Pneumatic Conveying Systems

Pneumatic Conveying System

A pneumatic conveying system uses an air stream to move dry bulk powders through horizontal or vertical pipelines in a powder processing system. Traditionally, pneumatic conveying systems include an air source, an infeed device, a conveying line, a receiver and dust filtration.

At Powder Process-Solutions, our team of engineers work with our customers to design pneumatic conveying systems that are not only efficient and sanitary, but are also tailored the unique requirements of the application and the type of powder being processed.

Advantages of Pneumatic Conveying

Pneumatic conveying systems can provide a number of advantages over mechanical conveying systems including:

  1. More flexibility. A pneumatic conveying system can be designed to fit around existing equipment, taking up less space and providing more flexibility than mechanical conveying systems.  Longer conveying distances can be achieved.
  2. Lower maintenance. Pneumatic conveying systems also have less moving parts than mechanical systems and typically require less maintenance.
  3. Enhanced safety. With less moving parts and less required maintenance, pneumatic conveying systems present less operator dangers. They also make less noise, which improves workplace conditions for employees.
  4. Less spillage and dust. A pneumatic conveying system features an enclosed pipeline and contains dust better than mechanical conveying systems.
  5. Better sanitation. Because pneumatic conveying systems have an enclosed pipeline, the risk of product contamination is greatly reduced and the workplace remains cleaner as well.

While pneumatic conveying systems are often a great choice for many powder processing systems, they’re not recommended for materials with large particle sizes or extremely sticky materials like high fat powders, as they are more difficult to convey or cause buildup in the system.

Pneumatic Conveying Types and Applications

Pneumatic conveying systems are characterized by pressure or vacuum systems, and use either a dilute phase or dense phase technology to transport material.

Dilute phase conveying systems use high volume, low pressure air to keep the product suspended in the air all the way through to its destination. For dense phase conveying systems, the opposite is true. In dense phase systems, material is not suspended and low volume, high pressure air is used to move material through the pipeline.

Below are four types of pneumatic conveying systems that Powder Process-Solutions can design for our customers:

Pressure Dilute Phase

Pressure dilute phase conveying systems are one of the most common and practical conveying types for powder processing.

  • Used when product degradation and segregation are not a concern
  • Materials that have light bulk density such as flour, sugar or plastic granules.
  • Multiple infeed points and destinations are possible.  
  • Higher capacities and longer distances.
  • Conveying is continuous.  
  • Velocities can range from 3000 to 7000 feet/minute.

Vacuum Dilute Phase

Vacuum dilute phase conveying systems are used in similar applications to pressure dilute phase conveying.  

  • Used when product degradation and segregation are not a concern
  • Unlike pressure dilute systems, a filter receiver rated for vacuum is required.  
  • Used to convey materials at lower capacities and a shorter distance.  
  • Multiple infeed points to a single destination are possible.
  • Conveying is continuous.  
  • Velocities can range from 3000 to 7000 feet/minute.  

Pressure Dense Phase

Pressure dense phase conveying systems are most often used to transport fragile or abrasive materials over long distances.

  • Utilizing compressed air, this method conveys material at low velocities to reduce product degradation.  
  • Operates in a “batch-like” manner, filling an ASME vessel, pressurizing the vessel, conveying, and starting over.  
  • Powder can remain in the convey line while the vessel refills with powder.
  • Velocities can range from 200 to 1000 feet/minute, and are regulated by monitoring the convey pressures.
  • Boosters may be required for longer distances.  View Fact Sheet

Vacuum Dense Phase

Vacuum dense phase conveying systems are also used to transport fragile or abrasive materials, but over short distances than pressure dense phase.

  • Materials that are often conveyed using this type of system include whey, protein mixes, infant formula, pet food and more.  
  • Utilizing high vacuum pumps, this method conveys materials at low velocities.  
  • Operates in a “batch-like” manner, filling an infeed hopper, vacuum conveying to a vacuum filter receiver, periodically discharging the filter receiver, and starting over.  
  • Powder can remain in the convey line while the infeed hopper fills with powder.
  • Velocities can range from 200 to 1000 feet/minute, and are regulated by monitoring the convey pressures.
  • Boosters may be required for longer distances.  View Fact Sheet

Industries

Pneumatic conveying systems are a great fit for many industries that handle or manufacture dry bulk powder. Some industries that benefit most from pneumatic conveying are:

  • Food
  • Dairy
  • Infant Nutritional Formula
  • Nutritional Powders

How to Select a Pneumatic Conveying System

Selecting the right pneumatic conveying system for your production line should be based on a number of factors including the type of material being handled, the space you have to work with in your facility, conveying rates and distance, and other process requirements.

Powder Process-Solutions has the knowledge and understanding of manufacturing that can only be attained after 40 years of active and successful engineering within the industry. We have an on-site test lab that can be used to gain solid information when handling new products with unfamiliar properties. We will work with you to design a system that provides you with the most efficient, sanitary and quality process solution.

To discuss your needs or learn more about whether pneumatic conveying is a good choice for your powder processing facility, contact us today.

See pneumatic conveying in action:

Pressure Dilute Phase

Pressure Dense Phase

Vacuum Dilute Phase

Vacuum Dense Phase

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