BFM Global's development team has used its flexible, transparent Seeflex 040E material to create the BFM venting surge hopper, a new solution to bridging, a common problem for manufacturers processing bulk powders.
Working closely with rotary valve manufacturers like Airlock India and Gericke RotaVal, the team created the new product as an alternative to traditional vented surge hoppers made from steel.
"We've combined the benefits of our transparent and flexible Seeflex 040E material with the BFM fitting snap-fit system into a uniquely-shaped hopper with built-in product and airflow separation," said BFM technical lead, Matthew Bailey. "The venting surge hopper has an internal partition that allows powder to flow down one side of the partition and displaced air to flow up and out the other. It snap-fits into a custom-made spigot that has a matching separation plate," said Bailey.
The most significant difference over steel hoppers is the transparency of the walls, made from Seeflex 040E urethane material, which means you can see the product flowing - or not flowing in the case of bridging.
"This is a massive advantage over traditional surge hoppers," said Blair McPheat, CEO of BFM Global and the inventor of the BFM fitting system. "You'll immediately see any blockage, and the key advantage of using a flexible material like urethane is that you can easily just 'massage' away any bridges using your hands. Of course, you could also use additional flow aids like air fluidizer valves or mechanical massagers, but the key difference is you can actually see that your product is flowing freely.”
"We think it’s a great new innovation that will appeal to many of our customers who until now have only had the option of steel surge hoppers” said Ragu Thiagarajan, owner and founder of Airlock India, who manufacture and export quality rotary valves globally. “With steel hoppers, you just have to keep banging away at the outside in the hope that you're freeing the blockage in the right place and wait until product starts flowing again. This new alternative gives customers continuous visibility and control."
The venting surge hopper utilizes the BFM fitting snap-fit system at the top and bottom so it can be easily removed and replaced, making it more accessible for cleaning processes.
BFM Global Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand +64 9 482 3395 www.bfmfitting.com