The value of solids handling to the world economy.

Bulk material handling s is by far the largest international industrial activity, with over 16,000,000,000 tonnes of common products handled each year, many time from source to use. It is a mature operation, dating back more than 4,000 years, yet the development of industry and growth of population, the technology is of recent development and is far from offering the degree of reliable prediction that is readily available to designers of equipment for handling liquids and gasses. Advances were introduced from soil mechanics and Andrew Jenike made a breakthrough in hopper design and the quantification of powder flow properties in the 1960’s, but the immense backlog of established industry and limited output of engineers with education in this field, meant that the available techniques were, and are not yet, widely exploited.

Research in bulk technology is essentially focussed on specific areas and it is impossible for a single study to cover the immense range of variables that are experienced in this massive activity. It also tends to be highly sophisticated and, not surprisingly when fitting formula to specific findings, produces equations that may have limited applications.

Bulk material handling s is by far the largest international industrial activity, with over 16,000,000,000 tonnes of common products handled each year.

The massive industrial need is for widespread, relatively low-level education in the basics of the science, so that decisions can be made that recognise the importance of measured property values where they significantly influence the performance of equipment and processes.

Areas such as understanding flow regimes that develop during discharge from storage, mechanisms causing different fractions of a material to segregate in a flow route and the significance of particle packing to flow condition should be clear to anyone involved in bulk handling systems. This level of appreciation is well below that offered by Universities or International Conferences and is not satisfied by the take-up of excellent courses on the subject that are available through specialist organisations, such as the Wolfson Centre, based on the University of Greenwich. The internet now provides a vehicle of immense potential for distance learning, but it is also inundated with junk, commercial interests and sources of dubious authority. The technical Committee of SHAPA publish a series of guide notes and the web site and have forums that discusses practical aspects.

See BMHB publication –  The Global status of bulk materials handling


Good Practice

BMHB promotes good and safe practices and identify practical handling needs throughout the industry. We also identify areas for research and produce documents, guide notes and data. Read More

About Us

The British Materials Handling Board was formed by the Government in 1979. A key objective was to act as a focus for the dissemination of knowledge and good practice in the materials handling industry. Read More


Hopper design was virtually a black art until the 1960’s, when Andrew Jenike published Bull 123 of the University of Utah experimental station. Read More


This page contains links to some of our most popular guidance publications we have produced. Please feel free to order our test and design guides and share them with your colleagues. Read More


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