Air Handling Equipment
Blowers are devices with a series of spinning blades that are used to generate airflow in a variety of applications. Blowers are important to almost all bulk handling systems because they can be used not only with dry bulk goods but also to power pneumatic conveyors by creating pressure changes for material transfer. An appropriately sized blower can be used in a pneumatic conveyor (large or small) to transport materials through a bulk handling system. High velocity fans or high-pressure blowers are used in bulk material handling facilities to dry materials before they are packaged or stored. High-pressure blowers can also be used to discharge materials at an optimal rate.
Blowers for bulk material handling systems come in two main types: axial blowers and centrifugal blowers. Axial blowers are built with several curved blades that spin on an axis at high speeds. The circular motion of the curved blades creates an imbalance in the surrounding air pressure. This is what causes airflow and allows for transfer in some pneumatic conveyors. A centrifugal blower, also known as a radial blower, is another broad category of blowers that creates airflow in a similar way. However, centrifugal blowers use a different mechanism to create an imbalance in the air pressure. The blades actually spin forward within an enclosure (annular housing). This rapid forward motion in a confined space causes air to be sucked into the housing. The air is pressurized when it leaves the blower and is discharged through a chute or tube. Axial and radial blowers can operate at the same RPM, but the centrifugal force of radial blowers makes them capable of producing higher-pressure flow. These blowers can be mounted to pull air into a tube from the side, which is perfect in bulk handling systems where material must pass through sharp angles and curves in the pipe.
Blowers can be used to handle both wet and dry bulk material solids. Of course, wet bulk materials usually weigh more due to their moisture content, so higher pressure air flow will be required to move them through a pneumatic system. One interesting and unique application of blowers is in the landscaping industry. Truck blowers can be mounted onto a truck or trailer’s storage tank and fitted with a long, wide hose. This type of blower can be used to blow mulch into gardens. A tool like this gives landscapers a quick and easy way to mulch flowerbeds and other areas on a property. For loading and unloading of bulk materials into or out of tanks, blowers can be used to create enough of a pressurized air flow to move materials between point A and point B in a system.
A simple blower may also be used to dry bulk materials as they move along on a conveyor belt. The air does not need to be highly pressurized in this case, and it may be heated slightly or kept at room temperature to speed up the drying process. Because so many different industries handle materials in bulk at some point during their production process, blowers are highly sought after by manufacturers around the world. Most blower manufacturers are able to consult with their customers to offer the best possible blower for an existing bulk material handling system. Considerations like speed, particle density, volume, etc. are all very important when selecting the right blower for an application. In some cases, manufacturers create entire bulk material handling systems, so they know exactly which blowers will be best in a particular facility. From plastics to chemical handling to food processing and beyond, most industries would not be able to handle bulk materials efficiently without blowers.
In any dry bulk material handling operation, dust can be a major problem. Fine particles can create a lot of dust when they are being handled, and since some materials are harmful when ingested, this can be very dangerous to anyone working in the area. Not only can the dust be harmful, but it can create a very dirty environment where cleanliness standards are impossible to maintain. To reduce the negative effects of dust, dust collection units are installed and activated while materials are being handled.
In most pneumatic conveying systems, dust filtration units are integrated into the system at strategic points such as the opening to bins, hoppers, and silos. These filters pull in dust and remove it from the surrounding area, purifying the air during the handling process. From time to time the dust collector needs to be emptied manually or the filter will become clogged because it collects so many loose particles in the air.
Dust collectors are often built into bulk bag unloaders, material bins and other types of equipment. Filters in multiple locations of a bulk handling system can be connected through a series of ducts to empty their contents into one central bin. Some of these units must be turned on manually, while others are activated automatically as soon as the handling conveyor is running.
Besides the obvious concerns of harm to workers and cloudy air, many industries also run the risk of being the cause of pollution. Some bulk materials can be harmful to the environment if handled incorrectly, so many industries have regulatory boards or bylaws in place to enforce the use of air pollution control systems. Facilities that do not use these systems can be charged and run the risk of doing serious damage to the environment.
Vacuum cleaners are cleaning machines that use suction to collect dirt, dust, waste products from industrial processes, and other kinds of debris for disposal, recycling, or reuse. In many bulk material handling settings, some materials are lost during processing or transfer. An industrial vacuum cleaner can be used to clean up these materials and even reclaim them for processing at another time. Excess bulk solids can build up quickly in a busy industrial facility, so a strong high-capacity vacuum cleaner is the best way to keep things clean. Vacuuming also eliminates dust and other harmful toxins that may be present in the air and hazardous to human health. Industrial vacuums come in many types and can be configured to almost any type of media; from wet to dry bulk materials and more. In some cases where contamination is not a concern, these materials can be gathered up and entered into the bulk material handling system again. This reduces waste and improves the overall efficiency of the process. More advanced industrial vacuums are built with HEPA filters so that both large and small particles can be removed from a facility.
Essentially, a vacuum is an area from which air has been removed. This drastic reduction in pressure causes the more highly pressurized air surrounding the vacuum to rush into it with great force. Vacuum cleaners are able to create an artificial vacuum with low air pressure in order to collect debris. All vacuums cleaners are configured differently and some create lower pressure than others. However, in all vacuum cleaners the same basic principle applies and dust or dirt is quickly drawn in.
There are several different types of industrial vacuum cleaners that can be used in bulk material handling systems: continuous bagging vacuum cleaners, air powered vacuum cleaners, and continuous duty vacuum cleaners. Continuous bagging vacuum cleaners are designed to deal with dusty debris. These systems are equipped with closed bags that capture and confine dust so that it does not spread through a facility. The vacuum can run continuously to capture particles as bulk materials are being conveyed or processed. Air powered vacuum cleaners make use of forced air to gather materials. The do not require electricity or generate heat, so they are very safe to operate in a facility that handles hazardous materials. Finally, continuous duty vacuum cleaners are built to work around the clock in tough environments where constant vacuuming is a necessity. Continuous duty vacuums are usually used when material recovery is a priority since they can operate for as long as all of the other equipment is running.
In small to medium sized bulk material handling operations, industrial vacuum cleaners may be portable so that they can be moved throughout the facility as needed. In larger bulk material handling facilities, the vacuum may be placed in a stationary position somewhere in the production line, or there may be several vacuum units to capture all of the dust and debris.
Central vacuum cleaning systems are also an option for some bulk material handling facilities. These systems have a central chamber that is connected to various outlets in the facility via ductwork. Hoses can be moved around and inserted into the outlets which then transport the debris to the chamber. The container of a central vacuum system can be emptied periodically and stored out of sight for a more efficient use of space.
Leading Air Handling Equipment Manufacturers
National Turbine Corporation has been in Business since 1991 and we manufacture the highest quality air and gas handling blowers and exhausters, central vacuum systems and accessories to meet the most demanding system requirements.
Verantis produces a complete line of lightweight FRP fans, of special alloy construction, to provide maximum resistance to corrosive fumes, gases and aerosols. Available as centrifugal blowers or axial flow fans, products can be selected from our standard model lines or custom designed to meet your needs.
Sheldons Engineering is a manufacturer of industrial blowers, air blowers, centrifugal blowers and axial flow fans. We also produce customized industrial fans. Sheldons Engineering distributes fans to a variety of industries such as mining, marine and HVAC. Call us today for your industrial blowers!