Overcoming Critical Ash Handling Systems Challenges in Your Plant

ash handling systems

Dealing with ash is one of the main challenges facing a plant or mill manager. Ash has to be removed, but it needs to be removed in a cost-efficient manner – and in a way that doesn’t run afoul of regulations.

To save money and streamline operations, managers have to put into place ash handling systems that can convey large amounts of bottom and fly ash in an effective manner, without interfering with or slowing down the plant’s operations.

How can plant managers overcome challenges to efficiency when it comes to ash handling systems? What are some solutions available today that can improve ash handling in any plant or mill and create bottom-line benefits for the institution?

Creating More Efficient Ash Handling Systems

One immediate problem faced by managers is how to handle both bottom ash and fly ash. These two types of ash have different characteristics and must be handled differently – yet many facilities attempt to use just one design to handle both.

This creates efficiency problems that can pose real challenges for a plant manager and the plant’s bottom line.

One way to create more efficient ash handling systems is to separate bottom ash designs from fly ash designs. Bottom ash has larger particulate matter and requires equipment that accounts for that, while fly ash is smaller in diameter and can be handled in a different way. Thus, an efficient setup involves two separate conveyor systems for each type that aren’t connected to each other until the ash is removed from the plant.

An effective, affordable, and reliable way to transport bottom ash involves a submerged drag chain conveyor, which consists of a drag chain immersed in water. Since the ash is wet when it leaves the conveyor and is transported through and out of the plant, it cuts down on airborne particles which would otherwise involve additional systems in place to deal with the ash dust.

Of course, in drag chain designs, uneven drag chain elongation can be a serious problem. The design must be carefully engineered to account for elongation, which can torpedo efficiency in a conveying system. This includes using hardened pins and bushing in the conveyor’s construction as well as choosing pitch lengths greater than eight inches.

When designing fly ash handling systems, you should consider a single strand drag chain design as opposed to dual strands with the bottom ash conveyor. Single strand drag chain design uses efficient “en masse” conveying principles that allow the conveyor to be smaller and operate at lower speeds. In addition, uneven drag chain elongation isn’t a problem with single strand designs.

If you design the bottom ash and fly ash systems to be separate, you will avoid the problem of having large particulate in your fly ash system, which isn’t designed to handle particles of that size. In doing so you’ll create a more efficient system overall.

Implementing Efficiency in Ash Handling

The best way to ensure your ash handling systems are as efficient as possible is to consult with custom engineering providers who can design a robust, reliable, and productive system that fits your facility’s needs and infrastructure.

Choosing those who specialize in efficient engineering will save time and money and deliver better results for a facility. Consult with ProcessBarron about how you can implement a more efficient and cost-effective ash handling system for your plant or mill.

For more information, consult our guide: “Biomass Ash Handling: Simplifying the Challenges.