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9 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN SPECIFYING VACUUM TRANSFER SYSTEMS FOR POWDERS AND BULK MATERIALS

 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


All systems have a beginning and an end, which includes vacuum transfer systems for powders and bulk materials. Vacuum transfer systems are used in the following industries:

  • Agro chemical (organics)
  • Chemical
  • Food
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Sugar industries

Some of the applications where they are most useful includes:

  • Conveying and transfer
  • Blending
  • Inline milling
  • Loading and unloading
  • Sifting

However for the purpose of this article, we shall focus on the conveying and transfer of powder and bulk materials.

Vacuum transfer systems for powder and bulk materials: The preferred choice for industries


Vacuum transfer systems for powder and bulk materials conveying is the preferred transfer method for many industries for a variety of reasons. One of which is its ability to deliver efficient dust control advantage.

WIth the use of vacuum transfer systems, hand scooping methods in factories and processing plants are eliminated. This is replaced with material delivery in an enclosed system, thus eliminating the problematic fugitive dusts.

How about potential leaks? How is this handled?


If any leaks happen, they will still go inward rather than going outside due to the lower pressure inside the transfer system. This is the opposite with positive pressure system wherein the leak goes outside.

How about taking control of the materials conveyed? Who handles this?


Vacuum transfer systems utilise the power of system controls to efficiently conduct the flow of materials without manual intervention from large containers such as:

  • Bulk bags
  • Railcars
  • Silos
  • Totes
Receiving containers of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials
Receiving containers of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials

In the end, you are still in control on how the materials are transferred. But in case you want everything to run automatically on schedule, then the system controls can efficiently perform this task for you. Talk to us to know more about this.

How do you properly design an efficient vacuum conveying system


We now go to the problem we are discussing earlier on. How do you properly design an efficient vacuum conveying system?

These are the factors you have to know and consider:

Bulk density


Identifying the bulk density of your materialshelps engineers calculate the size of your conveying line and velocity.

How is bulk density measured?

The formula below shows how bulk density is to be calculated:

Bulk density formula of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials
Bulk density formula of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials

Given this formula, a lightweight powder needs a larger receiver to ensure the materials fall out of the higher air stream. While higher-bulk- density materials require faster transport velocity.

Do you need help calculating the bulk density of your powder and bulk materials? Talk to us.

Conveying distance


How far will the material be conveyed from the receiving area to its destination point?

You should be aware of the elements that comprises the conveying distance of your system. This includes the horizontal, vertical measurement and number of bends.

Sweep elbow measurement refers to the large centerline radius, which is commonly eight to ten times the diameter of the tube. These are often angled at 45 or 90 degrees. However for a more efficient vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials, it is best to limit the use of sweep elbows.

Pneuvay Engineering is aware of these, thus the development of its innovative rhino bends.

Bulk density formula of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials
Rhino bends for vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials

Read more about our Rhino Bend product specifications.

Conveying rate


Do you know how many kilograms the system will convey per hour? Will this be done via batch or continuous processing?

This is a very important aspect to know. You should bear in mind that a lesser kilogram weight conveyed per hour does not necessarily imply lesser work load on the system.

Consider these two scenes:

A bulk material is conveyed at a rate of 1000 kg/hr; however it has a batch process that must convey 1000 kg/hr every five minutes for an hour. As a result, it delivers 12,000 kg/hr.

Calculating the conveying rate of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials
Calculating the conveying rate of vacuum transfer system for powder and bulk materials

You can see the big difference between a conveying rate of 1000 kg/hr in 5 minutes compared to that of having the same conveying rate of 1000 kg/hr over a 60 minute period.? The pneumatic conveying engineer has to adjust the system specification for the first as it would definitely require the system to work harder.

Bulk materials characteristics


Bulk materials characteristics may vary from the shapes, sizes and cohesiveness of the materials. Some of these may also include:

  • Flakes
  • Granules
  • Pellets
Types of materials suitable for vacuum transfer system of powder and bulk materials
Types of materials suitable for vacuum transfer system of powder and bulk materials

Identifying the type of bulk materials characteristics also helps in identifying the size of the receiver and its filter assembly. Thus the need to consider if the material is:

  • Abrasive
  • Absorbs moisture
  • Combustible
  • Free flowing

Other issues to consider when identifying the bulk material characteristics of the materials involves its compatibility to the:

  • Filters
  • Gaskets
  • Hoses
  • Process Equipment

Are these too confusing for you?

No worries! Our team of vacuum conveying engineers can do the measurement and identification for you. Call us, today.

How materials are received and uploaded into the system


Do you know how materials are received and introduced into the conveying system? These could either be via one of the following:

  • Paper bags, bulk bags, and super sacks
  • Fiber drums and barrels and rigid intermediate containers
  • Silos, rail cars and day bins
  • Bulk trucks and upstream process equipment

Aside from considering the receiving end of the system, you should also consider the upstream equipment load in use.

Why?

This will have a very big impact on the downstream equipment as all of these parts work together to deliver your expected results.

Headroom requirements


Do you have enough space to install a vacuum transfer system?

Identifying the space allotment for your conveying system helps you properly design. It would be a problem if the room given will not offer the space needed to automate the process.

Take note that the smallest conveying system for powder handling requires access for service
that has to be considered during the maintenance procedures.
This includes:

  • Access to the equipment
  • Discharge valve inspection
  • Filter access

Are you worried you may have limited space for vacuum conveying systems? Let us check it ourselves to see if we can design a plan that will fit into the space you have.

Geographic or atmospheric conditions


How will geographic or atmospheric conditions affect the performance of a vacuum transfer system?

You may not realise it but altitude plays an important role in the sizing of your system. The higher the altitude, the more air is needed to convey the material. As for the humidity of the materials, powders that are hydroscopic can have discharge problems on hot summer days. So it is important to relate this with the bulk materials characteristics of your product.

Materials of construction


What are the materials that will be used in the construction of your conveying system? Will it be all metallic or coated aluminium, stainless steel or carbon steel?

Are you confused? Here are some of tips to help you.

Carbon steel can be coated differently. However these coatings can easily degrade and deteriorate in use.

Stainless steel is ideal for the food and medical-grade plastic processing plants. There is no need to have any coatings for these, but it should have a specified level of polish for ease of cleaning and to avoid contamination.

Pneuvay Engineering has more than 30 years of industry experience in delivering vacuum transfer systems, pneumatic conveying and dust control systems in Australia and around the globe. Watch this video to learn how we have expanded throughout the years.



 
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