A custom conveyor system designed by Kemper Equipment

How Should I Design My Conveyor System?

To the material handling equipment and systems experts like us here at Kemper Equipment, the simple question, “how should I design my conveyor system?” is not simple at all.

And our answer to that question is more like a request—tell us all about your operation, your production goals, and your project demands so that we can custom-design your ideal conveyor system. 

The Short Answer: Custom Conveyor System Design

Why custom design instead of a more “off the shelf,” one-size-fits-most approach to installing conveyors?

Well, as we’ve said in the past, no two aggregate or mineral processing sites are quite alike. The wide variety of possible challenges presented by moving diverse materials frequently calls for advanced solutions that only conveyor system customization can address.

Additionally, conveyor systems are almost always an integral part of a more extensive, multi-stage production process. As such, the entire operation must be considered, or you risk creating an unbalanced plant with bottlenecks throughout.

As we shared in our recent success story about helping a local aggregate producer totally revamp their underperforming plant, taking a piecemeal approach to system design usually results in both performance and profitability challenges. You can correct these challenges later, as we showed, but they do not have to occur in the first place!

The Biggest Factors We Consider in Conveyor Design

While countless factors make each material handling operation unique and affect how to find the best conveyor system for your needs, the following are a few of the most significant points we look at when approaching a new design project. Note that while screw and pneumatic-style conveyors are also available, we mainly provide belt conveyors, as they are the most versatile within the aggregate and mineral processing industry.

Materials You Need to Move

Does your operation extract materials directly from the earth and process them on-site? Or, do you work with recycled asphalt/reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP)? Perhaps you process sand, salt, fertilizer, or even glass. These diverse materials each have very different properties and handling requirements.

As we covered in our earlier blog post about understanding different conveyor types, the size and shape of the material you work with, as well as its physical status while in motion—wet, sticky, sharp, etc.—are some of the main things you need to account for when choosing and designing the right conveyors.

The properties of your material will affect everything from your conveyors’ belt tension and operational speed capabilities to the overall types of conveyors you should consider for your circuit.

Environmental Factors

conveyor system

Conveyor systems, believe it or not, are a very environmentally friendly way to transport your product through tough terrain or protected land. Conveyors cause a minimal disturbance in the area versus creating new roadways for truck hauling.

Loading conditions and various aspects of your operational environment need to be carefully considered as you plan your conveyors. This includes thinking about conveyor belt lengths and lifts, as well as determining if you’ll need big turns at various points along the production line.

Distance to Cover


Conveyors can be horizontal or inclined. Which one is used at a particular point in your process depends upon whether the material might need to be moved across vast distances via overland conveyors, for instance, or stockpiled with radial stackers.

Tonnage per Hour Production Requirements

When you’re setting up a new aggregate processing operation, you may not know your production requirements at first. You can explore our previous post featuring material calculators & aggregate processing tech resources to help you, or just give us a call here at Kemper Equipment to consult and create an optimized production plan.

As we discussed in the past, your conveyor belt widths will be directly affected by how fast you need to move material. Typical operating speeds tend to be between 300-500 feet per minute.


This is a somewhat newer consideration in custom designing aggregate processing plants and material handling solutions. It’s true that a variety of industry trends—a focus on better safety, for one—are driving the adoption of conveyors in places where truck hauling used to be common.

When we design new conveyor systems here at Kemper Equipment today, we look for opportunities to introduce this machinery into processes where it perhaps didn’t fit in the past. After all, conveyors are proving their value in labor and maintenance cost savings for more operations now.

Main Conveyor Types You Need to Know

Want to know more about the types of conveyors available? We’ve already touched on overland conveyors and radial stackers, but conveyors in aggregate processing can also be:

  • Transfer conveyors that resolve elevation changes and turns, as well as facilitate transitions between other conveyor types.
  • Telescopic conveyors, which are often portable—an excellent conveyor option for operations that frequently move between different sites.
  • Railcar and barge loading/unloading conveyors that help keep material flowing at high speed with assistance from pressure or vacuum technology.

View our conveyor project gallery for even more examples of conveyor equipment and systems.

Kemper Equipment Is Here to Supply the Conveyor Systems You Need

When you want to design your conveyor systems for material handling, aggregate processing, mining, and quarrying right the first time, you need to consult an expert customization resource like Kemper Equipment.

Whether you’re stuck in the planning phases of getting a new plant up and running or your current conveyor system configuration is underperforming, we will find the solutions to your problems. Let us help you move forward in creating the best possible operation to meet all of your production goals. Get in touch with our knowledgeable and proactive team today to discover our collaborative and innovative approach to your success.