarious position. New equipment will be easier to repair and maintain so that you don’t lose revenue to unnecessary downtime.

3. Frequent and unexplained trips in the equipment have become a part of your daily routine. Has it gotten to the point where everyone on the team is just used to encountering problems and temporary shutdowns? Don’t settle for under-performing equipment.

4. A lack of operational equipment status. Most bulk material handling operations involve several integrated systems. Coordinating systems relies on manpower and mechanical functionality, but modern systems also require powerful computing. Staying competitive means creating a centralized operating system that can be accessed and controlled from one computer. This lets operators know exactly where problems are located so that they can fix issues without having to drive to a specific location in the plant to troubleshoot a shutdown.

5. You don’t rely on a equipment that is connected to a plant SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. Bulk material handling can be a complex operation. If you are relying on a fragmented computing system, then you are wasting time and money. Upgrade your system with a DCS (Distributive Controls System) tie in so that you can review and run the entire facility more efficiently.

If you are ready to make your bulk material handling facility more efficient and profitable than ever, 2018 is the perfect time to get started. Contact the experts at Richmond Engineering Works to begin upgrading your equipment and your facility.

A Guide to keep your bulk material handling variable frequency drives (VFDs) operating efficiently

Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) play a vital role in the bulk material handling industry. By adjusting the frequency and voltage supplied to electric motors based on the specific needs of each application, VFDs allow businesses to work more efficiently and prolong the life of their equipment. Don’t underestimate the importance of simple preventative maintenance. Monitoring your equipment and taking a few simple steps can provide years of trouble-free service.  Here is a simple quick guide that can help:


  1. Inspect your VFD’s regularly. Even a quick visual scan can detect signs of moisture, loose connections and potential hazards. It is also a good idea to check internal components, such as fans and DC bus capacitors, for signs of bulging, leakage or excessive wear.
  2. Regularly record VFD status information. Keep a table of component and heat-sink temperatures, also keep track of VFD displayed motor currents, voltages and speeds for increased telltale signs of mechanical and/or electrical failures.
  3. Avoid dust contamination and keep the VFD clean. As with any electronic device, dust can be an enemy that can cause malfunctions and diminish airflow and performance. A layer of dust can be enough to affect circulation fans and cause problems that can quickly begin to snowball.
  4. Maintain climate control equipment to prevent overheating and avoid moisture from accumulating in drives and causing breakdowns. Excess condensation can cause the circuit boards to erode and high temperatures can also place unnecessary stress on the electronic components. To enjoy optimal performance, make sure that your VFD is kept housed in a clean, cool, and dry location.
  5. Regularly check and make sure all electrical connections are tight. Vibrations and standard use can cause connections to become loose. Bad connections can lead to arcing and increased heat sources. From this, protective components can easily become damaged, overvoltage and overcurrent faults can occur and fusing may clear. It is equally as important to avoid overtightening connections, causing unplanned equipment repairs.

Setting aside time to inspect and maintain your VFDs can significantly extend the life of your equipment and prevent serious failures that disrupt productivity. Fortunately, most models are manufactured with easy to read equipment status displays and other tools that make it easy to monitor the vital signs of your VFD and motor combination. Take advantage of these tools and employ your own inspection process for optimal efficiency.

Richmond Engineering serves companies along the countries major transportation routes and provides cutting-edge solutions that are designed to improve operations. From engineering, unique solutions to upgrading existing equipment and making repairs, their experts can do it all. To learn more about their services and how they can help, contact Richmond Engineering today.

Coal Handling Systems Keep the Lights on and Home Warm this Holiday Season

The holiday season tends to put extra stress on power providers. People across the country are using more electricity and if utility companies don’t plan appropriately for this surge in use, supply could be affected.


At Richmond Engineering Works, we partner with companies up and down the Mississippi and throughout the country to prepare for the holiday season so that everyone can enjoy uninterrupted service and a warm home. Here are just a few of our recommendations for keep coal handling systems working at an optimal level throughout this time of year:

  • Keep a supply of standard equipment parts on hand. If an emergency does occur, utility companies can quickly swap out a new part and continue to provide service. Avoid having to wait while parts are ordered and delivered. Be prepared for common part failures.
  • Ensure that all equipment is adequately lubricated. This will improve efficiency and help prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Properly lubricated components will last longer and cut down on operating costs.
  • For utility companies that operate in areas of the country that experience cold and harsh winter weather, it is important to be sure that all heat tracing, heaters and insulation are secured in place and working properly. This will allow companies to control the temperature of their equipment and prevent components from becoming sluggish or frozen.
  • While is it always important to conduct regular inspections and maintenance, utility companies may want to increase the frequency of these efforts during the winter months. A combination of cold conditions and increased demand can create a recipe for disaster. All vital equipment should be monitored to catch early signs of failure and prevent major problems.
  • Check out space heaters. Some plants have electric space heaters in their control panels. Over the summer, drawings, spare parts, and other materials may have been placed in these panels. As temperatures cool, the space heaters turn on and fire could result.

Richmond Engineering Works provides a variety of services that include custom designs and installation, inspection and repair, turnkey solutions and system upgrades. We help coal handling systems across the country operate more reliably and efficiently so that families can enjoy a safe and warm holiday season. Please contact us if we can assist in maintaining your equipment needs. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a joyful and prosperous New Year!

Richmond Engineering Works: Your Bulk Material Handling Partner

Richmond Engineering Works has a long history of serving businesses throughout and across the country that provide the bulk materials that keep important industries up and running. We play a vital role in ensuring that businesses are able to safely and efficiently operate in a way that reduces costs while increasing revenue. Our team of experts provide a one-stop shop for all your bulk material handling engineering needs.

bulk material handling engineering

It all begins with an impressive knowledge base that represents decades of experience working in the bulk material handling industry. At Richmond Engineering Works, our team members have deep knowledge of all aspects of the machinery and processes involved in transporting bulk materials. This allows us to provide cutting-edge solutions that improve efficiency and directly address challenges.

Whether your company is in the design phase or needs help with fabrication or installation, we jump in at any point during a project or partner with you from start to finish. We are equipped to handle every aspect of the bulk material handling industry. In fact, our services continue long after equipment has been installed by providing aftermarket services that keep machinery running smoothly. When you need help with maintenance and repairs, our experts are available 24/7 so that you never have to worry about a halt in production.

For companies with existing equipment in place, we also offer thorough inspection and reviews that can identify weak points in the machinery and processes and provide suggestions for improvements. We can improve the efficiency and performance of virtually any business in order to increase productivity and reduce waste. Our services and expertise allow businesses to take advantage of the best technology and problem solving methods to enjoy increased revenue.

If you work in an industry that relies on bulk materials, then be sure to partner with the experts at Richmond Engineering works. We have the skills, experience and track record for success that will allow you to improve your business and keep your equipment running smoothly. To learn more about their services and how they can help, contact Richmond Engineering today.

What are the Benefits of Using an Indexing Positioner?

The bulk material handling industry relies heavily on locomotives to help transport and load essential materials across the United States. Adding an indexing positioner can further expedite the unloading process and provide a wide range of benefits that save both time and money. Here are just a few of the benefits companies can expect when using an indexing positioner:

#1 Ability to position railcars without the locomotive

Traditionally, the locomotive has been used to position railcars into the dumper. However, it can take time to perfectly position the car. A railcar positioner has the ability to quickly and accurately place the railcar for faster and more efficient unloading.



#2 An increase in throughput

More accurate positioning will also translate to more throughput. More material can be processed faster without any spillage, which is a simple way to protect profits.

#3 Automated functions that reduce labor costs

Across industries, new technology is focused on automating processes. This is especially true in bulk material handling where large machines can now be pre-programmed with automated functions. Ultimately, this technology increases efficiency and requires less time and attention from personnel.

#4 Solutions that are specially designed to fit the needs of each company

A rail car positioner can be designed and installed according to any specifications for maximum accuracy and performance.

#5 Less fuel usage

Since the locomotive doesn’t have to be used to move the rail car in place, a rail car positioner actually provides a more fuel-efficient solution.

#6 A decrease in unnecessary demurrage charges

Problems with using the locomotive to position the railcar in the dumper can cause delays that ultimately result in demurrage charges and eat away at profits. One way to stay on schedule and avoid having to pay extra fees is to rely on an indexing positioner.

Richmond Engineering serves companies along the countries major transportation routes and provides cutting-edge solutions that are designed to improve operations. From engineering unique solutions to upgrading existing equipment and making repairs, their experts can do it all. To learn more about their services and how they can help, contact Richmond Engineering today.

6 Essential Bucket Wheel Stacker Reclaimer Upgrades

With so much heavy equipment to maintain, it can be challenging to prioritize upgrades and decide where are the best places to invest time and money. To help with this process, we have put together a list of 6 essential bucket wheel stacker reclaimer upgrades that should be at the top of any list.


Complete Controls Upgrade

This should include new PLC/HMI controls. Advances in technology mean more streamlined software platforms that provide the latest in proven methods for increasing efficiency and improving all aspects of even complex processes. They also mean that operators will be able to quickly diagnose and address any problems.

Monospiral Wound Cable Reel with Cable Guide

Ensure that the reel and guide system are capable of meeting the dynamic demands and provide the ideal operational speed along with enough space to safely wind and store the correct size cable.

Drives Upgrade

This upgrade is especially important to improving efficiency and guaranteeing the right balance between power and performance. Old and/or obsolete drives can be quickly upgraded and provide immediate results.

New Operators Cab & Electrical House

Provide operators with the latest in cab design that will provide maximum visibility and improve safety and performance. Along with a new electrical house, this upgrade can help keep pace with the demands of a modern work environment. Ergonomic chair and control designs also reduce fatigue.

Travel Truck Replacement

Massive machinery requires great feats of engineering and relies on having the right parts in place. Invest in travel truck replacement and ensure that bulk materials are being quickly and efficiently moved.

Bucket Wheel Gear Box Replacement

Replace old bucket wheel gearboxes with new equipment that will provide smooth and controlled operation. New solutions rely on high-quality materials in order to provide unmatched reliability and durability.

The right upgrades can allow these impressive machines to better handle the demands of the mining and bulk material handling industry. Richmond Engineering specializes in providing companies across the country with the right bulk material handling solutions. From upgrades to repairs and maintenance, we can meet a wide variety of needs.  Contact us today to learn more.

Classics on the Waterways

Advances in bulk material handling engineering have allowed companies, across the variety of industries, to operate more efficiently. For those that rely on barges that run up and down the Mississippi and other major waterways, being able to quickly load and unload bulk materials is essential. Whether you are moving coal, grain, lime, sand or other materials, a clamshell grab bucket unloader provides an economical and efficient means of unloading bulk materials.


Grab bucket unloaders have been timeless icons along major waterways and a vital component for handling bulk materials. They are designed to unload barges or ships of varying sizes, with or without hatches. Hoisting cables allow the clamshell bucket to extend into the barge for pickup and back to the hopper for emptying. While the basic operation of the grab bucket remains the same, the mechanisms that power the system continue to evolve and may mean that it is time to upgrade your facility.

Machines naturally age through continual use and components and control systems can become outdated, thereby decreasing efficiency. To enjoy optimal performance from your grab unloader, be sure to inspect rope for wear, check all systems for proper lubrication, and verify any vibrations in the system. Keeping the electrical controls tuned reduces wear and material spillage. Maintaining and updating these features can extend the life of your machine.

Updating control and drive systems such as a PLC based control system, digital DC or AC drive and an HMI, can also improve performance by allowing operators to view the status of the machine from one location. This both increases diagnostic capabilities and safety. In addition, an ergonomically designed operator’s chair, will reduce fatigue and improve visibility. Finally, barge hauls can be upgraded for more accurately positioning that will reduce handling costs.

At Richmond Engineering, we work with companies to design and update grab bucket unloader systems to best fit their needs and meet their plant’s requirements. We offer electrical, mechanical, and structural repairs and upgrades on any manufacturer so that you can continue to operate as efficiently as possible. Contact us today to learn more.

Dumper barrel replacement….is it time?

Rotary car dumpers are truly impressive feats of engineering that make it possible to quickly unload bulk material from trains. However, even the most well-designed coal wagon tippler has a limited life span and may not be on par with the increasing demands of heavier locomotives. If you are noticing signs of increased wear, fatigue, cracks and corrosion, then it is also a clear signal that it is time to upgrade your equipment.


Many bulk material handling facilities are still relying on rotary car dumpers that were designed and installed over 20 years ago. In the ensuing decades, the industry has changed significantly and the size and weight of railcars has increased. Older equipment simply isn’t designed to handle the demands of a modern work environment. This can result in more breakdowns and additional money spent on maintenance and demurrage costs.

For companies that want to increase productivity, cut down on maintenance costs and experience the latest in heavy duty rotary car dumpers, it is time to invest in replacing old equipment. Every detail of modern dumpers has been reinforced to handle heavy loads. From the endrings to the platens, thicker plates and heavy duty materials provide the best in construction that is designed to offer smooth operation without fatigue.

Today’s systems also come equipped with advanced braking functions that reduce impact. Variable Frequency Drives and Regenerative braking work together to provide gentle and controlled stops and starts. In addition, DC magnets are a thing of the past and have been replaced by AC Electro-Hydraulic brakes for consistent performance. Finally, advances in technology also mean a longer brake life so that you don’t have to worry about frequent replacements.

Utilizing the latest in bulk material handling engineering and investing in dumper barrel replacement projects can not only improve current productivity, but position companies to face future challenges. The right equipment will not only reduce maintenance costs and other expenses, it will also increase productivity and look towards the future. Richmond Engineering is an expert at helping companies across a wide variety of industries update and maintain their equipment. Call today.

5 Common Problems Affecting Bulk Material Handling Systems

Bulk material handling engineering is tasked with ensuring that bulk materials can be safely transported, and efficiently stored. However, systems are bound to run into problems, especially as essential components wear down due to repetitive use. Here are some common problems to be on the lookout for:


Outdated Control Systems

Bulk material handling incorporates advanced control systems that streamline operations and help automate tasks. Outdated interfaces can slow production and prevent systems from operating at an optimal level. By updating and adding an HMI, the operator can have a complete overview of the machine’s operation and status.

Obsolete Parts

As machines age and parts become worn with repeated use, replacing the old parts can often prove to be a challenge, as they may have become obsolete. In some instances, they may even need to be re-designed and upgraded using the latest technology.

Change in Material Characteristics

Materials handled are never the same. The characteristics of the material handled by your machine will be different, depending on the location they came from, environmental conditions (rain, snow, temperature), and if you changed commodities completely. Your systems must be equipped to handle these fluctuations, and continue to operate efficiently.

Industry Change

In order for plants to stay competitive in the market, a re-design of their overall plant functionality and inter-workings may need to be evaluated and executed. Through change there can be growth. Experts in bulk material handling engineering can continue to improve performance through regular inspections and evaluations.

Component Wear

With repeated use, mechanical components require maintenance and lubrication. To ensure that components are not missed, or if they are not regularly checked by maintenance personnel, automatic lubrication systems can be added. This assists in reducing hands on maintenance, and also reduces component wear.

For help solving these common problems with bulk material handling systems, contact Richmond Engineering today. Our experts will visit your facility and work with you, to provide customized solutions that will increase productivity and allow you to gain an edge on the competition.