Bulk Materials Handling Committee

The Bulk Materials Handling Technical Activity Committee (BMHC) provides a focus for technology transfer, the exchange of information and ideas, and the dissemination of best engineering knowledge and practice in the bulk materials handling industry.

The storage, handling and processing of bulk and powdered materials is an important and integral part of many modern industrial processes. A number of years ago it was estimated that materials handling in all forms represented one seventh of UK GNP. Several recent surveys have shown that about 50% of the products handled by industry are in bulk or powder form on a volume basis, representing about 30% by value.

Chairman's note

The multi-billion pound Bulk Materials Handling business sector covers the design, supply, manufacture and support for equipment used in the moving of bulk commodities with a strong emphasis on engineered solutions. The industry serves a wide range of end user sectors including chemicals, plastics, minerals, mining & quarrying, pharmaceutical, power generation, cement, water treatment, iron and steel, oil and gas, food (including flour and grains) and animal feeds.

The Bulk Materials Handling TAC aims to provide a platform for the transfer of technical information and advice covering many disciplines, some of which are listed below:

  • Bulk materials storage
  • Bagging and bag handling systems
  • Consultancy and testing
  • Mechanical conveying and conveyor systems
  • Pneumatic conveying
  • Feeders
  • Powder handling and storage
  • Dust collection and control systems
  • Crushing, grinding and granulation
  • Sizing and sorting systems
  • Sieves and sifters
  • Magnetic separators and metal detectors
  • Mixers, blenders & blending systems
  • Process Instrumentation, weighing  and control
  • Sampling equipment

Alan Jackson, Bulk Materials Handling Committee Chair

What we do

  • Meet together three times a year for networking, programme planning and output review, policy formulation and continued professional development
  • Represent the Institution's membership in the bulk industry by providing high quality information
  • Award the IMechE Bulk Materials Handling Award for Innovation and the Bulk Solids Handling Award sponsored by SHAPA.
  • Organise lectures, webinars, seminars conferences on a range of technical topics which covers emerging technologies and compliance
  • Work closely with colleagues from external organisations such as SHAPA, MHEA to provide benefit for everyone in the bulk materials industry.

Over the last decade the Committee has organised approximately two bulk handling seminars a year on topical subjects such as hopper/silo design, pneumatic conveying, belt conveying, sampling, blending/segregation, attrition and degradation and ATEX.

Join our Bulk Materials Handling Committee LinkedIn Page.

Our objectives

  1. The Institution’s focus for bulk materials handling, providing a platform for the transfer of technical information and advice covering as it does across many disciplines
  2. Promote and support Institution members in their professional bulk materials handling related activities
  3. Promote awareness within the bulk materials handling industry of the benefits of professional engineering
  4. Work closely with other bulk material handling organisations to deliver relevant and timely events, guidance and news to the industry
  5. Promote at all levels education and training including continuing professional development in bulk materials handing engineering and to influence its content
  6. Promote excellence in bulk materials handling
  7. Encourage adequately informed consideration of the bulk materials handling engineering aspects in matters of public, industrial and legislative interests

Committee members

Eur Ing Graham Leason CEng FIMechE BSc - Acting Chair

Graham LeasonDirector and Consultant Engineer, Tech-A Ltd.

Graham has over 49 years in years in a variety of engineering industries including over 39 years in bulk materials handling. Currently running his own consultancy business providing engineering advice and assistance specialising in bulk materials handling.

Following an apprenticeship at BAC, he studied for an honours degree in mechanical engineering at Surrey University. He has worked in many engineering disciplines from shop floor through the drawing office then onto design management and now consultancy.

His bulk materials handling design experience has been in a broad range of industries including open pit and underground mining plant, long overland high powered conveyors, sand and gravel plants, coal handling, domestic waste and biomass handling facilities.

He is a past chairman of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Bulk Materials Handling Committee, vice chair of the IMechE Process Board, sits on the BSI – MHE/9 Committee and is a member of Material Handling Engineers Association.

Ian Hancock Eng Tech MIET IEng MIMechE - Vice Chair

Ian HancockOperations Manager, Bradley Pulverizer Company 

Ian has over 30 years experience in engineering is registered as an IEng Engineer in  variety of disciplines including mechanical, electrical and instrumentation and is a member of the IMechE and IET. 

He studied at Canterbury College of Technology in the Department of Engineering and Mining, followed by a technician apprenticeship in aerospace. He then made a move into heavy engineering in a wide range of industries from paper mills and power generation to quarrying and dredging specialising in bulk material handling with conveyors, size reduction and heavy trommel equipment.

He now works for Bradley Pulverizer Company as Operations Manager managing projects from quote to commissioning, as well as managing upgrades and modernisation of existing plants. Specialising in fine powders production and size classification for a wide range of industries from power generation, steel manufacturing and fertilizer to specialised small scale milling of unusual materials.


Ian Atkinson BSc C.Eng MIMechE MIQ

Ian AtkinsonEngineering Director, C Spencer Ltd.

Graduating from Trent Polytechnic in 1984 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Ian became a Chartered Engineer in 1993.

Ian’s background is in mining and quarrying, becoming a Member of the Institute of Quarrying (MIQ) in 2003. 

In 2005, Ian joined C Spencer Ltd and was set the task of developing a mechanical handling/process engineering customer base

Since targeting this market, C Spencer Ltd have won over £100 million worth of work in the sector establishing themselves as market leaders in the provision of bio-fuel handling and storage solutions.

Ian Birkinshaw MSc

Ian BirkinshawGeneral Secretary of the Solids Handling and Processing Association (SHAPA)

Ian started working in the field of bulk solids handling over 40 years ago with the Shepherd Group and transferred within the group to Portasilo, initially starting as a commissioning engineer and held many roles within the business including Sales Manager and finally Operations Director. 

Ian retired from Portasilo in 2014 and took on the role of General Secretary of SHAPA where for more than 30 years, over 100 member companies have combined to be the UK's leading specialist association for the solids handling and processing Industry.


Prof Michael Bradley CEng FMHEA BSc PhD

Michael bradley

Director, The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology, University of Greenwich.

Mike undertook a technician apprenticeship in the aerospace sector then a degree in engineering at Thames Polytechnic.

Following a period working in control systems for aircraft, he switched to bulk solids handling through a PhD in Pneumatic Conveying at Thames Polytechnic, developing a powder characterisation and pipeline design method that is now widely used.

He has subsequently worked on a broad range of bulk solids handling challenges ranging from silo design and wear protection, through segregation, caking, and plant integration, and has designed plants all over the world in industries from aggregates and coal through chemicals and petro-chem to pharmaceuticals and precious metals.  More recently he has developed activities in particle engineering and powder characterisation.

Mike has written over a hundred papers on these subjects and leads the Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology at the University of Greenwich, one of the world’s foremost centres of excellence for research and consultancy in solids handling technologies.  However he retains a strong interest in hands-on engineering and is always happiest in the field with his overalls on, troubleshooting or optimising a system for a customer.

Mike is currently chairman of the Technical Committee of the Solids Handling and Processing Association (SHAPA), a Fellow of the Material Handling Engineers Association (MHEA) and highly active in promoting training, best practice and education in solids handling for both budding and practising engineers, through the Bulk Materials Handling Committee and The Wolfson Centre’s own short courses for industry.

Julie Claus

Julie Claus

Association Manager, Materials Handling Engineers Association (MHEA)

As Association Manager for the MHEA, Julie Claus manages the administration and marketing activities.  

From managing its membership database, arranging meetings and member site visits, to project managing and organising high profile events including the annual BULKEX conference, exhibition and awards dinner, Julie ensures the smooth running of the MHEA’s administration with first class customer service and considerable organisational skills.


Peter Guttridge CEng MIMechE MA,

peter guttridgeChairman, Guttridge Ltd
Peter graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Engineering in 1977, joining the family business in 1979.

From a strong practical engineering background, Peter set about improving manufacturing capabilities to support growing interests in bulk materials handling machinery. His investments in CNC machinery, computers and software in the 1980s helped the company expand from its animal feed milling roots.
Peter designed and project managed many mechanical, electrical and control system upgrades to the company’s straw processing facility, culminating in a complete new plant build in 1997.

During the 1990s Peter introduced new product ranges, taking the company into food processing markets. More recently, he has overseen a sustained increase in sales driven by opportunities in biomass handling, as well exports of handling equipment to the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa. Guttridge Ltd is now one of the leading UK manufacturers of Bulk Materials Handling Equipment

Peter was elected Chairman of the Solids Handling and Processing Association (Shapa) in 2013.


Ralph Charles Knight

ralph charles knightA mechanical engineer with established expertise in bulk materials handling, including bulk storage, extraction and metering of materials; pneumatic pipeline, mechanical and hydraulic conveying.  

Corporate bulk materials handling specialist for Blue Circle Cement Industries/Lafarge Cement until 2001. Track record includes major corporate projects and consultancy work world-wide, for the cement manufacture, quarrying & heavy process industries.

Recent projects have included several large bulk storage, and rail loading/unloading facilities for various bulk materials including; limestone, clay, shale, slate, coal, clinker, gypsum, Portland cement and fly ash.

Highly experienced in trouble-shooting, managing and training on critical issues such as cost, quality, safety and the environment.

Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Bulk Materials Handling Committee since 1986.

Dr Eddie McGee

eddie mckeeTechnical Director, Ajax Equipment Limited

Eddie has over 25 years of industrial experience in the technical review and engineering of working solutions for a large number of solids handling projects in chemical, pharmaceutical, nuclear, waste, food, confectionery and other industries.

Currently Technical Director at Ajax Equipment, he is involved in the detailed specification, design and supply of bespoke mechanical solids handling equipment, generally screw feeders, conveyors, mixers and elevators as well as ancillary items such as hoppers, intermediate bulk containers and chutes.

In 2005 he gained a PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University for his work on characterisation and flow behaviour in hoppers and screw feeders. In 2008 he was awarded the IMechE Bulk Materials Handling Award for Innovation.


He is a past Chairman of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Bulk Materials Handling Committee, where he continues to serve, and is an active participant in the European Federation of Chemical Engineering Working Party on Mechanics of Particulate Solids.


Peter Skinner IEng. FIOM3 FMES

Peter SkinnerTechnical Director, Hargreaves Industrial Services

Starting with a mechanical apprenticeship with the National Coal Board in 1975, Peter has worked in the bulk materials handling business for over 35 years.

After leaving British Coal in 1990, he worked in various areas of the materials handling sector including Ace Conveyor Equipment Ltd and Mech Construction Ltd (formerly Mining Supplies), before joining Norec, now Hargreaves Industrial Services, in 2000 as a project engineer.

Since then he has held a number of positions within the company and at present is Technical Director for the Industrial Services Division of Hargreaves Services Ltd.

Professor Ugur Tuzun

Prof tuzun

Ugur Tuzun was supported by a Wolfson Foundation scholarship during his PhD study at Churchill College Cambridge (1976-1979) which was followed by an EPSRC supported post-doctoral research appointment (1979-1982) in the Department of Chemical Engineering of Cambridge University. He subsequently had a period of industrial secondment in the States before returning to UK in 1983.

Ugur Tuzun is a Fellow of the RSA, Fellow of the IChemE (UK) and is registered as chartered scientist (CSci) and chartered engineer (CEng) with the UK Engineering Council. He is a member of the EPSRC's Process and Environmental Systems Engineering Peer Review College, UK Engineering Professors' Council and council member and past-president of the National Conference of University Professors (NCUP).

Prof. Tuzun has held the post of head of department of chemical and process engineering at the University of Surrey between 1999 and 2008 as well as the post of the School of Engineering Director of Research (2003-2007). He has had visiting appointments and academic secondments in Caltech (USA), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, (USA), UNSW-Sydney and Melbourne University (Australia), UTC University of Technology, Compiegne (France) and University of Oxford. He was a visiting scientist to "PARDEM"- an EU Marie Curie research partnership network (2010-2014).

He acts as consultant to a number of professional boards and technology committees in the Institutions of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering's Process Industries Division.

Prof. Tuzun's research interests and activities include multi-phase process systems engineering, particle science and technology, nano-technology, environmental process systems and systems integration design.

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