Are Flexible Sleeves Really Flexible?

Are Flexible Sleeves Really Flexible?

Flexible sleeves aren’t always as pliable as their name would imply. As many powder facility managers see firsthand, traditional hose clamps tend to loosen, spilling product and compromising sanitation. When flexible sleeves tear or degrade, the processing line is disrupted while new connectors are put into place.  All of this down time means reduced efficiency and ultimately lost revenue.

Thankfully there are solutions available that counter these challenges, improve powder processing plant efficiency and save money in the long run. Here are typical problems caused by using traditional flexible sleeves and hose clamps and solutions that can help plant managers improve factory performance.

Traditional Flexible Sleeve Challenges

A traditional flexible sleeve that uses a hose clamp is subject to a number of difficulties that result in processing line downtime as employees fix the problem.

  • Short Product Life. Because traditional flexible sleeves are not designed for repetitive motion, they are unable to withstand the wear and tear of gyratory or oscillating movements. This shortens product life and will require more frequent replacement.
  • Weak Spots. There are spots where a traditional flexible sleeve is most vulnerable to tearing, such as at the point where the sleeve is slipped over connecting pipes or spigots. Frequent tears mean more frequent processing line stoppage for replacements to be made.
  • Cumbersome Installation. Hose clamps are time consuming to place over sleeves and screw into place. This lengthens processing line downtime. When employees have to screw the clamp into place, they are more likely to injure their hands as well.
  • Product Leakage. Hose clamps are prone to loosening, allowing powder to escape and product to be wasted. This can also put the sanitation of your plant in jeopardy.
  • Safety Concerns. Traditional hose clamps are too weak to contain a powder explosion should one occur. This impacts employee safety, facility infrastructure and the company’s reputation.

Flexible Sleeve Solutions

There are solutions that powder plant managers can consider implementing to counter problems of weak sleeves, wasted product and processing line inefficiency. One of those solutions is the BFM® fitting. It is a connector that is truly flexible, is better able to withstand various movements and improves plant safety and efficiency.

  • Longer Product Life. Its flexible material is able to withstand any repetitive, vibrating, oscillating, gyrating and reciprocating movements in the processing line. The longer product life equates to infrequent replacements and less factory downtime.
  • Stronger Material. BFM flexible sleeves are available in various materials and are selected per the powder being processed, ensuring that it has the necessary durability. Because of its snap-in installation, wear points are eliminated, requiring infrequent replacements.
  • Easy Installation. Employees are able to snap the BFM® fitting into place using only their hands. The process typically takes about 40 seconds to complete, saving employee time and improving plant efficiency.
  • Product Contained. The flexible sleeve has top and bottom snap bands that ensure a tight fit. There are no clamps that can loosen over time, so product is contained and product sanitation is improved.
  • Improves Safety. The BFM® fitting’s internal snap band seals actually tighten under pressure, improving plant safety from possible powder explosions and overpressure situations.

A flexible sleeve that lives up to its name with pliability, tight seals and easy installation can improve plant safety and efficiency.