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Aeromechanical Conveyors for Moving Cohesive Materials

January 3, 2018

Aeromechanical conveyors are an extremely versatile equipment option for a variety of applications. Aeromechanical conveyors are used to move a wide array of materials, including everything from tea leaves and coffee beans to brewery malt, as well as a variety of other materials used in the chemical, mineral, food, pharmaceutical, plastics and rubber industries, and more.

Aeromechanical conveyors have the ability to successfully move powders that have difficult handling characteristics, including cohesive and prone-to-pack materials such as titanium dioxide. This blog looks at how facilities can use aeromechanical conveyors for moving cohesive materials.

How Do Aeromechanical Conveyors Work?

Aeromechanical conveyors, sometimes known as “rope and disk” conveyors, operate on the principle of a fluidized airstream. Within a fully enclosed tube, a series of disks attached to a continuous wire rope travels at high speed, creating a high-velocity airstream. This airstream draws material into and through the conveyor, allowing the conveyor to closely mimic pneumatic conveyors with this mode of operation.

Material is fed into an aeromechanical conveyor at a constant rate. The high-speed airstream created within the conveyor fluidizes the material, providing for the low-shear conveying of powders and particulate materials. Aeromechanical conveyors can be connected to and fed from a variety of sources, including bins, hoppers and silos, mixers and blenders, and bulk bag dischargers and fillers.

Aeromechanical Conveyors for Moving Cohesive Materials

While an aeromechanical conveyor’s mode of operation mimics that of a pneumatic conveyor, it does so without the degrading effects and costs of pneumatic action. The gentle fluidizing airstream of an aeromechanical can draw in and move cohesive powders without caking or plugging. Examples of cohesive materials which can be successfully moved with an aeromechanical conveyor include the following:

  • Titanium dioxide (TiO2). Widely used as a pigment, titanium dioxide’s small particle size causes the material to cake and pack. In addition, titanium dioxide particles readily deposit or smear onto conveyor surfaces.
  • Carbon black. Carbon black is another fine particle pigment material with handling characteristics similar to titanium dioxide.
  • Cement powder. Cement powder is very fine, highly abrasive, and easily forms cohesive bridges, which impede flow. Cement powder also tends to create dust, which can be highly irritating and hazardous to workers.
  • Calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Commonly known as limestone, limestone flour, or chalk, calcium carbonate is a fine powder that readily cakes and packs.
  • Tin oxide (SnO). Used in electronic ceramics and as a glazing opacifier, tin oxide is highly abrasive, resists flow, and tends to smear and bridge easily.

Aeromechanical conveyors have proven to be a reliable equipment type for moving cohesive materials. Suitable for continuous or batch-type transfer, these conveyors can move significant amounts of material – throughput rates are a function of the conveying tube diameter and rope assembly speed, which is typically between around 600 and 1,150 fpm, depending on the conveyor manufacturer, the conveying tube diameter, and the application. Capacities on Powderflight aeromechanical units from UniTrak, described below, range up to a maximum of 1,400 cubic feet per hour.

Powderflight Aeromechanical Conveyors from UniTrak

Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors combine speed, reliability, flexibility and productivity to support your manufacturing processes. These advantages enable operational efficiency, and make Powderflight conveyors well-suited to address the challenges associated with moving materials such as powders, granules, pellets or flakes.

Powderflight conveyors are an excellent choice for many conveying applications, including those involving the conveying of cohesive materials. An added advantage of Powderflight conveyors is their ability to function in tight areas – with a footprint of less than 1 square meter (3 square feet), Powderflight units require a minimum of operating space.

To find out more about aeromechanical conveyors for moving cohesive materials, or to learn how UniTrak can solve your cohesive materials conveying challenges, please contact our sales team for an application review.

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