Flow control with bulk handling hoppers

Mar 30, 2022

Dry Cargo International

Efficient and safe operations with hoppers from Kilic Engineering

Working with commodity traders and handlers, mineral processors, logistics companies and port operators alike, Kilic Engineering (KE) has, over many years, fabricated a wide variety of product hoppers both as standalone units as well as having them integrated to larger material handling systems. Hoppers provide KE customers with the ability to control the flow of commodity products through their material handling systems while simultaneously maximizing the infeed rate to the system.

For abrasive, dense and non-homogeneous products, KE customers from the mineral processing industry, for example, choose an apron feeder hopper. This heavy duty hopper is integrated with a robust chain conveyor to relentlessly and steadily draw material from the base of the hopper load and into the processing system.

These apron feeders can be designed to accommodate any number of different materials and feed onto any type of conveyor belt system. They can also be mounted on rail systems, wheel systems or integrated to a towable trailer so that, despite their bulk, they can be deployed across various areas of the processing operation.

Surge hoppers can also be quite portable. In fact, KE has a range of surge hoppers that can be lifted onto and off conveyors depending on whether the conveyor system is being used for in or out loading. Lighter commodities like agricultural products are often moved to conveying systems using front-end loaders making surge hoppers the ideal interface between the fast dumping loader bucket and the processing or truck loading conveyor.

Surge Hopper

The KE product range includes surge hoppers that drop in over a KE BunkerStacker converting the KE machine from an in loading system to a truck or shed loading system. The drop in hopper features a valve arrangement to give the customer precise control of the amount of product discharged to the conveying system. Remote control operations are also an added feature of the KE range of hoppers and feeders.

If you are looking to move material even faster when emptying loader buckets or trucks, KE has designed and is able to manufacture a range of drive over hoppers that provide safe, convenient and fast unloading of road transport vehicles tipping products at around road level. These can be large hoppers with up to 50t capacity (based on wheat density) that are built into the ground or feed hoppers that sit slightly elevated from the ground and come complete with approach and departure ramps. KE’s material handling expertise allows it to design hoppers which can be emptied using screw conveyors, drag chain conveyors or conventional belt conveyors, depending on the customer’s specific requirements.

It is true that most manufacturers with structural steel fabrication capability can make hoppers that will support the movement of bulk commodities through to a material handling system and consequently the supply of such hoppers makes for a highly competitive market. The proper integration and incorporation of flow control assemblies such as robust baffles, grizzlies and valves does take some design experience and these things are essential to make hoppers work in unison with the material handling systems they feed.

Baria Serece, a port operator in Vietnam, is an example of a customer that recognized KE’s experience in material handling to provide a unique solution for its specific port operation, using a combination of local and overseas manufacturing capabilities. The hopper was manufactured in Vietnam by a third party to KE’s design specification and integrated on site to KE equipment with the amalgamation delivering a versatile and portable ship loading solution to the Baria Serece operation.

More recently, a client has engaged KE to design and construct a hopper and feeder unit that will be used to unload vessels delivering bulk products to an Australian port.  This machine will deliver significant benefits to an operation that currently clears cargo holds using a combination of ships’ cranes, fixed hoppers, front-end loaders and trucks. The hopper/conveyor design will eliminate product double handling and significantly speed up vessel discharge.


KE is a diverse mechanical engineering company based in Adelaide, South Australia, owned and operated by the Kilic family since 1973. The company has a long and proud history of excellence in designing, manufacturing and installing a wide range of material handling systems, many of which start with the basic and often essential need for hoppers.

Louise Dodds-Ely
Dry Cargo International – March 2022

Screw Conveyors
Conveyors in the grain handling world — KE has the answers
close slider