Applications of Ceram-Back® Elbows

Since 1979, Progressive Products Inc. has been developing durable and cost-effective abrasion-resistant components for pneumatic conveying systems. Manufacturers around the world use our products to reduce system downtime, improve productivity, and save money on maintenance and repair. But of all the high-quality parts we’ve created in the last 40+ years, our proudest achievement is perhaps our patented Ceram-Back® elbow.


What is a Ceram-Back® elbow?

Pneumatic conveying elbows change the flow direction of dry bulk materials within a handling system. But as abrasive materials scrape against these components, they gradually wear them away. When the elbow breaks, production needs to stop while it’s replaced.

Every minute spent swapping out damaged components is a minute in which your system could be making you money but isn’t. And each new component is another expense that eats into your profits. So a long-lasting, abrasion-resistant elbow that stays in your system for longer is vital for minimizing costly downtime and achieving peak productivity.

That’s where the Ceram-Back® elbow comes in.

Ceram-Back® elbows feature a ½” ceramic compound jacket across the back of a bare or core elbow. This ceramic compound has a Mohs hardness of 9+, second only to diamond with a Mohs hardness of 10. For added hoop strength, the ceramic jacket and elbow core are also wrapped with a powerful exterior material. They’re very easy to install, too, allowing you to quickly replace conventional elbows without changing line flow.

Once abrasive materials like plastics, grain, sugar, coal, or pet food have worn through the core elbow, the abrasion is then transferred to the ceramic outer jacket. Since the jacket is extremely resistant to abrasion, it can remain in your system far longer despite continuous wear. You won’t need to replace it as often, meaning greater uptime, productivity, and profitability.

To complement our Ceram-Back® elbows, we also offer a range of Ceram-Back® fittings with comparable wear and abrasion resistance. These include:

  • Ceramic coatings for parts such as laterals, tube adapters, diverter valve transitions, wear plates, and more
  • Ceramic linings for the inside of cyclones, chutes, bins, target boxes, and certain types of valves
  • Ceramic-coated dead-end tees, which are specialty tees that act like short-radius elbows

Our range of Ceram-Back® fittings is designed to further eliminate unwanted costs, loss of materials, and system downtime.


Industry applications for Ceram-Back® elbows

When it comes to dry bulk materials handling, there’s very little a Ceram-Back® elbow can’t do. These ultra-strong components are used in a wide variety of industries, though they’re particularly popular for conveying abrasive dust, activated carbon, cement, grains, plastics, and silicates.

To demonstrate how Ceram-Back® elbows can optimize your pneumatic conveying system, here are a few of their most prominent applications in dry bulk material handling.


Heavy industry

Whether it’s mining, chemicals, or wastewater treatment, all heavy industry pneumatic conveying systems experience extreme wear. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not the dry bulk material that’s the main cause of elbow wear and contamination in these facilities. Most of the time, it’s fly ash.

Fly ash is a thick gray ash that’s produced as a by-product of high-intensity heat manufacturing processes. It’s an extremely abrasive substance that wears away at conventional pneumatic conveying elbows incredibly quickly. Some companies even find themselves replacing elbows weekly – if not daily – due to fly ash abrasion, which results in a huge amount of unnecessary downtime and wasted resources.

The ceramic compound jacket in Ceram-Back® elbows makes them highly resistant to fly ash abrasion. In fact, heavy industry companies who switch to Ceram-Back® elbows can experience a component lifespan of eight to 10 times longer compared to conventional elbows. This drastically increases the production potential of heavy industry facilities and helps them cut down on the economic and environmental costs of constantly replacing parts.



One of the biggest challenges in grain conveying is friability. This is when a substance is reduced to fibers or fine particles due to friction, such as abrasion within a pneumatic conveying system. These material fragments can easily become lodged in gaps within the pipes, leading to mold and rotting that can contaminate future batches.

As well as resisting abrasion from grain conveying, Ceram-Back® elbows don’t allow material to get lodged, protecting grain batches against contamination. You can also limit friability by installing long-radius Ceram-Back® elbows, as their smoother and more elongated angles keep grain from breaking up so easily. That means you can retain a greater amount of product while ensuring high quality.



As plastic pellets, chips, and filler materials travel through a pneumatic conveying system, the heat of the friction can cause them to melt and form streamers. These low-quality streamers can’t be sold on, and worse still they can contaminate the color of other plastics or even block pipes.

Preventing streamers requires the use of specialty elbows, such as those with rough interiors that keep plastics from sliding across the surface and producing heat. But these specialty elbows are still at risk of abrasion from plastic products.

We can solve both problems at once by custom manufacturing Ceram-Back® elbows with specialty interiors designed specifically for your dry bulk materials. By limiting the formation of streamers and protecting against wear, custom-manufactured Ceram-Back® elbows can increase product salability while keeping maintenance costs down.


Food and pet food

Cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority for food manufacturers. But while watertight couplings between pipes stop outside contaminants from getting in, it’s also important to prevent bacteria growth within the pneumatic conveying system. For products like flour, sugar, wheat, coffee, and pet food, this starts with preventing particle buildup.

Unlike replaceable-back elbows, Ceram-Back® elbows don’t allow materials to get caught inside pneumatic conveying pipes. That means there’s no opportunity for trapped materials to rot and contaminate other foodstuffs. This allows manufacturers to ensure their products remain hygienic, resulting in a greater quantity of profitable materials conveyed.


Enhance your pneumatic conveying system with Ceram-Back® elbows

The superior durability and abrasion resistance of Ceram-Back elbows allows them to remain in your system for much longer without being replaced. They also help maintain high quality and cleanliness in dry bulk materials, leading to greater productive output. No matter your industry, Ceram-Back® elbows are an exceptional solution for reducing costs and downtime while raising productivity and sales potential.

Get in touch with our expert team today to order easy-fit Ceram-Back® elbows for your pneumatic conveying system.

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