February 4, 2020

Dry Bulk Materials: Know the Pneumatic Conveying System

For many manufacturing facilities, it is possible for the bulk material to remain exposed to the elements. Whether working with automotive parts or food, the material does not need to travel through an enclosed system during production. As long as a suitable HVAC system is installed in the production facility and the right safety measures are taken, most goods don’t need to remain inside an enclosure. But, what happens when a portion, if not all of a particular product, needs to be contained? When this is the case, a pneumatic conveyor system might be relied on to do exactly this. But what are pneumatic conveying systems, and how do they work? Here is what you need to know about the system and whether or not it is the right system for your production facility.

What is a Pneumatic Conveyor System?

This is a truly unique and specialized conveyor system. It is different from most other setups. Sometimes an entire manufacturing facility will be made up of various pneumatic conveyor elements. In contrast, other facilities may only require one portion of their production conveyor to utilize the pneumatic elements. Regardless of how heavily a manufacturing facility relies on this equipment, a pneumatic conveying system uses pressure differentials and gas flow to move dry bulk materials (such as powders) through an enclosed piping system. The pressure and gas flow will move the bulk material via compressors, fans, roots blowers, and other equipment to control the movement of the bulk material and ensure it is transported to the next stage in the manufacturing process.

Common Industries Using Pneumatic Conveyor Systems

The sports supplementation and health food industries heavily rely on this kind of conveyor setup. Foods that come in powders, such as protein powders to green plant extracts and powdered chocolate milk, will use this kind of a setup. Other materials like flour or certain bulk spices might be processed through this setup.

The medical industry will use this kind of conveyor configuration as well. Cleaning products, like powdered laundry detergent, can also be used in this kind of setup. When a bulk powdered material cannot move on an open-air conveyor system, the enclosed pneumatic conveying system is a desirable production option to look further into.

Various Phases in the Pneumatic Conveying System

Using this equipment is not a singular phase that moves the bulk material from one station to the next. Various phases go into keeping the production running.

For starters, there is what is known as a lean phase. This conveyor method is one of the more basic setups. An inlet gas filter might be used close to the material feeder. The gas filter helps push the material feeder up into a separating vessel, which helps filter out unwanted materials. A vacuum generator is on the other side of this, which helps pull bulk material up through the filter. The remaining good material is then deposited out of the separating vessel through a discharge valve. This is what is known as a negative pressure lean phase. A positive pressure lean phase is used when a pressure generator is used alongside the feed hopper. The pressure generator pushes the bulk material up into a cyclone. The desired bulk material will let gravity move it down through a rotary valve and down through a material discharge.

A medium phase will work similarly to the positive pressure lean phase. With this, a pressurized generator is again set up alongside the material feeder, which helps push bulk material up into the separating vessel. There is a high-level probe in the vessel and an explosion relief topper often used on the vessel. The unwanted material will be pushed up out of the vessel via a filter. In contrast, the desired bulk material will work down through the rotary valve and out the material discharge.

Next, there is the dense phase. The dense phase builds on top of the medium phase. While the pressure generator is set up next to the material feeder, the material feeder will first deposit material down into a blow tank. The blow tank and pressure generator will push the bulk product into a storage silo. At the top of the storage silo is a high-level probe, and the filter for unwanted material is located on the top of the silo. Desired bulk material will then flow down through the discharge valve and out the material discharge.

The continuous dense phase is a far more elaborate setup. Again, the pressure generator is set up next to the material feeder. This time, the pressure generator will first push pressure through the gas reservoir and a sonic nozzle. The material feed will also deposit the bulk material through not one but two blow tanks. As the material works through the second blow tank, the pressure generator will push through the sonic nozzle and out of a pressure regulator and then an injector. This, when combined with blow tank number two, will push the bulk product through powder injectors and out to a receiver.

Is a Pneumatic Conveyor System Right For Your Business?

Do you work with dried powders or goods that will not remain in a traditional conveyor belt? If you do, a pneumatic conveyor system may be the answer to your production needs. Or perhaps you’re not exactly sure if such a system is right for the material you work with. In that case, the best way to determine this is to contact the team at Gough Econ. From answering your questions to setting up orders and analyzing your current system to ensure whatever you’re ordering will work with your manufacturing configuration, the experts at Gough Econ will help you every step of the way. All you need to do is give the staff a call or send them an email today.

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