In manufacturing, moving large quantities of material around is often a vital part of the process. Many industries require conveying systems, such as mechanical conveying systems, to move material around in bulk. Mechanical conveying systems are not the only option available, however; pneumatic systems also exist and can have several advantages over mechanical systems.
What is a pneumatic system?
When materials are conveyed pneumatically, they are moved around via an enclosed conveying line. The materials are moved by a combination of the pressure differential and an air flow, or by pressure differential and a vacuum. By changing the pressure, the airflow (via an air blower) or the vacuum, the materials are conveyed along the conveying line.
Advantages of a pneumatic system
These kinds of conveying systems are particularly useful when moving powders and granules, such as flour, sugar, cement powder, silica sand, cocoa beans, sodium bicarbonate, or glass batch mix. There are two different kinds of pneumatic systems: dilute phase conveying and dense phase conveying. Both phases can be used with either pressure or vacuum. Because the systems are enclosed, there is less chance of material escaping into the atmosphere. Pneumatic systems also take up less room than mechanical systems as their flexibility allows them to bend around existing equipment. They also have fewer moving parts that can break down.
Disadvantages of pneumatic systems
Pneumatic systems can also have their share of disadvantages. Large particles such as gravel or rocks can be difficult to transport, as can very sticky materials such as titanium dioxide or wood shavings. These systems typically use more horsepower than mechanical systems, and the dust collection system can be comparatively large.
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If your manufacturing process requires conveying materials around the plant, you are probably already using some form of a conveying system. They are widely used in the food, pharmaceutical, glassmaking, mining, metallurgy and building material industries, along with many others. Pneumatic systems might provide you with increased safety, increased efficiency and fewer maintenance issues without requiring a complete redesign of the factory floor or a comprehensive rethink of your manufacturing process.