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The Importance of Hopper Feeder Safety When Crushing


No matter how well crushing machines are designed to protect their operators from injury, manufacturers can never completely safeguard for moments of error, oversight, and even disregard. While it may be tempting to cut corners in order to avoid downtime, trying to save even a few minutes’ time could lead to serious injury or death.

Among the various components of rock crushing equipment, the hopper feeder could be regarded as the one that presents the most risk. After all, the hopper feeder attracts heavy vehicles that deposit large quantities of hard material for screening and crushing. With these dangers looming, it is crucial to regularly brush up on crushing safety recommendations and protocol.

One of the more proactive choices that any safety-conscientious operator can make to reduce risk is to remain vigilant. When operating stone crushing equipment or operating vehicles for depositing material, like rocks or concrete, into the hopper feeder, take time to assess the area for any potential issues, like workers too close to heavy equipment or blockages in the hopper feeder itself.

To prevent blockages, especially in concrete crushing machines, the general size of each particle being deposited into the hopper feeder needs to be assessed. It is recommended that any materials being deposited into the hopper feeder should be at most 80% the size of the crusher opening into which the feeder processes material, often referred to as the F80 rule.

Eagle Crusher RipRap® Portable Hopper Feeder Plant
An example of a hopper feeder plant, the Eagle Crusher RipRap®. To learn more about this specific plant, click here.

As material is being processed, it is unequivocally advised that plant operators should never attempt to pick out material as it flows through the hopper. This kind of irresponsible activity, from atop the operator’s platform or even the crusher body itself, is a serious breach of safety and could result in serious injury or death.

Should a blockage occur in the hopper feeder, it is important to shut down the crusher plant and to follow proper lock-out-tag-out procedures as soon as possible without creating any additional safety issues; shutting down the machine will prevent any injury to the crushing machine and its operators as the blockage is removed.

After the crushing machine is shut down, the blockage should be assessed to determine which perpetrating material needs removed. Operators should attempt to remove the blockage by mechanical means first, and if the material cannot be removed by mechanical means, it should then only be manually removed by someone who has been competently trained.

Whenever you are operating industrial crushing equipment or addressing safety concerns, it is always best to have a spotter to watch for any emerging issues. Remember, saving lives is more important than saving time; following safety protocol is in the best interest of everyone involved, so please take time to be mindful and to be safe.

This article does not serve as an official safety recommendation by Eagle Crusher and should not be viewed as such. All relevant staff should consult their owner’s manual before operating Eagle Crusher equipment, or any other manufacturer’s equipment, and comply with the safety guidelines therein.

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