Pneumatic conveying systems handle a lot of abrasive materials. As such, they can be easily susceptible to damage from wear. While elbows are the most at-risk components to become damaged in pneumatic systems, any internal surface that has direct contact with fast-moving bulk materials may benefit from an abrasion resistant ceramic coating.
These protective coatings not only minimize or prevent wear damage, they’re also a cost-effective alternative to constant maintenance repairs or expensive replacement parts. From elbows and pipes to laterals and manifold pieces, ceramic coatings can drastically improve the lifespan of pneumatic components. Even customized parts can be protected against abrasion with aftermarket coatings, ensuring your pneumatic conveying system operates as efficiently as possible.
Why Use Ceramic Coatings For Wear Resistance?
The speed at which dry bulk materials are passed through a pneumatic conveying system can cause significant abrasion on impact areas, like elbows, pipes and tubes. Even hoppers in bulk material handling systems can become damaged from impact wear, a result of when materials are poured in from the loaders.
Coarse and dense bulk materials, like gravel or sand, can have severe effects on conveying systems, but even seemingly innocuous materials like grain, cereals and sugar can be just as detrimental. Over time, their abrasive particles cause components to wear away, leading to costly repairs and periods of downtime.
Ceramic coatings are used to give pneumatic components a wear-resistant outer layer, while ceramic linings protect a component’s interior. Both act as a line of defence against the materials passing through, thus extending the service life of the pneumatic conveying system.
How Do You Know If You Need Ceramic Coating?
While ceramic coatings will help optimize the performance of your bulk material handling system, not every component needs one. In general, it’s mainly the interior surfaces of elbows, manifolds and laterals that might need extra protection against abrasion. Metal components such as these are subject to many different types of corrosion and erosion, and if they don’t have protective coatings, their service life expectancy can be significantly shorter. The exterior ceramic coatings also extend the life of these parts since after the interior surface is worn away the material will abrate against the much harder ceramic surface.
To avoid any costly repairs, it’s important to do frequent inspections of your pneumatic conveying system. If you notice any signs of deterioration on internal components or impact areas, you may want to consider using ceramic coatings. Even if you’re able to carry out regular repairs or buy replacement parts, these won’t be as cost effective, especially if the new components are once again subjected to the same wear and tear forces without a protective coating.
Metal components in pneumatic conveying systems are commonly subject to the following forms of damage, so keep your eyes open for any signs of these occurring:
- Mechanical stress and strain: As a machine operates, it causes a series of vibrations that can lead to a significant amount of stress and strain being applied to any moving or structural parts. It’s no different in pneumatic conveying systems, where coarse materials travelling at high speeds and pressures can result in abrasions, tension and sometimes irreversible damage.
- Corrosion or oxidation: Many types of metal alloys, like steel, eventually become oxidized if they’re exposed to oxygen in the air. Scratches on metal surfaces can even trigger oxidation, which can in turn lead to rust and degradation. While you can get pneumatic components stainless, carbon, and galvanized steel, you might also want to consider using a protective coating as a precautionary measure.
- Chemical attacks: Corrosive substances such as acid solutions and even soap can cause severe damage to metal components. This will eventually lead to corrosion and weaken the parts until a replacement is required. If you handle a lot of corrosive materials, a protective ceramic internal lining will take the brunt of the chemical attack, with the substance abrading against the lining rather than the encased component.
Abrasion resistant ceramic coatings can protect internal components of a pneumatic system against these types of damage. This translates to a longer service life, and could also mean you’ll need fewer or shorter plant shutdowns or periods of downtime. If you want to see more savings and higher productivity, using ceramic coatings is one of the easiest ways to achieve this.
What Are The Different Types Of Components That Can Be Ceramically Coated Or Lined?
Various components in a pneumatic conveying system can be ceramic coated. It’s usually best to apply ceramic coatings and linings prior to components being installed into a system - this is how we do it at Progressive Products.
Components that need to be coated are typically those that channel the pressurized air and bulk materials, like pipes, tubes and bends. Aside from these, other types of components that can be ceramic coated include:
- Tees, wyes & TYs
- Parallel laterals
- Manifold pieces
- Bifurcated Ys
Why Would You Ceramic Coat Or Line These Types Of Components?
The above components require protective coatings of ceramic because they’re exposed to the abrasive action of the bulk materials being conveyed. Ceramic coatings are particularly necessary when bulk material is highly abrasive. In these cases, the internal surfaces of the conveying lines will be worn down, allowing the material to wear against the harder protective coating.
Ceramic linings can also be used on metal parts to prevent corrosion because they safeguard the surfaces from being worn by the material flowing through them. As we mentioned earlier, this not only protects against wear, but also against oxidation and chemical abrasion.
Find out more about abrasion resistant ceramic coatings in our Guide to Ceramic Coated Elbows.