Material handling relates to the handling and processing of plastic raw material rather than finished components.
Material conveying equipment relates to the transfer of plastic granules (or regrind) from material storage to either an intermediate piece of equipment (such as a drying station) or directly to a production machines material inlet (hopper).
Hopper loaders are used for transferring plastic raw material. This may involve transfer from a material storage bin to a machine in-feed hopper, or to and from a material drying station.
Single-phase units are usually used for low to medium duty applications and use a vacuum to draw material up to the machine material hopper.
Heavier duty three-phase units are often used where higher rates of material transfer are involved, movement is over larger distances, or material is difficult to handle. They are often mounted at floor level, pumping (blowing) material rather than using a vacuum.
A central material feed system, also known as a plastic material handling system, allows the polymer to be automatically distributed to processing machines; such as injection moulding machines and extruders, sometimes over long distances. Material is transported through a series of solid pipes using a centrally positioned vacuum pump.
Vacuum receivers (hopper loaders) on all machines are linked via a central control system that enables any machine to process any material without the need for human intervention. Material is generally sited away from the production area. Drying, blending and scrap reclaim can also be integrated into a central feed system.