Pneumatic conveying is the means by which bulk goods can be transported, via air pressure, through pipelines. This conveying air will provide propulsion that enables said bulk material to be ‘conveyed’ through a line.
The pressure differential between either side of the bulk material will enable it to smoothly and seamlessly convey with the proper force required. In order to overcome that difference, compressors and positive displacement blowers will be installed and regularly utilized.
What are the applications of pneumatic conveying systems?
While fairly rudimentary in their initial design, pneumatic conveying systems have become more and more refined not only in function but in the utility that they provide.
For instance, to begin with, they were used in ships sailing overseas as a means of discharging grain. Now, applications involve pneumatic conveying in recycling, lance injection and pneumatic transport feeding, burner feeding with alternative fuels, and transferring materials like granules, powders, and other solids through a conveying line.
The most popular materials used in pneumatic conveying systems include cement powder, sands, metal powders, sugars, starches, wheat flours, and soy flours, as well as granular materials and pellets. It’s easy to see then, just how wide the variety of applications there are for this kind of utility, as it services many industries at once.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of using pneumatic conveying systems?
The benefits are numerous and have unlocked the production line productivity of many businesses for the better.
To begin with, the flexibility and adaptability of the routing system is considered to be one of the biggest selling points. This involves the ability to lay pipes vertically or horizontally, as well as covering long distances. That means their measurement and installation can be fairly quickly and thoroughly fitted. Furthermore, the simplicity of the small number of parts that comprise this system means that maintenance and downtime are both much more infrequent than you may have expected. Not only this but enclosed pneumatic conveying provides an enclosed system, which increases safety.
The disadvantages are far fewer, but present depending on the task you hope to fulfill. Pneumatic conveying systems aren’t as scalable as you may expect. While lower product volumes are mostly utilized, up to around 300 horsepower utilized from positive displacement blowers can be achieved. Past that, you may need a more advanced system able to handle increased bulk.
What are the two main types of pneumatic conveying systems?
These would be Dilute Phase Pneumatic Conveying and Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying.
The former is pressure or vacuum fed, using high velocities to fluidize the product as appropriate. This can help such products cover long distances, and have multiple discharges or pick-up points. However, this is not suitable for relatively fragile products.
The latter option is more suitable for fragile products. This is because the low velocity these systems operate at can prevent ‘sheer’ or breakage. This is such the case that many businesses craft dense phase pneumatic conveying systems are their sole specialism, as establishing the best ratio of product to air is a very precise discipline.
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