Safeguarding the environment, and gaining acceptance from the local community, have become increasingly important in evaluating new projects and selecting the right technology from the start. Pneumatic conveying technologies correctly implemented into a plant or terminal respond to these needs with dust-free, economical, low maintenance and low manpower operation conveying systems.

As a world leader in materials handling solutions, RTA Alesa goes beyond conveying materials. Serving the industry from its engineering offices in Switzerland, Canada, France and Australia, RTA Alesa delivers fully integrated materials handling solutions that optimize processes and performance.

Specializing in a broad range of technologies for handling bulk material, RTA Alesa works diligently to understand the client’s requirements, systems, processes and products. Striving to implement cost-effective solutions as well as minimizing the operation cost (OPEX) for the end user, RTA Alesa’s team of experienced specialists completely covers all aspects of any scale of project.

RTA Alesa offers technologies and services in many industries:


  • materials handling/process plants;
  • technical assistance (system audits);
  • material testing;
  • feasibility studies;
  • general contracting (turnkey project management); v after-sales service; and
  • training. 



Whether transporting directly from point A to B, or using a more complex route with multiple entry points and destinations, RTA Alesa has a solution.

RTA Alesa conveying systems cover a wide range of bulk materials, including but not limited to:

  • alumina (primary and secondary);
  • fluoride;
  • phosphate/potash/urea;
  • carbon products;
  • crushed bath;
  • fly ash, bottom ash;
  • copper concentrate;
  • metal powders;
  • sand;
  • cement;and
  • limestone.



RTA Alesa provides customized dense phase conveying solutions for greenfield and existing plants in various industries worldwide. Its innovative, fully enclosed systems use less air and power, delivering unbeatable economic performance and reliability. More than 600km of dense phase piping have been installed around the world.


RTA Alesa’s solid phase system consists of specially developed pressure vessels, conveying piping and diverters. This breakthrough technology reduces air consumption by up to 50% when compared to a standard dense phase system. Due to its extremely low conveying speed (similar to an air gravity conveying system), the system gently conveys the product thus preventing attrition and wear.


Typical applications for pneumatic elevators are silo filling or process equipment feed, and in most applications they use low pressure air or high vacuum generated by blowers. With capacities of up to 1,800tph (tonnes per hour), pneumatic elevators provide a low maintenance alternative to bucket elevators and they achieve higher feeding elevations than inclined belt conveyors. RTA Alesa has developed pneumatic elevator technologies to handle fluidizable materials as well as coarser- grained products such as pet coke, crushed bath and potash.


AGCs are a well proven conveying system for fluidizable materials for short distances as well as distances covering several hundred metres. RTA Alesa also uses these types of conveyors as a self-supporting structure to cover large spans.

The AGC functions on the principle of fluidization and gravity. This technology allows for the material to behave like a fluid and flow freely on a downward slope. Due to the elimination of moving parts in the material and the use of gravity to promote the material flow, RTA Alesa AGCs typically operate for decades without replacement of the material handling parts, and with no more than routine maintenance to the blowers. 

RTA Alesa goes beyond conveying materials and delivers fully integrated materials handling solutions that optimize processes and performance.


For any bulk materials, RTA Alesa professionals develop leading edge storage solutions providing both cylindrical concrete or steel shell silos as well as dome silos.

RTA Alesa supplies storage facilities with up to 100,000 tonnes capacity, state-of-the-art feeding and reclaiming systems, anti-segregation and blending equipment as well as fluidized and mechanical extraction systems.

Whether the scope is for supply only or lump sum turnkey (LSTK) projects, RTA Alesa delivers the best and most economic solution.


RTA Alesa provides the highest capacity pneumatic ship unloaders for the aluminium industry (up to 1,500tph), serving major smelters around the globe. Shiploaders as well as combined shiploader/unloaders are available for a wide variety of bulk materials. Each shiploader/unloader is custom built to meet the client’s exact needs and specifications.

The RTA Alesa ship unloader can be designed to unload alumina only or various products such as alumina, fluoride and coke with a single machine.

The quay’s load distribution requirements determine the portal frame’s design. Vessel size and tide conditions dictate the boom and/or telescope’s length.

RTA Alesa delivers its shiploader/unloader fully assembled and pre-commissioned therefore avoiding any disturbance to client port’s operations during installation.


RTA Alesa provides high-capacity dust-free loading/unloading stations for various products. These facilities have been proven in industrial applications over many years. Railcar or truck loading/unloading characteristically involves a short cycle time with high environmental standards in terms of dust prevention. RTA Alesa’s equipment and controls have been developed to meet these specific customer challenges.


The heart of any pneumatic handling system is the air producer. The simplicity and reliability of RTA Alesa centrifugal blowers, combined with their flow control technology, provides end users with the most economical air supply and distribution solution. With high efficiency and low maintenance requirements, each machine is designed and built to meet the customer’s exact specifications and applications.

RTA Alesa is a true material handling specialist forever seeking niche applications and challenges. 

Repeat orders strengthen VIGAN success  

The sale of VIGAN pneumatic ship unloaders hit a historic record in 2014 with a double- digit growth for the second year in a row. Growth was present in all ranges of ship unloaders:


  • high-capacity unloaders on gantry for large sea-going vessels mainly in North Africa and Middle East;
  • medium-size unloaders for river barges in Europe; and
  • small-size flexible grain pumps all over Africa and Asia.
  • VIGAN is very proud to have a few repeat orders from existing customers after many years of operation.


The request for reliability and long-term servicing is key for buyers. VIGAN has designed and manufactured everything from its Belgian headquarters since 1968 and is still being requested to supply spare parts for unloaders that are 25–30 years old. VIGAN greatly enjoys maintaining such long-term relationships and contracts with its customers. This long-term reliability is a pre- requisite in the bulk industry.

For the last three to four years, the majority of VIGAN sales have been of large 600tph (tonnes per hour) unloaders, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa.

To a lesser extent,VIGAN has also sold smaller equipment, namely designed for barge unloading.

In 2014, VIGAN installed a pneumatic barge unloader with a capacity of 400tph at Socomac (Soufflet Group) in France, to discharge grain and malt from barges.

The unloader is built on a fixed structure. It is equipped with two turbo groups, each composed of a main electrical motor of 160kW/400V and a three stages turbo blower, with direct drive, controlled by a frequency inverter.

The 17.5-metre boom is completely hot-dipped galvanized and is equipped with a gangway all along it for easier maintenance.

VIGAN already supplied several machines to Soufflet group:  

Malteries d’Alsace in Strasbourg, Grands Moulins de Corbeil, Grands Moulins de Pantin, Ceres in Brussels, Socomac.

The same year, VIGAN also installed a pneumatic unloader with a capacity of 200tph (160kW) at Mouterij Albert (Heineken Group) in Belgium, with a boom of 15 metres to discharge malt from barges. VIGAN already supplied several machines to Heineken group, namely in The Netherlands and Belgium.

In 2015,VIGAN installed a new pneumatic unloader for barges in Batangas (Philippines).This machine has a capacity of 250tph and is equipped with a motor of 130kW (0.52kWh/t).

The former VIGAN gantry that was installed on the same site in 1997 is still in operation. VIGAN also equipped it recently with a frequency inverter that will allow a power consumption saving of ±20%.


Every year changes are minor but VIGAN constantly innovates in order to:

  • reduce the operational costs of the equipment, such as power consumption for instance;
  • increase the shelf life of the components;
  • favour environment, safety and operator working conditions; and
  • improve its technological know-how and productivity in engineering and manufacturing.


Several technological changes have been made during the last years to remain competitive.

VIGAN is using the latest technologies for low energy consumption (recent figures down to less than 0.6kWh/t): for instance, the turbo blower, with direct drive, is controlled by a frequency inverter (also called speed variator) that reduces power consumption by around 25% in comparison with traditional systems.

Other technical improvements include the reinforcement of the piping, made from hard materials like TRITEN (hardness over 700 HB) and HARDOX 450 (hardness of 450 HB). Also, the 

elbow is in wear-resistant Ni-Hard cast iron (customers have reported the unloading of more than 7 million tonnes of cargo with the original elbow without any maintenance!).


Moreover, pneumatic CSUs (continuous ship unloaders) are environmentally friendly because the cargo is handled in totally enclosed system from the ship hold to the delivery in trucks, quay side conveyors, wagons, and more.

At the transfer point where some dust could escape into the environment, such as the loading spouts into trucks, special devices are mounted to suck the air/dust and filter it before blowing out into the atmosphere.

This is one of the reasons why, along the rivers where frequently ecological and neighbour associations are very attentive to the protection of the environment, the pneumatic CSUs continue to have success for discharging barges.

Noise reduction being also a major concern, special techniques have been developed by VIGAN to comply with the most strict regulations.

VIGAN has always been very aware of the need to protect the environment.