Various applications utilize powder conveyors for the handling of materials that are free-flowing, sticky, or delicate. These processes include industrial packaging, measuring, or mixing. Although most lines of powder conveyors belong to the pneumatic conveyor family, other models of powder conveyors can fall under the flexible screw or closed conveyor classifications. Powder conveyors are highly versatile in the products they process. Materials that are typically handled by powder conveyors range from talc, flour, fly ash, and powdered metals. In some cases, powder conveyors can process hazardous chemical powders. Because of the versatility of these machines, they can be found within a wide range of industries, including construction, plastics, ceramics, industrial, food and chemical processing, and pharmaceutical.
Powder conveyors are available in different types depending on the substances they are designed to work with. The most common of these configurations is the dilute phase conveyor. The dilute phase conveying process can be carried out by vacuum or pressure pneumatic systems, as long as the air is maintained at a high velocity. A dilute phase conveyor can carry out its function by using either negative or positive pressure, depending on the application for which the conveyor is used.
Positive pressure dilute phase systems are usually implemented for conveying bulk materials to multiple destinations from a single source. The process is carried out by blowing air through the line. The velocity of the air assists in picking up and suspending the particles of the material as it moves the material from one area to the next. These systems can also carry materials over longer distances at larger capacities than their negative pressure counterparts. These machines are user-friendly, efficient, and economical, and are recommended for materials that are light in density, non-fragile, and non-abrasive. Examples of materials that are commonly handled by positive pressure dilute phase systems include zinc oxide, activated carbon, hydrated lime, sodium bicarbonate, plastic granules, corn starch, sugar, and flour.
Negative pressure dilute phase systems, also known as vacuum systems, are typically used for the transportation of materials from multiple sources to a single destination. These systems feature a vacuum pump located at the machine’s downstream end, which creates the negative pressure necessary to transport the materials. If the particular application involves the transportation of hazardous materials, vacuum pressure conveyors are the ideal choice due to their superior ability to prevent material leakage.
In addition to dilute phase powder conveyors, another variety of powder conveyor is known as a dense phase conveyor. In a dense phase conveying system, particles are transported at a lower velocity and a higher pressure as opposed to being suspended and carried through the machine. Since the materials do not travel as far or as quickly as they would through a dilute phase conveyor, dense phase conveyors are perfect for transporting powder materials that are delicate, abrasive, or degradable. A lower velocity also reduces wear and tear of the machine itself. Industries that commonly utilize dense phase powder conveyors include manufacturing, chemical production and processing, and food processing. Just like dilute phase conveying systems, dense phase systems are also available with positive pressure and vacuum capabilities.
In recent years, the material handling industry has become more concerned with the energy efficiency of their equipment. This has forced manufacturers of powder conveyors to come up with innovative solutions in order for their systems to function efficiently at a reduced operating cost. One of these solutions is increased automation. Increased automation in the realm of pneumatic conveying will make the machines more cost-efficient, reduce the cost of housekeeping, reduce the cost of ingredients, and make workspaces a safer place overall. Automation in powder conveyors comes with its fair share of benefits—it increases output per hour, increases flexibility, and also greatly reduces the risk of contamination within the workspace. However, this elevated level of productivity has led workers to expect an increase in their wages, and will remain a prominent topic of debate in the upcoming years.
With the broadening of powder conveyors’ capabilities, it is recommended to consult a manufacturer in order to obtain the appropriate type. Regardless of how they are structured, powder conveyors share some similarities. They feature a design that is tubular and completely encloses the materials it handles, preventing both material leakage and the possibility of contact between the machine and its operator. As a result, the possibility of material contamination is greatly reduced. The structure of powder conveyors make them much more suitable for processing these materials as opposed to screw conveyors, which may make the products susceptible to grinding, packing, smearing, or caking. An experienced manufacturer of powder conveyors will be able to assist you in finding one that is perfect for your business.