Use Pneumatic Conveyors for Reliable, Cost Effective Material Handling

Industrialists say that “innovation is the change that creates value”. For companies to become competitive they must innovate and use technologies that reduce operation costs, promote flexibility, increase productivity and quality of the final product.

Pneumatic Conveyor Systems Specifications

The pneumatic conveyor systems uses differential air pressure to efficiently move materials from one point to the other. Since air flows from high to low pressure, its application at one end of the pipe will move bulk materials to the other end.

Pneumatic systems are classified as negative pressure system which uses a vacuum to pull materials or positive pressure devices that use compressors to push bulk materials.  On application of pressure or vacuum, the solid particles become airborne and are thus transported.

pneumatic conveyor systems

Different materials have varying shape, size, weight and physical and chemical properties. Therefore different machine designs are required for various conveying systems.  This is done by varying the pressure, quantity and velocity of the air stream.

Dense Phase Versus Lean / Dilute Phase Conveying Systems

Advances in these conveying method has resulted to a number of technologies used to efficiently move materials. Two prominent methods are dilute and dense phase. 

In dilute phase conveying systems, less dense particles are transported using low pressure differential but high velocity. It can be described as a system with low material to air ratio. They use negative (vacuum pull) or positive pressure (compressor push). They are suitable for light materials be moved in relatively low quantities. 

The dense phase conveying systems on the other hand uses high pressure differential exceeding 1 atmosphere but low velocities. The system has very high material to air ratio and is suitable for bulk substances.  This is very useful in many industries as it move large quantity of materials using a small amount of air. This type is also classified as the plug type or the continuous type.

In addition, extensive research in dense phase conveyance has resulted in the development of a new mechanism. Rather than pumping air at one end to move bulk solids, the air is introduced at different points on the pipeline so that the pipe is always full of the solid being transported. This method eliminates slip (air bypassing solid being transported), increases efficiency and reduces power consumption.

Dense Phase Conveying Systems

Applications in the Industries

Both dilute and dense phase conveying systems find applications in many industries. Powder or particulate materials are easily moved using this method.  They are applied in moving construction materials such as cement and sand; minerals such as alumina, lime, gypsum, salt, fluorspar; powder handling equipments; bag house dust collection systems and raw cement during manufacture in clinker.

Merits of Pneumatic Conveying

These systems have superior advantages as compared to mechanical material handling systems. First, these systems use pipes that can be routed to any direction through bending. Therefore, the number of mechanical devices is reduced. This subsequently reduces equipment initial costs, operation and maintenance costs. The system also uses a very small space as compared to mechanical conveyor belts.

The system is able to convey materials over long distances at cost effective prices. Thirdly, the materials are transported in closed pipes and therefore, there is limited pollution and does not require dust collection systems.  Food powders such as flour and grains are less contaminated during processing and packing stages.