Aeromechanical Conveyors Handle Diatomaceous Earth for Brewery

April 12, 2011

4 Min Read
Aeromechanical Conveyors Handle Diatomaceous Earth for Brewery

Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors deliver a large volume of material with a very small footprint.

UniTrak Corp. recently supplied two Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors to handle diatomaceous earth for a large brewery in Canada. The diatomaceous earth is used in the filtering process. Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors were chosen for the project because they are capable of delivering a relatively large volume of material while only occupying a small footprint, and because they offer completely dust-tight conveying.

The customer needed to convey 18,000 lb/hr. The Model M-125, with a 5-in.-diam tube, was chosen for this project based upon the capacity required. The small footprint of the Powderflight made it possible to move this much material while occupying less than three square feet of factory floor. The conveyors were completely fabricated from type 304 stainless steel - including the 8-cu-ft hoppers with attached dust hoods, the conveying tubes, and discharge assemblies.

Diatomaceous earth is comprised of the powdered skeletal remains of “diatoms” (single cell plants that contain silicon dioxide), and is used in the filtration process of brewing beer. The beer is circulated through a bed of diatomaceous earth, which captures any solids which are suspended in the beer. The circulation continues until the liquid is clear. Diatomaceous earth is dusty and considered harmful. Inhaling this dust can cause lung problems such as irritation, and long-term exposure has been linked to silicosis.

Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors were chosen for the project because the conveyors offer an absolutely dust-tight method of conveying the dry, abrasive powder, while occupying a small footprint. The small footprint of the Powderflight made it possible to move the large amount of material required, while occupying less than 3 sq ft of factory floor. Both conveyors have a dust hood on top of the infeed hopper that is connected to the plant’s internal dust control system. The conveyors feed the diatomaceous earth to the mixing tanks at 13 ft above the floor. They operate intermittently throughout the 24-hour-a-day operation, as each new batch of beer is processed. The conveyors are completely fabricated from type 304 stainless steel - including the 8-cu-ft hoppers with attached dust hoods, the conveying tubes, and discharge assemblies.

Infeed hopper with dust hood (with connection to plant dust collection system) ensures clean and safe working environment.

UniTrak offers 37 different types and sizes of aeromechanical ropes. Rope assemblies are available with either galvanized rope or stainless steel, non-coated or coated. Ropes are available in 6 and 8 mm. Discs come in a variety of sizes and are made from nylon, polyurethane, and the custom PF disc. Both metric and imperial “pitch” dimensions are available. For a Powderflight, pitch is the distance between the discs on the ropes. Available pitches are 6 and 8 in, with more sizes and options in development. Also available are static dissipating rope assemblies for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

A Powderflight rope assembly that receives the recommended preventative maintenance -- primarily ensuring that the rope assembly is correctly tensioned and has been correctly installed and is the appropriate size for the application -- will easily deliver 3000 to 4000 hours of trouble-free service.

In addition to the Powderflight aeromechanical conveyor, UniTrak manufactures the TipTrak interlocking bucket elevator. TipTrak is a spillage free bucket elevator that offers gentle handling and low maintenance. It is mainly used for handling powders and bulk solids but is frequently applied for the handling of larger friable shapes. The interlocking buckets ensure spillage free loading while the “Z” configuration (which eliminates transfers) means the gentlest handling possible for product. The buckets run in molded rubber ‘chains’ that have no moving parts and therefore never require lubrication and are unaffected by the presence of abrasives. The TipTrak chain will never experience “chain stretch”. TipTrak bucket elevators are recommended instead of Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors whenever the following conditions or requirements exist:

• Extremely friable products (large flakes, prills, or shapes)
• 24/7 operation
• Capacity greater than 22 cu ft/min
• Distance/elevation – distances or discharge elevations over 40 feet
• Abrasive materials or products that have moisture, fat, or wax present, especially surface moisture

UniTrak Corporation Ltd is located in Port Hope, ON, Canada, and UniTrak Powderflight Ltd is located in Glossop, U.K. Both companies are ISO 9001:2000 certified and have been world-leading suppliers to the powder industry for over 40 years. For more information, call 866-883-5749 or visit www.unitrak.com.

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