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.

Coal ship loaders and unloaders require precision care when upgrading

Coal shiploaders and unloaders are large and complex machines that serve a vital role in the transportation of coal. While their job may sound simple, the engineering that goes into creating a massive machine that is both powerful and agile is sophisticated. That means that any repair or upgrade work requires the precision care of a seasoned professional.

coal-shiploader-unloader (1)

Shipping ports and terminals along the waterways rely on shiploaders and unloaders to safely and efficiently move bulk materials, including coal, on and off of large boats. Overtime, the electro-mechanical relays can become obsolete so for increased automated efficiency, a new Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is installed. The updated PLC along with new HMI and MMI systems will reduce maintenance needs and increase reliability. Employees will also be able to better monitor the condition of the shiploader or unloader in order to identify any problems as early as possible.

While upgrading main electrical controls can add new life to shiploaders and unloaders, there are also a variety of other functional parts that should be regularly upgraded in order to ensure optimal operation. Coal shiploader and unloader DC drives and motors can be replaced with more advanced digital components that will provide smoother operation and more efficient performance overall. Travel trucks, brake assemblies and other important drives and bearings should also be regularly upgraded. Not only will these parts naturally wear over time, advances in technology are constantly providing new solutions to age old challenges.

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With the right installation techniques from qualified technicians, these upgrades to coal loaders and unloaders can help create a more efficient system that also makes it easier for operators to maneuver equipment and avoid on the job fatigue. To learn more about upgrade options and make an appointment to have a highly-qualified technician from Richmond Engineering visit your work site, call today.

Why perform yearly inspections of your bulk material handling systems?

The field of bulk material handling engineering is responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining the machines, systems, and processes that keep American running. From power generation to water treatment and oil and gas, bulk materials are a vital part of essential industries. Performing yearly inspections of bulk handling machinery, processes, and systems is a simple way to reduce operating costs while also prolonging machine life.

Bucket Wheel Stacker Reclaimer

As with any machinery, regular maintenance is the key to avoiding costly repairs and ensuring the machine is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Conducting regular inspections can identify any worn parts and make sure that they are replaced as needed. Your company can stay up and running and continue to provide superior and uninterrupted service to your customers.

Bulk material handling engineering is also responsible for streamlining systems and processes so that businesses are optimizing their resources for maximum productivity and profit. Regular machine inspections can help identify any gaps or lags in the system that can be improved. Taking this proactive approach to continuous innovation allows businesses to gain a competitive edge. It also offers the opportunity to take advantage of new or emerging technology that may not have been available just twelve months ago. An inspection from a highly-trained expert in the field can provide valuable customer solutions.

Whether you are in charge of operating a few machines or running a large plant, a yearly inspection can provide you with insights that will reduce operating costs and make sure that your machinery is operating at an optimum level for years to come. Armed with the right information, you can decide exactly when it is time to make upgrades, order replacement parts, invest in new machines or call for field technical assistance.

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Richmond Engineering Works provides a wide range of industries with bulk material handling engineering services. From repairing rotary car dumpers to inspecting coal stacker reclaimer systems, our highly trained experts can help.  For more information about our bulk material handling equipment, please contact us.