How a Pneumatic Conveying System Can Help Streamline Your Operations

Manufacturers have many types of industrial conveying systems to choose from, including auger, bucket, belt, chain, cable, and aero-mechanical conveyors. Each has its own design and advantages that help it stand out from the competition. But when it comes to dry bulk material handling, one of the most popular is pneumatic conveying.

These highly flexible systems are often much more affordable than other options and keep material loss to a minimum for maximum profitability. They’re also very easy to construct, and their low maintenance requirements let you increase total machine uptime.

Join us as we explore how switching to a pneumatic conveying system can help you streamline your operations, increase productivity, and boost your income.


What is pneumatic conveying?

Pneumatic conveying systems use air or gas to move dry bulk materials such as powder or granules through a series of enclosed, airtight pipelines. They’re suitable for many types of products across a wide range of industries, including chemicals, food and beverages, heavy industry, plastics, grains, and more.


8 valuable benefits of pneumatic conveying systems

1)Low maintenance: Pneumatic conveying systems require just four main parts to function – an air compressor or pump, a feeding device, a separator, and piping. With fewer moving parts compared to other systems, they require much less maintenance. Any issues that arise can be repaired quickly, which keeps downtime and maintenance costs low.

2)Low material loss: The system’s enclosed pipes make it much easier to contain product and dust. As a result, you experience less spillage and dust leakage, letting you convey the greatest quantity of salable product.

3)Better safety: With fewer moving parts and lower maintenance requirements, pneumatic conveying systems pose less of a risk to operators and maintenance workers. That means you can keep your employees safe and enjoy the highest possible number of working hours.

4)Better sanitation: The enclosed pipes also reduce the risk of product contamination. This also makes your plant much easier to clean and sanitize, lowering maintenance time and keeping your workers healthy.

5)Greater atmospheric control: The enclosed pipelines make it much easier for operators to precisely control the conditions within the system. This allows you to regularly adjust your operations to improve your conveying efficiency.

6)High flexibility: Pneumatic conveying systems can be custom-designed to fit around your existing dry bulk material processing equipment. They also take up less space compared to mechanical conveying and can include multiple infeed and destination points.

7)Compact design: These systems require very little floor space and have the potential for horizontal and vertical arrangements, even over long distances.

8)Few construction requirements: Pneumatic conveying lines are relatively lightweight, so don’t require much structural support. That means you can save space and money while avoiding some construction challenges inherent to other types of conveyors.


Types of pneumatic conveying systems

Dilute phase vs dense phase

Dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems

Also known as lean phase conveying, these systems completely suspend the dry bulk material in the airflow within the pipe. The material is diluted with air and very fluid, making it easy to transfer from multiple inputs and outputs to many different locations along a pipe if necessary.

This method is characterized by low pressure within the pipes and high material velocity. It uses gas speeds of greater than 17-18 m/s with vacuum or conveying pressure below 0.1 barg.

Dilute phase pneumatic conveying is ideal for transporting non-abrasive materials with low bulk densities. Common applications include:

  • Flour and other non-abrasive powders
  • Products that are difficult to break
  • Materials with a light bulk density


Dense phase pneumatic conveying systems

Some materials are too heavy to be fully suspended with the pneumatic conveying airflow. Instead, they form a type of slug along the bottom of the pipe. As the material builds up, so too does the pressure within the system. Eventually, this pressure is able to push the material along the line.

Naturally, this type of pneumatic conveying system is defined by high pressure in the pipeline and low material velocity. These slow speeds help to prevent impact damage, making these systems a great choice for conveying sensitive or fragile materials.

Dense phase pneumatic conveying systems require more precise calculations for design and timing. The density and size of material particles, as well as the length of the pipes, help determine the ratio of air to product.

Common applications for dense phase systems include:

  • Abrasive materials like sugar
  • Materials with a heavy bulk density
  • Blended products
  • Friable materials like pelletized carbon black
  • Plastic pellets and other products that don’t require continuous delivery


Vacuum vs pressure

Vacuum systems

These systems use a vacuum pump to suck air out of the pipeline. As this occurs, the pump pulls the materials through the system. Vacuum systems are ideal for dense phase pneumatic conveying, as they can easily transport light or moist materials.

Pressure systems

Compared to the negative pressure of vacuum conveying, these systems use positive air pressure to push materials through the pipeline using a blower or compressor. Materials are fed from the storage silo into the pipeline using a rotary airlock, which helps maintain the ideal pressure differential.


How to build an efficient pneumatic conveying system

The combination of low maintenance and space requirements, improved safety and sanitation, and high material retention and productive potential make pneumatic conveying a popular choice for dry bulk material handling. But as with all types of conveyors, the quality of your pneumatic conveying system depends on the quality of the parts used to build it.

To achieve peak performance and profitability, manufacturers worldwide rely on Progressive Products Inc. for durable, abrasion-resistant components that last. The components we manufacture allow us to support almost any industry or application, and we offer custom manufacturing to your specifications on request. Add to that our expert fabrication, painting, and machining services, and you have everything you need to streamline your operations with a reliable pneumatic conveying system.

Contact us now to schedule a virtual meeting and discover how we can support your transition to pneumatic conveying.

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