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What Is Pneumatic Conveying?

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Depending on your place of work or industry of operation, a pneumatic conveying system could be an important piece of equipment to ensure the safety of your employees, equipment, and efficient transport of materials. So, what is pneumatic conveying and how might it be applicable to you?

Let’s look at how you can use pneumatic conveying systems to improve the effectiveness of your operations.

When it comes to transporting materials from point A to B, a well-designed pneumatic system can be more practical and economical than other systems such as belt conveyors, screw conveyors and drag conveyors. The four key reasons for this are:

  1. They are economical to install and operate
  2. Pneumatic conveying systems can operate without moving parts coming into contact with the material being transported.
  3. They can be enclosed, increasing safety and integrity of materials
  4. Pneumatic systems can be modified and rerouted as locations needed for the pipeline change.

Before we get further, let’s look at the operation of pneumatic system’s and how they work.

What is Pneumatic Conveying?

The majority of industrial settings require solutions for transporting material and goods in a safe and efficient manner. While you may be familiar with traditional conveyor belts, pneumatic conveying is slightly different. Pneumatic conveying is the transport of bulk goods through a pipeline that uses air for propulsion. Using the flow of air or other gases, bulk material can be propelled through the conveying line by either pressure or vacuum-based force. This system of transporting goods works through a pressure differential between the beginning and end of the pipeline and is assisted by airflow that is generated by a fan or compressor.

How is pneumatic conveying used? Industries that commonly take advantage of pneumatic conveying include:

  • Manufacturing,
  • Mining
  • Transportation
  • Aviation
  • Engineering
  • HVAC and Architectural Ducting
  • Food and Pharmaceutical
  • Cabinet Makers and Joinery
  • Sandblasting

Pneumatic conveyors are most commonly used to move granules, pellets, powders, and particles that are smaller than 20 mm.

How Does a Pneumatic Conveyer Work?

There are two main phases of pneumatic conveying: dilute phase, and the dense phase. Both have different applications.

Dilute Phase

The dilute phase is used for materials with light bulk densities that are non-abrasive and not easily broken. This means that the small particles can move at a high velocity without causing damage to the system or the product itself. Materials with light bulk densities can be transported through pipes with blowers that create a steady and powerful airstream.  Additionally, non-abrasive materials such as flour benefit from this style of pneumatic conveying, moving with a gas velocity of approximately 17-18 metres per second.

Dense Phase

Dense phase pneumatic conveying is a relatively new technology and is used for abrasive, delicate or heavy bulk density materials such as sugar, plastic pellets, pet food and detergents. During the dense phase, the velocity within the pneumatic conveying system is a lot lower than within the dilute phase at around 8 metres per second. This is because the materials are heavier, and transporting heavy bulk density materials at a higher velocity could cause damage to the system and the product. Dense phase pneumatic conveying also has a shorter range for transportation compared to the dilute phase. Where the dilute phase can transport materials up to 200 metres, the dense phase can only travel up to 100 metres. Typical air movement devices found in a dense phase solution include liquid ring compressors.

Where Is Pneumatic Conveying Best Used?

Although we have covered some uses above, pneumatic conveyors unique characteristics lend to additional specialist applications such as:

  • Injecting alternative fuels in fluidized beds for energy production
  • Feed lance injection for Iron and non-ferrous smelting
  • Burner feeding of combustible materials and alternative fuels (combustible dusts include sugar, grain, wood, flour)

Looking for a pneumatic conveyor system yourself? Searose are the leading pneumatic conveying Brisbane experts.

The benefits of a customised pneumatic conveying solution from Searose Environmental are plentiful. With our superior system solutions, we aim to increase the productivity of your operations, decrease machinery maintenance, eliminate any leakage, improve material handling efficiency, and promote an environmentally friendly and hazard-free working environment. Working with a wide range of industries, the most common pneumatic conveying applications to industries include manufacturing, mining, transportation and aviation.

Depending on your workshop or industry site, a pneumatic conveying system is an important investment that will ensure the safety of your employees, equipment and materials. Pneumatic conveying systems are used to improve the effectiveness of operations in many industrial, commercial and production workshops.

To ensure accurate and efficient pneumatic conveying, a specialist engineer may be able to provide a customised solution to meet every need of the application. An accredited and experienced engineer can provide support and customisation when it comes to design, installation, and service.

How Do You Maintain a Pneumatic System?

Pneumatic conveyors have a wide range of practical applications and benefits as an option for moving bulk materials. Pneumatic conveying systems are compact and flexible in comparison to mechanical conveyors, which means that they can be installed around existing equipment. Pneumatic conveying pipes can be installed both horizontally and vertically and transport goods over large distances. By utilising vertical space, pneumatic conveying pipes make more floor space available at the site. Pneumatic conveyors operate with a simple design with few moving parts and as a result, pneumatic system maintenance is often cheaper and easier than its’ mechanical counterpart.

Pneumatic System Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Like any system, there are pneumatic problems and solutions that individuals will need to navigate. Troubleshooting is never easy, nor fun. When it comes to pneumatic conveyor systems, the best approach to solving issues within your system and maintaining effective operation is a methodical approach. A routine and continuous maintenance schedule is the first step against preventing unwanted problems and ensuring optimal operation of pneumatic systems. At all times, the safety of workers is most important and should an issue arise within the system, action must be taken. A few tips to troubleshooting include:

  • Determining what has happened, where it happened and when it occurred. This will help you begin your investigation. Once you have your basic details, consult any schematic or technical drawings and conduct a visual analysis of the problem.
  • Identify possible causes of your problem to point you in the right direction.
  • Once you know where to look and possible solutions, isolate areas of the system and take methodical and documented procedures to find a solution.
  • Once you have solved the issue, make sure the process is adequately documented communicated to the appropriate personnel for future pneumatic system maintenance.

The Benefits of Pneumatic Conveyors

What are the pneumatic conveying advantages over other conveying systems? Well, because pneumatic conveyors transport materials within an enclosed pipe system, the materials are protected from outside contaminants and the rest of the workspace is protected from any escaping dust emissions. This results in fewer pneumatic problems and solutions being readily available. A key strength of pneumatic conveyor systems is because the materials being transported are often suspended in the pipe without touching the sides, damage and wear to fragile materials and the system itself are limited.

How Much Will the Operation of Pneumatic System Cost?

How much pneumatic conveying services cost will depend on the application for pneumatic equipment, the frequency in which the equipment is employed and the type of working environment.

Here at Searose Environmental, we can work with you on the supply, design, installation, and maintenance of pneumatic conveying systems. Whether you require assistance regarding pneumatic problems and solutions or would like an immediate quote on your pneumatic conveying solutions and consulting services, do not hesitate to call.  Get in touch with us today on 1300 48 48 49, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about your new conveying system.