5 things to know about when designing a pneumatic conveying system for bulk powders

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When a factory relies on pneumatic conveying systems to carry bulk powders or granules around the plant, those systems have to be reliable and robust.

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Blocked pipes and other disruptive problems can be avoided through good operating procedures and relatively simple design measures.

Carry out these five steps before you procure a pneumatic conveying system, to ensure that your plant conveying process keeps working with minimum downtime.

Measure the material bulk density

The density of the material to be moved is a key requirement. It will define how big some of the components, such as air sources and vacuum receivers, need to be. Once the density is established, a system designer, such as http://www.aptech.uk.com/, can work out how much air will be required to move the material through the conveyor. This is usually expressed in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Once this has been specified, it becomes the base metric that will define how powerful the system needs to be.

Measure the conveying distance

Once the CFM number is known, the next thing to find out is how far the material needs to be moved. Obviously, the further this is, the more air will be needed to move the material down the pipe. Sometimes, vacuums are an ideal solution, but where there’s a need to move material over a longer distance, positive pressure may be a more cost-effective answer. Each 90 degree turn in the system is calculated as adding 20 feet to the distance.

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Measure the conveying rate

There is sometimes a need for the material to reach another part of the system within a certain time limit. For example, it may need to be conveyed and discharged into a mixer within 10 minutes. These time limits may also affect the requirements for sack tip equipment.

Find out if batching is used

Some systems move materials in batches, and require a more powerful vacuum because there is a larger amount to be moved than if the material was flowing constantly.

Find out how the material behaves

Some materials move slowly, whilst others are free flowing. These are important attributes to understand when designing a vacuum conveying system, because they impact the amount of power needed to move the material.

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