Powder processing facilities have plenty of machinery with aggressively moving parts that have been known to shake loose fasteners or wear down surfaces to produce tiny metal particles or big metal pieces.
No machinery is immune to wear from blowers, pumps, feeder, belt conveyors or rotary valves.
It’s no secret that sanitation is paramount for food and dairy powder processors. After all, no one wants to put consumers—or the company’s reputation—at risk with a tainted food product. From our perspective, efficiently and effectively ensuring the safety of food begins with having the right sanitary powder processing equipment in place.
But with so many customization options and industry standards to consider, finding the right sanitary solution for your specific product’s needs is a big task.
For powder processors that work with combustible dusts, dust explosions are an ever-present risk in their facilities. While the number of explosions is certainly on the downswing thanks to new technologies, enhanced safety regulations, and other plant innovations, they still happen.
In 2017, Didion Milling, a corn milling plant in Wisconsin, made national news after an explosion killed five people and injured 12. Among the injured was a young man who had both legs amputated after they were crushed by a railcar.
Staying on top of the latest trends and technologies allow powder and bulk material manufacturers to continue to refine operations, improve plant safety, gain new knowledge, ensure product quality, connect with other industry professionals, and ultimately grow a healthier bottom line.
Luckily, there are a number of industry events and expos that can serve as resources for powder and bulk material handling companies to do just that.
When selecting a rotary valve for your pneumatic conveying systems, there are many design options to consider such as size, materials of construction, and compliance to industry standards. Among these choices, one important factor that stands out is configuration.
When selecting a rotary valve to feed a pneumatic conveying line there are generally two types of configurations: drop-through and blow-through, sometimes called “blowing seal.” But how do you determine which one is best suited to feed your product through your pneumatic conveyor?
While rotary valves may seem like very simple machines, they are essential for controlling the flow of powder through pneumatic conveying systems. Rotary valves need to be in premium condition to keep the system operating safely and smoothly. And should you encounter a problem with your rotary airlock feeder, the system must be halted to perform repairs, taking significant time and expense.
However, with proper and regular rotary valve maintenance, you can avoid these costly repairs and downtime. This not only results in smoother conveying operations, but also better valve performance.
Dust explosions are an ever-present risk for all bulk powder processors and handlers, threatening the safety of your workers and your bottom line. So how can a plant protect against dust explosions?
There are safety measures, such as controlling ignition sources or performing regular and thorough cleaning, that powder processing plants can take to limit the potential of a dust explosion as well as collect and eliminate dangerous combustible dusts.
Is Your Rotary Valve or Airlock On It’s Way Out? Rotary Valve Rebuilding May Be an Option
Dear Powder Doctor,
Our rotary valve is in need of replacement. We’re aware that a new rotary valve is quite expensive. Do you have recommendations for finding a cost-effective replacement?
When it comes to protecting plant and employee safety, many powder processors are focused on mitigating the buildup of combustible dusts as they can lead to costly and even deadly dust explosions.
In fact, 14 people were killed and 38 others were injured in a single, tragic dust explosion at Imperial Sugar Company in Port Wentworth, Georgia in 2008. Furthermore, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) back in 2012 and reported that 130 workers have lost their lives and 800 more have been injured in hundreds of combustible dust accidents since 1980.
For bulk powder processing plants, rotary valves — also known as rotary airlocks, rotary feeders, and countless other variations — control the flow of powder into and out of many critical points within the plant. Beyond controlling the flow of powder, rotary valves can be vital for safety as they often act as a flame barrier and process isolator in the event of a dangerous dust explosion.