Archive: Oct 2023

AirSweep Reduces Cleaning and Maintenance Time

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Clean and shiny industrial filtration system

Periodic cleaning and maintenance of vessels can cause significant costs and downtime. However, many companies have found a simple way to streamline this process and further achieve material handling automation. They use AirSweep to improve material flow and flush vessels completely clean.

How does AirSweep help clean the vessels?

AirSweep releases high-pressure, compressed air pulses that can be released in 360-degree or vertical columns. The nozzles can be strategically placed at specific points in the vessel and timed to release in a particular sequence. 

Unlike other flow aids that rely on mechanical force or gravity, AirSweep’s air pulses create a powerful, controlled flow within the vessel. It dislodges even the most stubborn materials and ensures that every nook and cranny of the vessel is thoroughly cleaned – leaving no residue behind.

Why should you use AirSweep to streamline cleaning cycles?

While AirSweep is primarily used to prevent bridging, ratholing, and material blocks, many companies use the technology to flush vessels between batch runs.

Save time and increase productivity

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of infant formula uses AirSweep to clear material build-up in between batch runs of regular and lactose-free milk. 

They use the AirSweep USDA 135, engineered specifically for sanitary applications, and the AirSweep Straight Shooter. The combination of air pulses released at 360 degrees and air pulses released in a vertical column allow them to flush different kinds of vessels – blenders, receivers, sifters and even packaging line vessels.

AirSweep has reduced the time and labor needed to clean after the batch runs were completed. This allowed them to add batch runs and increase production output.

Lower cost and material waste

A leading spice and flavor blends manufacturer with facilities in 25 countries around the world used to manually clean their ribbon blenders by flushing them out with flour. This system was expensive and labor-intensive, and still left some spice residue that could compromise batch uniformity.

After installing AirSweep, they achieved a 62% reduction in flour flush and a 42% reduction in labor, all directly attributed to the AirSweep units. They saved $200,000 a year from flush material reduction alone.

Is AirSweep hard to clean and maintain?

The AirSweep unit itself is designed to shorten cleaning and maintenance times.  With the AirSweep Tri-Clover Clamp the nozzle can be dismantled and then reattached within minutes with a few basic hand tools. The nozzle can also withstand corrosive cleaning materials.

Does AirSweep meet sanitary requirements?

Many industries that need frequent vessel cleaning or flushing need sanitary equipment. This includes food, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. The USDA-accepted AirSweep is designed to meet the strictest sanitary requirements.

AirSweep: the complete solution for lowering factory downtime

AirSweep is the only flow aid that can be used to reduce material blocks and flush vessels clean. This combination of features makes it one of the best ways to improve productivity and reduce downtime.

Contact us to find out more about AirSweep and how it can improve your material handling automation and overall plant efficiency.

4 Companies That Switched to AirSweep and Improved Bulk Material Processing

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Sweet Cookies in a bakery line flowing down a production line

The right flow aid can make bulk material processing more efficient. It can resolve common problems like bridging and ratholing, and prevent thousands of hours of downtime a year. 

However, many flow aids fail to meet expectations. They only partially clear material, or even cause the powders or solids to become more compact. Companies still have to send workers to clean up the mess.

Only AirSweep solves material flow problems completely and efficiently. In fact, many companies shifted to AirSweep after trying out fluidizers, vibrators, and other competing technologies. Take a look at five case studies where companies made the switch and saw remarkable improvements.

Global tire manufacturer: AirSweep more reliable than fluidizers

One of the world’s leading tire manufacturers had frequent delays of carbon black bridging in the hopper. The material residue also led to off-spec batches that had to be discarded. 

They tried fluidizers, but these were ineffective and used too much plant air and energy. They wanted a flow aid that created on-demand flow and was less expensive to operate.  

The AirSweep difference 

AirSweep was the best flow aid for their bulk material processing needs. They installed two AirSweep VA-12 units, which were set up to release pulses in a specific time and sequence. It used less compressed gas than fluidizers that ran continuously and flushed all material from the vessel. 

This led to higher production, and lower energy consumption and product waste. The tire manufacturer was so satisfied with the results, that it installed more units in other parts of the plant and in other facilities in the US and Canada. 

“The fluidizers were really ineffective. AirSweep has provided us with reliable flow and reliable batch uniformity.”

Food company frustrated by industrial vibrators – gives AirSweep 10/10

A commercial bakery was wasting time and money because of flax oil and cocoa powder bridging in the discharge. They had frequent downtimes and threw away up to 40 pounds of mixture a day. 

Other flow aids just made the problem worse. “The vibrators that came installed on the bottom of the hopper above the mixture practically turned the flax into concrete. Then we installed fluidizers, which were terrible.”

The AirSweep difference 

The company contacted AirSweep after seeing material flow test videos that demonstrated its effectiveness on wet, sticky materials. They installed the AirSweep VA-06, which was ideal for their small vessel size.

They saw results immediately. AirSweep resolved 90% of the material bridging problems. Their workers didn’t have to manually clear the blocks, and they no longer had to worry about the wasted mixture. 

The company was also pleased by the responsive customer service and painless installation. “My experience totally exceeded my expectations—a 10 out of 10!”

Cement company finds AirSweep more powerful than air cannons

Heidelberg Cement, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials, had issues with clinker clinging to vessels and chutes. Clinker is sticky and abrasive, and can’t be activated by fluidizers or vibrators. They thought air cannons–which blast massive volumes of air at material blocks–could solve the problem. But despite using a lot of plant air and energy, air cannons still left a lot of material on the vessel walls. “We were using a bar to [break] the material in the tube.”

The AirSweep difference 

Heidelberg replaced the air cannons with two AirSweep VA-51 units – the largest and most powerful model. Each unit can activate the toughest and stickiest materials within a four-foot radius and can even operate in hot or hazardous environments.

“The AirSweeps worked perfectly,” they said. Aside from restoring reliable material flow, AirSweep also used less plant air and did not wear out the equipment. This meant lower operating and maintenance costs than air cannons – not to mention less noise!

Food company stressed out by hammers – AirSweep saves the day

Bunge, an agribusiness and food ingredient company, had issues of rice bran clumping in their hoppers and silos. Workers had to hammer the vessels, but the “solution” was causing delays and factory stress. “The noise was like fingernails on the chalkboard. You wanted to get away from it,” said the maintenance manager. 

The AirSweep difference 

After reviewing different flow aids, they chose the AirSweep system. Unlike hammers, the nozzle emits a quiet hissing sound that is further muffled by the sound of the material in the vessel. 

AirSweep solved other usual pain points, too. Installation was simple and inexpensive: “Any electrician can wire it up.” Maintenance was convenient: “When we needed extra parts, customer service was extremely helpful and fast. If we had to get those parts from China, it may have taken months to get them.”

AirSweep has made bulk material processing faster and simpler. Bunge installed additional systems in the masa flour factory,  “In fact, we are looking into expanding to use in other parts of our plant.”

Unhappy with your flow aid? Consider AirSweep.

AirSweep is proven to be more effective than fluidizers, vibrators, air cannons, and other flow aid systems. Find out how you can get better productivity and more cost savings in your bulk material processing.