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Understanding How A Pneumatic Conveying System Works

by Lee Mark

A pneumatic conveying system transports dry powder, granules, and various other materials through an enclosed tube. The reason for this transfer comes mainly from a combination of high pressure differential and the rate of airflow, like oxygen or nitrogen. (For simplicity’s sake, l call the gas urethane in this article also.) In a typical system, this powder is placed into a hopper that pushes it through the system and out to a place where it can be disposed of. In this way, the conveyance of materials is highly automated.

One of the advantages of pneumatic conveying system is their energy efficiency and speed. They’re typically much less expensive than analogous mechanical conveyancing systems and they provide a considerable saving in overall transportation costs. However, they typically require a less trained operator and so are typically utilized in less-urban locations than mechanical conveyancing systems.

There are two main system types. First, there is the bag-type system, which uses large bags as the carriers of powders. Bags can be customized to fit individual client requirements, but typically the size of the bags is determined by the quantity of materials to be conveyed. Next, there are hoppers that contain individual bags of powder that are driven mechanically by a pump. This type of pneumatic conveying system can accommodate larger bags of powders than the bag-type systems, but the hoppers must be properly maintained and protected from contamination.

As for the liquids, the two types of pneumatic conveying systems include either an encapsulated fluid or a dilute phase injection system. Encapsulated fluids are pumped into hoppers with individual compartments, which are sealed before the conveyance begins. The compartments contain different compositions of liquid carriers. Once the transportation is complete, these liquids are discharged into an exterior area through a rotary airlock valve. Dilute phase injection systems use a fluid that is drawn through a fine-tuned feeding system by a pump. This type of system allows for higher volumes of liquid carriers, but the feed system needs to be carefully designed to avoid spillage or contamination.

A third system, the rotary vane pneumatic conveying system, has a completely open design. Rather than using a fluid or a carrier, this system utilizes the movement of the vane or fan to transport a fluid or gas through a fine-tuned delivery path. It is designed to handle heavier loads, but typically has an affordable price tag. The material it is made from is typically resistant to corrosion and/or damage from exposure to moisture.

In some instances, it is necessary to use more than one type of pneumatic conveying system. If there are two or more different areas in the building that will each require service from one or more of the systems, it may be necessary to install both a fluid and a carrier.

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