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If you are on the market for an industrial hopper, the prices vary depending on whether you want a light duty or heavy duty hopper or if you want a self dumping hopper, stackable hopper or towable hopper. Sometimes, but not always, hoppers that hold more will cost you more. According to beacontechnology.com, a portable steel hopper or parts hopper will run you around $500 to $600; self dumping hoppers $450 to $900; self dumping steel hoppers $500 to $2,500; and towable hoppers around $2,000. Specialty hoppers such as steel chute hoppers famous for their compact size perfect for areas with limited space will run you around $1,000.
Some types of hoppers are designed to be used on trailers--these hoppers have quite a lot of versatility. They can be used as stationary hoppers when taken off the trailer, and many units come with a winch for mobile uses that require partial dumping at different sites.
An important thing for operators to know -- when dumping with these hoppers, they should be attached to the truck for maximum stability. The hoppers come with fork pockets for forklift use, and with a removable hitch. Removing the hitch makes these hoppers a self-dumping hopper fork truck attachment.
Fork truck operators may need to engage a spotter before dumping operations depending on the visibility required. These models come in 2,000 and 3,000 pound capacity ratings. As always, do not exceed half the rated capacity of the fork truck used to make the dump, otherwise a tipping hazard is likely.
A portable steel hopper is good for transporting plant refuse and other lightweight material. The steel hoppers have casters that allow easy relocation from area to area, and are rated for 1,000 pounds. Remember that many models of steel hopper are designed only for light materials and not for "heavy mass" objects that concentrate a large amount of weight in one portion of the hopper.
Steel hoppers are constructed from fourteen gauge steel and many are built with operator assisted tilt mechanisms. If you need to move a portable steel hopper over rough terrain, consider purchasing a model with an optional power traction drive. This add-on makes the hopper a single-operator container even over difficult terrain such as a building site or construction area.
Using a hopper can hold a few unsuspecting hazards depending on the materials stored and dumped by the hopper. If you are dealing with materials that leave residue such as sawdust, wood chips, broken glass or other inhalables, it's best to use a respirator or face mask to prevent foreign objects from entering the nasal passages and airway.
If there is a 'splash potential' from semi liquid material, melting ice or snow (in the case of outdoor operations), you'll want to take such factors into consideration when dumping. If there is any kind of potential for caustic, corrosive or other irritants left as residue, you'll not only need to beware of the backsplash from such during dumping, but also know how to properly decontaminate the hopper after the dumping operation.
If you have purchased industrial hoppers, chances are you are also considering the purchase of a hydraulic box dumper as well. The expense of one of these units is well worth the time savings, and reduced physical strain, on workers who may have to find alternative dumping methods without one of these units.
The hydraulic box dumper is designed for a pallet truck to deliver the industrial hopper into place. Once the industrial hopper is in place the box dumper is a one-person operation. These dumpers are built with a variety of dump heights, so it can accommodate a wide range of industrial hoppers.
These machines come in a variety of capacities including a model that is rated for 6,000 pounds. If you anticipate any volume close to the higher end of the capacity of a box dumper, it's wise to buy a dumper rated at the next highest capacity.
One kind of self-dumping hopper you may wish to invest in is the 90 degree 'low profile' hopper. This is by far one of the easiest models to use for waste disposal.
The self-dump mechanism is activated by a cable carried with the forklift operator, and the self dumping hopper is secured to the forklift with a chain.
Using these types of hoppers for waste disposal means some added factors--odors, pests and other problems. These can be alleviated by purchasing the optional hopper covers available for the model you are buying. These covers will help prevent pests from being attracted to waste left for overnight storage, they are lightweight, and they come with a lock to prevent unauthorized 'after-hours' additions. These lids are also good for outdoor hoppers as they keep snow and rain out of the hopper.
There are many different kinds of self-dumping hoppers to choose from, and two of the major differences lie with how the hoppers dump. One model features a cable the forklift operator carries in the driver's seat, which the driver uses to release the load at the right moment. The other model has a bumper which dumps the load once the bumper makes contact.
These hoppers are just two of many different types. You can choose low-profile hoppers which look like oversize wheel barrows--these are designed to be used as a catch basin for parts, or placed beneath chutes .
Which ever model you choose, the total weight of the loaded hopper should not be more than half the rated capacity of a forklift transporting the hoppers. The reason? Your forklift operator needs a safe "load center of gravity" when dumping the hopper. If the load exceeds 50% of forklift capacity you may encounter a tipping hazard.
If you need an industrial hopper for transporting or dumping waste or trash, be sure to select a model advertised with leak-proof construction. Regardless of whether or not you have consumer trash and non-EPA regulated waste, or if you are using an industrial hopper to transport properly bagged and identified workplace discards such as empty detergent bottles or eyewash containers, a leakproof container is still critical.
Preventing unidentified spills will save much grief in the workplace. Hazmat control is critical and even a puddle of water can become a cause for concern if it is suspected of being something more. Avoid work stoppage and unnecessary hazmat cleanup procedures by using leakproof containers.
According to the manual "How to Save Warehouse Space" by Jack Kuchta, the most practical, low-cost solution for saving space in your warehouse is simply finding and using hidden space.
Stackable industrial hoppers save space in your factory or warehouse because they stack on top of each other, utilizing that "hidden" space found closer to your ceiling. They are designed to be portable and are self dumping hoppers as well. These strong steel hoppers have capacities of up to 6,500 pounds. They include a beveled cross channel for easier fork entry and a formed channel bumper for added strength and protection. A variety of sizes are available. They also have a formed channel bumper for added strength and protection.
Some hoppers are designed to be part of the transfer process of grain, powders, or other lightweight bulk material into storage from another location. A serious problem in some such bulk exchanges is "dusting" where an amount of this material becomes airborne, creating the potential for an explosion if an ignition source is present. At first glance, this material doesn't seem to be an explosive hazard (most people associate gasoline and other chemicals with explosions). But the physics of this material include explosive potential during dusting. There are ways to prevent dusting, simply by adjusting the flow of materials to the hopper. A funnel-shaped flow is more likely to contribute to dusting than "mass flow" where there is an even distribution of material all the way into the hopper. It's important to analyze any such operations to insure that mass flow techniques are used to prevent creating conditions ripe for dusting, and possible explosions as a result.
Castors (sometimes spelled "casters") are wheel attachments often sold as optional equipment for hoppers. Some companies offer castors in a separate area, leaving the buyer to determine which ones are right for the job. While this isn't always the most efficient way to offer accessories, you may have to buy your castors in such a way. If so, remember the following:
1. You will need to calculate the total load of the hopper including the trolley frame and compare it with the load rating of the castors.
2. The diameter of the wheels is very important. If you choose large wheels, the hopper will be easier to move, but the clearance factor is affected by the size of the wheels.
3. Castors are designed in several ways. If you need heavy-duty castors, be sure to ask your vendor which configuration (such as a "four bolt hole top plate fitting") might be right for your needs.
Remember, not all castors and assemblies are made equal! A light-duty hopper requires less than a heavy-duty one, and depending on the frequency of movement of your hopper, you may need to consider the construction of your wheels for maximum life and ease of use.
Construction grade hoppers carry debris; when it comes time to transport and dump the hopper there is always a safety concern over some of that debris becoming airborne, creating breathing hazards, eye injuries and other problems. The first step to preventing the material from flying out of the hopper is during transport. Using the hopper's safety lock mechanism will help prevent spillage during transport, especially over rough or unpaved areas. Many hoppers are equipped with a rope release so that the contents may be dumped while the operator stands farther away, preventing any chance of debris coming in contact with the operator. As always, these situations dictate eye protection and other appropriate measures; these should be considered standard for maximum safety.
Here are some specialty self dumping hoppers, courtesy of beacontechnology.com:
Here is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for working with industrial hoppers, chutes, spouts and bins in marine terminals:
Are you considering the purchase of optional castors or wheels for your hopper? Depending on your needs, consider the following wheel construction types:
1. Nylon. A wheel type that does have its advantages, but can be noisy on some surfaces, and does not handle obstacles well in many cases.
2. Elastic tires. These are less noisy, but not designed for heavy loads. Elastic tires can flatten under heavy loads. They won't become immobile, but the "rolling resistance" is increased. It's best to use these for light duty hopper loads.
3. Polyurethane tires are better for heavy loads and can handle some obstacles better.
There are other options available including pressed steel and fabricated steel. If you aren't sure which option is right for you, describe your intended use of a hopper to your vendor and ask what others with similar needs wound up purchasing.
A construction grade hopper is built to handle refuse from building and masonry projects, including broken blocks, concrete, and brick debris.While most hoppers are sold with optional casters, transporting a construction grade hopper is best done with a forklift because of the weight of the material in the hopper. It's simply bad ergonomics to try to push a loaded hopper over terrain (or even concrete) when a forklift will do the job much faster and with a higher degree of safety. When transporting construction grade hoppers over terrain, operators should always use a safety chain and "grab hook" to prevent the hopper from slipping off the forklift.
Depending on the intended use of a hopper, you may need to purchase hoppers made with FDA-approved construction and materials. The transport and storage of food-grade materials is regulated, and FDA construction complies with federal guidelines enacted to protect consumers from food contamination, chemical reactions, and other concerns. One kind of hopper built with FDA requirements in mind is the polyethylene hopper. These are routinely used in the food processing industry, and features often include a lid or cover fitted with a seal to prevent contamination of the product from sources outside the hopper. If you need food-grade storage, the polyethylene hopper is a very good choice.