4 Ways to Improve Material Handling Efficiency

Factory improving material handling efficiency

Material blocks can slow down production, increase costs, and compromise product quality. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy problem to solve.

Many materials have challenging flow properties. Some powders have a tendency to attract moisture and will clump or cake in high humidity. Damp or sticky materials can stick to vessel walls. Others will settle during storage, or aggregate during mixing.

AirSweep is a pneumatic flow aid that can clear material blocks and create on-demand, first in/first out flow. It’s proven effective for even tough materials—and has helped thousands of companies improve material handling efficiency.

Increase Production

Whenever your material flows slowly (or even stops completely) it affects all downstream processes and increases total production time. Sometimes, workers have to stop what they’re doing to clear out the vessel.

This was the problem faced by a minerals processing plant that handles 120,000 tons of material a year. The powders and pebbles would plug the outlets, reducing the flow to a trickle. It took an hour to fill a supersack.

AirSweep eliminated all plugging in the outlets and reduced the filling of supersacks from one hour to two minutes for a 3000% increase in production.

Lower Cost

Poor flow can increase costs because you end up having to throw away entire batches of material. A food company that uses flax and cocoa powder had to throw up to 40 pounds of mixture away a day, and even had to pay to have it hauled away.

Vibrators and fluidizers were ineffective; workers still spent up to one hour a day clearing out material with hammers and sticks.

After AirSweep, everything changed. The system solved 90% of the material retention problems, reduced waste, and improved production speed.

Prevent Safety Hazards

Material handling problems may compromise plant safety, especially if workers have to manually clean out stuck material.

For example, one of the world’s largest building materials companies had issues with hot cement clinker (a hot, sticky, and abrasive material) sticking to vessels and chutes.

Before, workers had to use a bar to break the material, but this was tedious and potentially hazardous. It took just one day to install the AirSweep, and they never had to worry about clogged clinker again.

Improve Quality Control

Companies may decide to use new materials to improve product quality. This is part of innovation and creating a competitive advantage—but it can introduce new problems during production.

An international paint company needed to use a new grade of titanium dioxide. However, the material, which had finer and lighter particles, had a tendency to bridge above the feeder system and on the pneumatic transport vessels.

AirSweep was installed at these critical points, clearing out the blocks and cutting batch time to just 15 minutes.

Find Your Flow and Improve Material Handling Efficiency

Every material, and every stage of production, can present its own flow challenges. AirSweep can help. Contact us for a customized solution and clear material blocks for good.

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