Archive: Oct 2022

The Top 5 Bulk Material Flow Aids Ebook

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Top 5 Bulk Material Flow Aids Ebook Cover

If you already have a material flow aid, are you happy with it? Our ebook, The Top 5 Bulk Material Flow Aids: Pros, Cons, and Calculating ROI, is a must-read if you are struggling with your current flow aid and need to find a solution that works for you.

This ebook covers:

  • Pros and cons of different flow aids
  • Hidden costs of energy consumption, maintenance, and manpower hours
  • How companies have saved thousands of dollars after using AirSweep
  • And more

You can download the ebook here. If you have any questions about AirSweep and other material flow aids, please contact us.

Why is AirSweep Better than a Fluidizer?

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Fluidizer on a silo graphic

Fluidizers are one of the most common material flow aids. They are cheap, easy to find, and often come pre-installed in vessels. But are they really effective? Turns out they are not. In this article, we cover why AirSweep is better than a fluidizer.

Fluidizers activate material with a combination of gentle aeration and vibration. The rubber discs are installed inside the hopper, bolted into place, and attached to air piping. The air causes the discs to flap and vibrate, causing air to radiate out. However, fluidizers aren’t the best flow aid to use for a variety of reasons.

Fluidizers don’t work for most powders and solids

Fluidizers work for very light powders like flour. However, they will not work on powders that are hygroscopic (or have a tendency to attract moisture) or powders with high fat or moisture content.

For example, R.M. Palmer—a candy manufacturer in Reading, Pennsylvania—had issues with cocoa powder packing and bridging in the hoppers. Cocoa powder has a 12% oil content.

Despite installing fluidizers, bin aerators, and vibrators, the company’s workers still had to scrape material off the vessel walls every three or four days. It was costing them time and money.

After trying so many different flow aids, the plant manager had grown skeptical. “A lot of manufacturers say their product will work but they don’t back it up,” Wieland said.

Fluidizers are expensive to use

While the initial cost of fluidizers may be low, the operating costs and losses from downtime are very high.

Since it has a small effective radius, you need to continuously operate several units to activate the material. This can lead to high energy consumption, which is very significant for countries where electricity is expensive.

Fluidizers are difficult to clean and maintain

The rubber discs, which are installed inside the vessels, can also trap material. They are difficult to clean, and can’t be exposed to some kinds of cleaning chemicals. This can create hygiene and sanitation issues—a big problem for industries like food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and personal care.

How AirSweep is better than a fluidizer

That doesn’t mean that pneumatic flow aids can’t activate material. You just have to choose the right one.

AirSweep uses powerful air pulses that break up material blocks. It is effective for all materials—even moist powders, sticky compounds, or heavy bulk solids.

In fact, it was the only flow aid that solved R. M. Palmer’s material flow problem. After installing two AirSweep VA-06 units on the hoppers, the company has had “no breakdowns, replacements, or any problems whatsoever.” They were even able to add two production shifts per month, increasing output.

Wieland saw for himself how AirSweep was different from all other flow aids he had tried.

“AirSweep has a stronger air pulse than the bin aerators or fluidizers we previously installed. The air moves the powder down in a very large column so the powder doesn’t stick to the walls,” said Wieland.

Get the most powerful and cost-effective flow aid

AirSweep activates more material while using less energy. It is also easy to maintain and comes with the longest warranty in the business.

Contact us to find out more about how AirSweep can help improve your plant’s productivity while lowering your costs.

AirSweep Straight Shooter FAQs

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Material on conveyer belt

AirSweep is one of the most powerful pneumatic flow aids in the industry. It can solve tough flow problems that even fluidizers, vibrators, and air cannons cannot.

The secret of AirSweep lies in its nozzle. It directs high-pressure, high volume, bursts of compressed air or inert gas along the inside walls of process equipment or vessels. The air pulses break the friction between the wall and the material to lift and sweep stalled material back into the flow stream.

The standard AirSweep releases air pulses at 360 degrees. This is typically used on hoppers, silos, mixers, and other process equipment with wide surface areas. However, there are applications that require air pulses to flow in a vertical column. For that, you can use the AirSweep Straight Shooter.

What is the AirSweep Straight Shooter?

The Straight Shooter model releases the pulse in a straight column. The technology and the performance quality are exactly the same. The nozzle has just been modified to concentrate the air pulses in one direction. Watch the demo:

How can the AirSweep Straight Shooter be used?

The “fire hose” effect of the air pulse makes these mini-blasters perfect for larger-sized pieces of material or for areas where the standard AirSweep cannot be mounted, such as inaccessible walls.

It can also be installed on chutes and ducts to push heavy material like cement or crushed ceramic tiles, or to flush vessels completely clean between batch runs. Some clients have used it to blow metallic brake dust off of mixer paddles (inside the mixer), and blow off flour and crumbs in a bakery application. Because they instantly reseal, these units can even be mounted inside the vessel to blast away areas of buildup.

Units can be easily mounted to blast in any direction using standard pipe elbows or fittings.

What is the AirSweep Straight Shooter’s activation range?

All AirSweep models and sizes are available as a Straight Shooter. The AirSweep team can select the right model for your application.

  • VA-06. 12″ to 18″ range (305 to 460 mm)
  • VA-12. 24″ to 30″ range (610 to 760 mm)
  • VA-51. 30″ to 36″ range (765 to 915 mm)

Like other AirSweep models, it is ATEX-certified as safe for hazardous environments. There are also USDA-accepted Straight Shooter models for sanitary applications.

Should I get a standard AirSweep or a Straight Shooter?

Paul the AirSweep guy demonstrates the difference between the standard AirSweep and the Straight Shooter, and how to adjust the position/location and angle of the Straight Shooter to achieve the desired material flow.

You can also contact us and tell us more about your process. We’ll customize a system and recommend the type of AirSweep that will give you the best results.