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Pneumatic Conveying Solutions at Powder Show Texas

August 26, 2015

When it comes to pneumatic conveying, more air is not always better. But sometimes it is.

It simply depends on the situation, the material you are trying to convey, and other additional factors, and it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your process, according to Mark Jones, Director of TUNRA Bulk Solids Handling Research at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

For example, Jones says, a manufacturer may be putting more air pressure into a system than what is actually needed. In some instances, it may be counterintuitive to put less air pressure into the system but that is sometimes what is necessary. There may be instances when a manufacturer will want to use large piping and more air pressure and that will be the right option to use but there will be others where a smaller system with smaller amounts of air will be the correct method to convey materials.

“There will be a range of solutions,” Jones said.

Jones will provide tips and solutions for users to avoid pneumatic conveying problems and how to asses pneumatic conveying systems at the Powder & Bulk Solids Texas Conference and Exhibition in October. In his presentation, Solving Operating Problems in Pneumatic Conveying, Jones said he plans to provide not only education but practical advice about pneumatic conveying systems. “It’s really the marrying of some educational content and some real instruction of how to use that information,” Jones said.

Listen to Jones and other experts within the dry processing & bulk solids handling field speak about the latest technology and equipment at Powder Show Texas Oct. 13-14, 2015 at the NRG Center in Houston.

Jones, who has spoken at numerous Powder Shows since the 1980s, will discuss four main problem areas encountered when conveying pneumatically: pipeline blockage, systems not achieving the appropriate convey rate, pipeline wear, and material breaking down or degrading.

One of the benefits of pneumatic conveying is that it can be a flexible tool for conveying across many industries compared with other types of conveying material. “There are many applications where pneumatic conveying is an advantage,” Jones said.

But along with those advantages come challenges, such as being unable to see what is happening within a pneumatic conveying system, and users often do not understand how the nature of the material influences how you pneumatically convey. And that lack of industry knowledge is not unusual, Jones said.

When Jones started his career, industry knowledge about pneumatic conveying was limited; Jones was shocked at how little manufacturers knew about pneumatic conveying. Since then, manufacturers have become more knowledgable about conveying but there is still a lack of knowledge, especially by the users of the systems. "There is a learning curve and a continuous learning curve,” Jones said.

As an example, Jones discussed speaking about pneumatic conveying at a Powder Show years ago and seeing a room full of people who were seeking education in the field. But even now when Jones speaks at the Powder Show, when he asks the room how many are new to the industry or have limited knowledge about pneumatic conveying, about half the people in the room raise their hands.

Joe Florkowski is the managing editor for Powder & Bulk Solids. He can be reached at joe.florkowski@ubm.com