KWS Manufacturing

Abrasion-Resistant Centrifugal Bucket Elevator for Elevating Frac Sand

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Plant Name and Location

Superior Silica
Kosse, TX

General Description

Superior Silica Sands is uniquely positioned to serve the energy industry and known for superior frac sand, services and customer service. They supply a large percentage of the estimated 100 billion tons of sand used in oil or natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Fracking is a well stimulation technique in which water is mixed with sand and chemicals and the mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore to create small fractures in the hydrocarbon producing formation. Hydraulic pressure is removed and a proppant (a special sand) is introduced to keep the fractures open. Superior Silica required a very robust bucket elevator to elevate frac sand unloaded from railcars to a discharge height of over 115 feet entering a storage silo. The frac sand is specially screened for the fracking process and therefore has a very uniform grain size, nicely rounded grain shapes and a uniform composition. It is also a very tough material that can resist compressive forces of up to several tons per square inch.

Design Parameters

  1. Product Type: Frac sand (Fine, average flow, extremely abrasive)
  2. Material Density: 100 PCF
  3. Bucket Elevator Capacity: 2,500 CFH
  4. Duty: 8-10 Hours per Day, 7 Days per week

KWS Advantages

Superior Silica organized this project through a local installation contractor that had worked with KWS successfully on many previous projects. Additional storage capacity was need at the Kosse, Texas location and second bucket elevator was needed along with a storage silo. Equipment installation contractors love working with KWS because of the high quality equipment and installation assistance that we provide to make site work simple and trouble-free. As an ISO 9001-2008 certified manufacturer, every process involves a comprehensive engineering review to take eliminate any design, manufacturing or installation headaches. KWS provides a full set of Autodesk Inventor 3D drawings during the review process to check for design and interference issues and a detailed Operations and Maintenance manual containing all the information required to install and maintain the equipment. Engineers from KWS met with Superior Silica and the installation contractor to completely understand the application and project requirements and offer a cost-effective solution.

Special Features

Based on many years of experience, KWS provided a heavy-duty centrifugal type bucket elevator. Since frac sand is extremely abrasive the elevator boot section was manufactured using abrasion-resistant plate (AR-235) for long life. The intermediate sections were manufactured with bolted access doors and removable end panels for easy access for maintenance. The discharge spout in the head section was also manufactured from abrasion-resistant plate (AR-235) and had an adjustable throat, inspection door, double disc head pulley and spherical roller bearings. The belt and buckets were carefully selected based on the harsh application to provide a long-lasting system and to avoid maintenance shut downs. A total of 178 industrial nylon buckets and 30 cast carbon steel “digger” buckets were used. KWS provided a 20-HP drive to ensure that there was plenty of power to elevate the sand. The expertise and experience KWS offered was once again confirmed with the successful installation and operation of the bucket elevator.


"There is no better choice for heavy-duty material handing equipment than KWS!"

Robert Petrin, Project Coordinator – Shamrock Systems, Inc.


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