While mechanical conveyors are best suited in moving larger objects, and do so by way of spinning rollers, vibrating plates, and moving belts, pneumatic conveyors provide an alternative. Pneumatic conveyors are ideal for moving small objects like granulated materials, fine silica, and other powdered substances. Pneumatic conveyors are recommended for this use, due to the incapability of mechanical conveyors to move smaller objects safely and effectively. For a start, a couple of characteristics of a pneumatic conveyor is that they are completely enclosed and that they lack a conveyor belt. These features prevent fine powdered materials from spilling or escaping into the air, and getting stuck between the mechanical components of a belt, respectively. Pneumatic conveying is used for processes such as bulk bag unloading, railcar unloading, and sometimes in food handling.
A wide range of industries utilize pneumatic conveying for different applications. Materials such as plastic pellets, talc, alumina, fly ash, coffee, seeds, grain, and flour are transported through a pneumatic conveyor. The use of a mechanical conveyor can put smaller objects at risk of spilling, being scattered, or being dispersed. The risk of dispersion can be severely detrimental for applications used in the food processing and pharmaceutical industries, due to the strict and health and safety regulations implemented in all of their operations. Read More…
Pneumatic conveyors give numerous industries the ability to transport materials without the risk of the products being contaminated or lost. In addition to food processing and pharmaceutical, additional industries that can benefit from pneumatic conveying include mineral and petrochemical processors. Pneumatic conveying machines can be customized and installed in a way that all of the application’s requirements are met. As a result, the conveyor can operate at maximum efficiency and avoid interfering with other operations in the facility. As opposed to mechanical conveyors, pneumatic conveyors can be more flexible in design and can be made to move around complicated corners, between multiple floor levels, and between buildings.
In addition to structural design, conveyor systems can be built to handle a wide variety of materials of diverse properties. Manufacturers frequently design pneumatic conveyor systems to handle a certain type of material. For example, certain designs handle materials that are abrasive, dangerous, prone to caking or clumping, sticky, non-free flowing, friable, or heterogeneous. Respectively, examples of these types of products include silica sand, sodium sulfate, fly ash, sugar, flour, graphite flakes, and cereal.
There are two ways to categorize most pneumatic conveyors, depending on conveyance speeds and pressure. The first type is known as a dilute phase conveyor. This type of conveyor is the most common, and get their name from their ability to use compressed air or a vacuum to dilute materials by suspending them in a conveyance channel and preventing them from making prolonged contact with its surfaces. In turn, the materials can flow without obstruction from the source to the destination. The second category is known as a “dense phase” conveyor. Dense phase conveyors are equipped to handle the transportation of larger materials, and thus do not feature a vacuum or compressed air mechanisms. In a dense phase conveyor, objects slide along the bottom of the conveyance channel instead of being agitated and suspended inside it. The configuration of a pneumatic conveyor greatly depends on its intended operation, and the properties of the materials the machine will work with.
For the use of bulk material handling, flexible screw and tubular drag conveyors are utilized. Both these types require less energy, but they both put materials at a higher risk of product damage and loss. That said, There are more benefits of using pneumatic conveyors instead, especially for materials that are non-free flowing, liquefiable, and friable. First, pneumatic conveyors keep product leakage to a minimum. This is incredibly beneficial for industrial applications that cannot afford certain materials to leak, as they can be highly hazardous. Second, pneumatic conveyors allow for the operations to be more sanitary. Third, pneumatic conveyors come in a wide range of models and configurations to meet the various needs of multiple industries. Finally, using pneumatic conveyors greatly reduces material loss and product damage.