Tag Archive: news

  1. 5 Reasons Why AirSweep is Effective for Bulk Product Handling

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    modern mill inside process making flour

    All industrial processes use bulk product handling equipment. Some are used to transport and supply materials to processing units. Others perform more specific functions like blending, compacting, flushing, grinding, etc.

    Flow aids are used to improve the material flow of bulk materials. They perform an important function because when materials don’t flow properly, the entire production line is affected. Without any bulk product handling equipment, workers must hammer the vessels to get the material moving again. This can cause hours or even days of delay.

    AirSweep: Bulk Product Handling Equipment for Material Flow

    AirSweep provides on-demand flow of even the toughest materials. It eliminates bridging, ratholing, arching and sticky build-up on the vessel walls.

    Each AirSweep nozzle directs high-pressure, high-volume, 360-degree bursts of compressed air or inert gas along the inside walls of process equipment, vessels, chutes, and ducts.

    The air pulses break the friction between the wall and the material to lift and sweep stalled material back into the flow stream. The unique, sweeping action can even result in the vessel or cone walls being flushed completely clean.

    This video explains how the AirSweep system provides reliable bulk material handling.

    Built for tough materials

    AirSweep works on the toughest materials. The pulses are powerful enough to activate moist, sticky, damp, and wet materials — even with bulk densities up to 200 pounds per cubic foot.

    Many companies shifted to AirSweep after becoming disappointed in other flow aids. A commercial bakery had issues with flax bridging above the discharge. “The vibrators that came installed on the bottom of the hopper above the mixture practically turned the flax into concrete,” said the maintenance department head. “Then we installed fluidizers, which were terrible. We still had to use hammers and sticks, and spent an hour a day to clean and keep things flowing.”

    AirSweep resolved 90% of material retention problems—which increased production and eliminated the cost of wasted raw materials. “My experience totally exceeded my expectations—a 10 out of 10!”


    The AirSweep system uses less plant air and electricity compared to other flow aids. Unlike fluidizers and vibrators, which run continuously, the units are pulsed in a sequence—one at a time—which minimizes overall energy use.

    Low maintenance

    The AirSweep can be mounted and dismounted from the process equipment without tools. This makes it very easy to remove the nozzle for routine cleaning.

    The AirSweep can also run for 1,000,000 cycles before it needs preventative maintenance. Aside from replacing parts that are prone to wear and tear, a system can last for decades without any problem. If there are any issues, customers also enjoy a 7-year warranty—the longest in the business.

    Easy installation

    One of AirSweep’s key benefits is that it is installed outside the vessel. Drill small holes at the appropriate location, then weld the couplings into place. It can also be retrofitted into existing holes.

    Safe for use in hazardous environments

    The AirSweep design and materials of construction can withstand high process or material temperatures, corrosive environments and materials, and hazardous area classifications. It is also ATEX-certified, which means that it has been independently tested as safe for use in explosive atmospheres.

    Watch AirSweep at work

    The proof is in the flow. Watch these material flow videos to see how AirSweep activates different types of materials.

    You can also contact us so we can personally explain how the system works, and how it can help you with your particular process.

  2. 5 Problematic Materials that AirSweep Can Handle

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    chocolate factory during production

    Most industries need heavy material handling equipment to move raw materials to warehouses and production facilities. However, the problem doesn’t end there. How do they ensure material flow during the process?

    Many bulk powders and solids develop flow problems once they are poured into silos, hoppers, or chutes. They can form bridging and ratholing that blocks the vessel outlet until the flow slows down or stops completely. They can stick to the walls or segregate.

    These material blocks would take hours to manually clean. Just like plants need heavy material handling equipment to transport materials to different facilities, they need industrial flow aids to move them through different processing stages.

    What is the best heavy material handling equipment for material blocks?

    There are three general kinds of industrial flow aids, each with its own pros and cons.

    Vibrators and air hammers shake the material loose—but at a cost. These consume a lot of energy, can potentially damage vessels, and are very noisy and stressful for workers within the area. Some materials also tend to settle even more when shaken, so this can actually aggravate material flow issues.

    Chemical flow aids break down the chemical bonds or change the flow properties. However, adding any material to a formula can affect its quality, consistency, and cost.

    Pneumatic flow aids use air pressure to break up blocks or push material. The key is to pick a system aid that uses enough pressure and volume to activate the material. For example, fluidizers that use a combination of light aeration and vibration are only effective for fine powders like flour.

    For most materials, you need AirSweep—the trusted heavy material handling equipment for the toughest material flow problems. It can activate bulk solids and powders that don’t respond to fluidizers, vibrators, and air cannons.

    The proof is in the flow. Watch AirSweep activate the five most problematic materials used in different industries.

    Heavy, sticky materials

    It can’t get heavier or stickier than liquid cheese. In fact, many food companies use the USDA-accepted AirSweep to move ingredients used for making chocolate and pastries. This model is specifically designed for use in sanitary environments.

    High oil and moisture content

    Materials with high oil or moisture content tend to form clumps or bridging and ratholing over vessel walls. Material residue can also spoil and compromise the entire batch. AirSweep guarantees first-in/first-out flow for faster flow and product integrity.

    Damp powders

    Damp powders can settle during storage and form bridging and ratholing in silos and hoppers. AirSweep has been proven more effective than fluidizers and air cannons—and even uses less energy and air.

    Flakes and shreds

    These materials have a tendency to interlock and clump together, and won’t respond to agitation and vibration. AirSweep air pulses separate the material and sweep it back into the flow stream.

    Heavy irregular particles

    Irregularly shaped solids can interlock and aggregate. AirSweep can be used with solids with heavier densities such as mined materials or cement materials.

    Find the right AirSweep for your materials

    Thousands of plants around the world trust AirSweep for reliable material flow. Contact us for a free consultation on the best heavy material handling equipment for your process.

  3. How Different Industries Use AirSweep for Bulk Material Processing

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    a pile of raw material in a paper mill factory

    AirSweep is a versatile flow aid that can be used in any industry that requires bulk material processing. It can activate the most challenging material, including sticky pastes, heavy pebbles and mined materials, or rock-hard clumps of powders.

    How does AirSweep work?

    AirSweep is one of the most cost-efficient ways to improve bulk material processing. Its powerful air pulses break up cohesive friction and sweep material back into the flow stream.

    AirSweep has a higher pressure and power than fluidizers, and won’t damage the vessels like vibrators. It also consumes less energy than air cannons and air knockers and uses air more efficiently because of its controlled, sequential pulses. 

    That’s why many companies trust AirSweep to improve their bulk material processing. Here are some ways they use the system, and how it helps them save money, time, and effort.

    Get smooth, on-demand material flow

    Slow material flow lowers productivity and can increase manpower hours. In some cases, the plant needs to shut down for manual cleaning, which wastes time and can cause safety hazards because of worker exposure to hazardous material.

    A cement company in Southeast Asia needed a flow rate of 20 to 30 tons per hour. However, materials solidified because of plant humidity. Despite using vibrators and air knockers, workers still had to hammer the silos. Each hour of downtime cost them $12,000 per hour. With AirSweep, they were able to solve this problem in just four days.

    Reduce material waste

    A food manufacturer in the United States handles 6,000 pounds of ground flax and cocoa powder per hour. However, the oil and fat content caused materials to bridge over the discharge and stick to all interiors, all the way to the filter bags. They had to throw away up to 40 pounds of mixture a day and even had to pay to have it hauled away.

    They tried other flow aids. Vibrators compacted the material until it was like concrete. Fluidizers failed, and workers still had to hammer the vessels every day. Only AirSweep worked, improving material flow by 90% and eliminating the costs of material waste.

    Reduce cleaning and maintenance times

    An infant formula manufacturer produces several formulations in the same processing and packaging lines.

    They used a labor-intensive, multi-step process of flushing and manual cleaning. After they installed AirSweep, they cut cleaning time from 40 hours to 10 hours. They pulsed the units during and after the batch runs, which improved blend uniformity and removed residual powders.

    Protect factory and worker safety

    A cheese company had issues with whey protein concentrate (WPC), which has a very high moisture and fat content and was prone to bridging over the discharge. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just delaying production. The caked material had sparked a fire in one of their baghouses. Bridging had become an urgent safety concern.

    They chose the AirSweep USDA-accepted model, which could slice through material blocks “just like an air knife”. The model was also designed for sanitary processes, which was critical for compliance with stricter industry regulations.

    Best flow aid for bulk material processing

    AirSweep is used in thousands of plants worldwide to achieve on-demand material flow. Our clients include S&P companies and SMEs. Contact us to learn more about how it can be used in your process.

  4. How Does AirSweep Prevent Machine Downtime?

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    safety workplace with yellow out of service tag

    Machine downtime is one of the most common and expensive problems in industrial or manufacturing facilities. According to a Forbes report, companies experience 800 hours of downtime per year, or more than 15 hours a week.

    That has a huge impact on revenue. For example, an automotive manufacturer loses about $22,000 for every minute of lost production time. A cement manufacturer loses $12,000 an hour. This doesn’t include the indirect costs incurred:

    • Additional labor and overtime
    • Wasted products or materials
    • Reduced capacity of vessels
    • Additional testing and quality control

    Machine downtime can also lead to lost sales opportunities and tighter profit margins. According to the report After the Fall: Cost and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime: “The reverberation is felt across businesses as a whole.”

    Causes of Machine Downtime

    There are two kinds of machine downtime: planned downtime or the expected time required for routine cleaning and maintenance, and unplanned downtime caused by equipment failure, operator error, and poor material flow.

    Equipment failure and operator error are relatively rare and can be avoided through regular inspection and proper training. However, poor material flow can happen every day.

    Many bulk powders and solids are prone to bridging and ratholing, which obstructs vessel outlets until the flow slows down or stops completely. The machines must be shut down so workers can clear out the material blocks or scrape away residue on the walls.

    This was exactly what happened in the Mexico plant of a regional manufacturer of asphalt products. “Over the weekend, when the plant was unstaffed, the asphalt materials would settle completely. When workers returned on Monday, they had to climb seven meters down into the dark silo, and clear thick layers of compacted material just to get the factory running again,” said the Sales Manager.

    An electricity-generating plant faced similar issues with bituminous coal, a mining by-product used as a clean energy source. The material would plug in the chutes, forcing operators to shut down the process so workers could chip away at the caked-on material. This occurred 15 times during each 12-hour shift, taking 20 minutes each time.

    Machine downtime from poor material flow was creating production losses and safety hazards. Fortunately, they found a simple, reliable solution: AirSweep pneumatic flow aids.

    Reduce Machine Downtime With AirSweep

    AirSweep has helped thousands of plants around the world eliminate bridging, ratholing, and other common causes of machine downtime.

    Each nozzle emits a high-pressure, high-volume, 360-degree burst of compressed air to lift and sweep stalled material back into the flow stream – clearing the way for higher factory and material handling efficiency.

    AirSweep works where other flow aids have failed. The asphalt manufacturer had tried electric vibrators and air cannons, but workers still had to hammer away at the material blocks. After installing AirSweep, they never encountered material blocks again.

    “After four years, we finally have the right solution! We are very happy with the system.” They have saved time, energy, and money from maintenance costs and losses from machine downtime, and are looking to install units in their other plants.

    The electricity generating plant reported similar success. AirSweep solved all plugging issues and used less energy than air cannons and other flow aids they had tried. With their higher productivity and lower energy costs, they have already gotten their full return on investment. “AirSweep paid for itself in just two weeks!” said Jeffrey Campbell, Plant Engineer.

    Get the AirSweep solution

    Contact us to find out more about how AirSweep can restore material flow, increase productivity, and prevent machine downtime.

  5. 4 Types of Material Handling Equipment that Improve Factory Efficiency

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    grain elevator loading truck for transportation

    Material handling equipment can help store, move, and process large volumes of material. It increases production speed and helps prevent some risks of manual processes: injury, human error, or exposure to chemicals and hazardous materials.

    There are many types of material handling equipment, and some machines are even customized for particular processes. However, these can be divided into four general categories that serve a specific purpose in the production line.

    Bulk material storage equipment

    This is one of the most common types of material handling equipment and is used in even the smallest and simplest facilities. As the name implies, it is used to store raw materials before they are transported or used in production.

    The most basic storage and handling equipment are drawers, racks, and stacking frames. Larger warehouses may use mezzanines or elevated floor systems that can hold more materials.

    The best storage and handling equipment will maximize space, prevent damage to the materials, and make it easier for workers to safely and easily access what they need.

    Bulk material handling equipment

    This is a broad term for any type of material handling equipment used to move or process bulk powders or solids. Examples include:

    • Silos: This is a tower used for storing grains and other food products, coal, wood chips, sawdust, sand, metal waste, and more. Interestingly, this is one of the oldest types of material handling equipment—the first stone silos date back to 1700-1800 BC.
    • Hoppers: This cone-shaped vessel helps funnel material from one stage of production to the other. It is typically used for particulate matter or any material that can flow. However, many materials can become compact because of moisture content, or the size and shape of the particles.
    • Conveyor belts: This automatically transports materials over several feet, even through steep inclines.
    • Reclaimers: This has a rotating scoop that gathers loose material and places it on a conveyor belt.
    • Bucket elevators: This is used to vertically haul powder or free-flowing materials such as grains, sugar, limestone, etc.

    Engineered Systems

    This works with other types of material handling equipment to automate the storage and transportation of material. This includes Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS), Automated Conveyor Systems, Robotic Delivery Systems, and Automatic Guided Vehicles.

    Material Flow Aids

    One of the biggest challenges of bulk material handling is how to ensure reliable, first in/first out flow. Many bulk powders and solids can settle and become compact during storage. Others are prone to bridging and ratholing, which blocks the discharge outlet.

    Material flow aids break up the material blocks and push material through the vessel. Types of material flow aids include:

    • Pneumatic flow aids that use air pulses (ex: AirSweep, fluidizers, air cannons)
    • Industrial vibrators that use mechanical agitation (ex: vibrators, air hammers)
    • Chemical flow aids that are mixed into the material to change its flow properties (ex: fumed silica, magnesium stearate)

    Among all these types of material handling equipment, AirSweep has proven to deliver the best results at lower costs. Unlike other pneumatic flow aids, it can activate even sticky, heavy, and moist materials. It uses less energy and does less damage to vessels than vibrators, and does not compromise the product formula like chemical additives.

    Discover the difference between AirSweep and other types of material handling equipment in this in-depth flow aid competitive analysis. You can also contact us to find out how AirSweep can help improve your productivity, product quality, and plant safety.

  6. Where Can You Install an AirSweep?

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    Material flowing from a hopper

    AirSweep pneumatic flow aid systems are used in thousands of plants around the world. Aside from improving material flow, one of its biggest benefits is its simple and fast installation. You do not need special tools or skills to attach the nozzle, and you can use the system on any storage silos and hoppers, chutes, blenders, or any vessel of any size.

    AirSweep can even be used in many vessels or environments where other flow aids simply won’t work. Here’s what you need to know about installing an AirSweep—and why it’s the easiest, most effective fix for material blocks.

    AirSweep is easy to install

    The AirSweep system consists of a nozzle that releases powerful bursts of pressured air. This is hooked up to an air supply through high-flow solenoid valves and an air receiver. An electronic sequence controller sets the duration and frequency of the pulses.

    The nozzle is attached to the outside of the vessel. You just need to cut small holes to accommodate the nozzle tip, and then weld the couplings into place. Finally, insert the AirSweep nozzle to the desired depth and then tighten the lock nuts to hold it in place. It’s that simple!

    The AirSweep can also be installed without any welding, using the outside of the mounting bracket. We recommend this option if you want to avoid modifying the vessel, or if you need to remove the nozzle often for frequent sanitation and cleaning.

    Follow these simple steps on how to install the AirSweep without any welding or special tools:

    AirSweep can be used on any vessel

    Many flow aids like air cannons or vibrators are so bulky or generate so much metal fatigue that they cannot be used on small vessels or cramped locations. In contrast, AirSweep’s air pulses do not damage the vessels and have a sleek and compact design.

    That is why AirSweep is the best flow aid for any vessel: storage silos and hoppers, gravity chutes, cyclones, blenders, pipes, conveyors, and more.

    A plastic and chemical manufacturer found that it was the best flow aid for cyclone efficiency. They had frequent production delays because of the build-up of adipic acid. It would coat the upper discharge area, forming a cake-like crust. Bridging over the discharge would lead to complete blockage. The product-laden air would also fail to drop out and return to the baghouse. As a result, good product would get carried to the waste stream.

    Vibrators, fluidizers, and other flow aids would not have been able to solve this problem. AirSweep engineers positioned AirSweep units strategically to prevent bridging at critical areas, leading to better flow and fewer operator interactions.

    AirSweep can be used in hazardous environments

    AirSweep has been fully tested and approved for use in hazardous and explosive environments. It has even received ATEX certification. ATEX (which stands for ATmosphères EXplosibles) is required for all products that are used in explosive environments in the European Union.

    An explosive atmosphere can be caused by a variety of substances and chemicals in the air, such as flammable gases, mists or vapours, or fine organic dusts like grain flour or wood. This includes petrochemical industries, underground mining, and food production.

    AirSweep can be used in sanitary process environments

    Some industries, such as food and pharmaceuticals, must meet strict regulations on sanitary processes and equipment.

    The USDA-accepted AirSweep has been developed specifically for this environment. The model incorporates sanitary design and fabrication principles to meet the guidelines set by the USDA. It has flanged connections for simple tool-less removal and easy assembly/disassembly with simple hand tools for inspection and cleaning. All parts are resistant to corrosive products and cleaning/sanitizing chemicals.

    Get a custom installation proposal now

    Each process, material, and vessel is unique. The AirSweep engineers will analyze your material flow problem, and recommend the best system for your needs—including the best AirSweep model, where to install it on your vessel, and what pulse frequency and sequence to follow.

    Contact us if you have any questions about AirSweep and how it can be integrated into your process.

  7. 5 Common Bulk Solids Handling Equipment

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    Bulk solids handling equipment moving material

    Bulk solids handling equipment are used to store, move, and process raw materials and products. They speed up production and ensure that materials can be handled in a safe and sanitary way.

    The first bulk solids handling equipment dates back to 1795: a primitive conveyor belt made of leather and a wooden bed that was used to transport grains and mining materials. Today, the equipment has become faster, more durable, and more precise. The latest automated systems even use machine learning and motion sensor technology and require very minimal human intervention.

    Here are some of the most commonly used bulk solids handling equipment that can be found in almost any processing facility that handles large volumes of material.

    Hoppers and chutes

    Hoppers and chutes are used to automatically feed material into the production line for further processing. They are usually connected to other bulk solids handling equipment such as conveyors, crushers, mixers, or dryers.

    Hoppers are typically set up to allow a controlled feed rate, but material blocks can slow down the discharge or even stop it completely. That is why it is necessary to understand the material flow properties, select the right hopper angle and outlet size, and install a reliable flow aid like AirSweep.


    Silos are used for storing bulk materials. These are typically used for food and agricultural products, but can also hold other bulk solids like cement materials, sawdust, woodchips, metal waste, and chemicals like carbon black and aluminum oxide.

    The terms silos and hoppers are often used interchangeably, although there are distinct differences between these two bulk solids handling equipment. Watch this video on silos vs hoppers.


    Conveyors are used to transport materials or goods. Most conveyors still use the traditional belt design. Some applications use pulleys or buckets or have cleated surfaces to keep materials secure or evenly spaced.

    When choosing the right conveyor (or any bulk solids handling equipment), users must consider the material’s dimensions, weight, and fragility, as well as the plant environment like risk for corrosion and available space.

    Conveyors and other bulk solids handling equipment used for transporting materials such as bucket elevators will always have a risk for material spills. This typically occurs when one of the parts malfunction and cause the conveyor to run faster or slower than intended.

    A DAZIC Zero Speed Switch can be installed into the conveyor or transport system to detect abnormal speeds and signal the operator before a spill occurs.


    Stackers are used to lift and stack heavy loads on warehouses and docks. Some warehouse automation systems combine stackers with autonomous shelf loader robots and shuttles, or systems that track inventory and coordinated routing. (Read our article on Top 5 Technologies for Automated Bulk Material Handling.)


    One of the largest bulk solids handling equipment, reclaimers are used to recover bulk materials from a stockpile. They typically consist of a bucket-wheel, counterweight boom, rocker, and a conveyor system.

    Both stackers and reclaimers are used extensively in the mined minerals industry or other applications that have to gather raw materials from piles before redistributing them for shipment or processing.

    Protect material flow in bulk solids handling equipment

    Materials can often settle during storage, or develop flow problems during transportation and processing. AirSweep can help activate material to prevent material blocks or correct erratic flow.

    AirSweep can be installed on any bulk solids handling equipment– silos, hoppers, conveyors, bucket elevators, or any vessel where material can hang up. Contact us to find out more about how to use AirSweep in your system.

  8. The Hidden Cost of Poor Material Handling

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    Rising costs of poor material handling

    Any industry that handles powder or bulk solids will experience a flow problem at some point in the process. However, poor material handling doesn’t just clog up a vessel, it can lower productivity, increase costs, and affect product quality.

    Poor material handling costs accumulate across different aspects of production. Here’s a list of how material blocks or erratic flow can affect your bottom line.

    Bottlenecks in production

    Bridging and ratholing in one vessel can affect all downstream processes. In some cases, an entire line of machines needs to be shut down because a silo or hopper needs to be manually cleaned.

    A paint company that was using titanium dioxide—a fine powder that is prone to bridging—was experiencing poor material flow in the live bin bottom feeder, collection hopper, the screw conveyor, and pneumatic transport vessel. Each time the material moved to another stage of production, the material would clog up. It took over 50 minutes just to transport one batch over 325 feet.

    AirSweep completely resolved the poor material handling issues and cut batch time to just 15 minutes, dramatically improving productivity.

    Idle machine time

    Every hour of machine downtime means lost productivity. A cement company even calculated their loss at $12,000 for every hour of downtime—not including the manpower hours they lost while their workers hammered at the silos.

    Poor material handling is expensive. After installing AirSweep, their productivity increased and they also saved more on energy, because the system used less energy and air than the other flow aids they had tried.

    Spoiled material

    A commercial bakery had issues with flax and cocoa bridging above the discharge and caking on the walls and filter bags. This led to numerous delays and expensive wastage. They had to throw away up to 40 pounds of mixture a day and even had to pay to have it hauled away.

    AirSweep solved 90% of their poor material handling problems. Aside from reducing wastage and improving production speed, they no longer need to climb equipment to dismantle and clean the ingredient receiver.

    Cost of Maintenance

    Choosing the wrong flow aid can lead to poor material handling. You need to consider the material flow properties, and both the capacity and cost of using a flow aid.

    Fluidizers can only activate light powders and have a small activation radius. So, you will need to install several units to achieve material flow. Aside from this, fluidizers have to run continuously, which can be very expensive in countries that have high electricity costs.

    Vibrators can cause some materials to become compact, and cannot completely remove residue on vessel walls. They also consume a lot of electricity and cause metal fatigue that can damage vessels.

    In contrast, AirSweep is effective and energy efficient. It is used by thousands of plants around the world to guarantee on-demand flow of even the toughest materials: powders, moist and sticky compounds, heavy solids, or even irregular particles that have a tendency to segregate.

    Though it taps the same level of air pressure as fluidizers, air vibrators, and other similar equipment, the AirSweep system does not run continuously. It starts and stops with the discharge cycle, and runs in a sequence with one pulse at a time. So overall, it uses less compressed air than a flow aid that runs continuously.

    By increasing production and lowering maintenance and operating costs, AirSweep can actually pay for itself after just a few weeks.

    Solve poor material handling with AirSweep

    The AirSweep system leads to better flow, higher productivity, and lower costs. Contact us to find out how we can improve your process, and your profits.

  9. The Importance of a Conveyor Belt Speed Sensor in Production Facilities

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    Conveyor belt in a plant

    People use many safety devices in their homes to protect their safety and prolong the life of their appliances: fire alarms, burglar alarms, voltage regulators, and circuit breakers.

    But many production facilities simply assume that material spills won’t happen, or its hazards or costs. What if a conveyor belt suddenly fails and causes tons of material to spill to the ground? Could someone get hurt? How long would it take to clear everything and restart production?

    DAZIC saves the day

    DAZIC Zero Speed Switches are “smart switches” that shut off any equipment if they run outside of the normal speed limits. They can be installed on conveyor belts, mixers, bucket elevators, or any machine with a rotary device.

    Barnes & Co, a concrete manufacturer based in the US, has relied on its conveyor belt speed sensor to prevent a ton of problems. Their feeders load up to 250 tons of gravel per hour. Any equipment malfunction could lead to an avalanche of material. “It’s really a safety issue,” said plant supervisor Joe Kruzewski. “It would be a train wreck [to be] buried with that amount of gravel.”

    Kruzewski estimates that it would take three people at least three hours to shovel one ton of gravel. Even just a 10-minute delay could result in 30 hours of downtime. “We would have to shovel for days!”

    But they never had this problem, because of the DAZIC conveyor belt speed sensor they installed on all of their 12 conveyors years ago. “It would be a nightmare if the DAZIC didn’t shut the conveyor belt down. I don’t even want to think about it,” Kruzewski said.

    Benefits of a speed sensor

    Barnes & Co. invested in a conveyor belt speed sensor because it was a form of “insurance” against many bigger and more expensive problems. As a family business, they need to maximize their production and avoid the backlash of a safety violation or a worker injury.

    DAZIC Zero Speed Switches protect the plant, the process, and the people.

    • Improved safety. A zero speed switch can detect when a machine has stopped rotating and can shut off the power quickly, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
    • Reduced downtime. Zero speed switches can detect when a machine has stopped and alert operators to the problem so they can take corrective action quickly, reducing downtime
    • Increased efficiency. By detecting when a machine has stopped, a zero speed switch can help optimize production processes and increase overall efficiency.
    • Improved maintenance. A zero speed switch can detect when a machine has stopped and alert operators to the problem, allowing for quick preventive maintenance and avoiding costly repairs or replacements.

    Affordable, durable, and effective

    Compared to other equipment, DAZIC Zero Speed Switches are less expensive and require very little maintenance and replacement.

    One of the world’s biggest manufacturers of sustainable, fiber-based products had been using Control Concepts’ DAZIC since the early 2000s.

    In 2006, the company installed DAZIC 8100 switches on its conveyor belts. Years passed, plant managers changed, equipment changed, and the DAZIC switches kept on running. The switches worked so well that people forgot they were even there.

    In 2019, the fiber-based manufacturer changed its conveyor belts but did not check the DAZIC speed switch. Months passed before a sludge build-up was noticed. It wasn’t enough to stop operations, but as a precaution, the company sent their conveyor belt speed sensor to Control Concepts to have it checked.

    Control Concepts cleaned the item and investigated the problem further. Apparently, over the years, the new conveyor belts had a quick start-up design that was beyond the DAZIC product specifications.

    The wear and tear from carrying a load beyond its specs could have caused the leaks. Despite this, the 15-year-old switch was still working—just dirty.

    After learning why the conveyor belt speed sensor failed, the client was impressed by DAZIC’s durability and the team’s commitment to finding the cause of the problem and working on a better solution. “We have used DAZIC in many of our plants for nearly two decades. It is a brand and a company you can trust.”

    Protect your process with a speed sensor

    Contact us to find out more about DAZIC and how it can protect your production facility’s safety and productivity.

  10. AirSweep vs Pneumatic Knocker

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    Hammer trying to solve material flow problems

    The oldest flow aid in the world is the hammer. People would hit their storage vessels to dislodge stuck material. It wasn’t very effective (or sanitary) because there would always be a little material left.

    A pneumatic knocker is essentially an automated hammer. Compressed air pushes a piston against the vessel wall. But even if a pneumatic knocker automates the process, it doesn’t solve the problem. You will still have material residue, and you’re not guaranteed first in/first out flow.

    The problem with hammers

    Even if a pneumatic knocker uses air, its working principle is closer to an industrial vibrator rather than other pneumatic flow aids like AirSweep and fluidizers. In fact, it is often used in wet environments that would make an electric vibrator difficult.

    But hitting vessels—whether it’s with a $10 hammer or an expensive pneumatic knocker system—will always cause more problems than it solves.

    • Leftover material residue. Moist and sticky material will still cling to vessel walls. This can cause material spoilage and contamination, and affect batch consistency. Workers still have to periodic manual cleaning to completely flush out the material.
    • Damage to vessels. The vibrations cause metal fatigue, which can damage thin vessels and lead to higher long-term maintenance costs.
    • High noise levels. While not as loud as an air cannon, the sound of several pneumatic knockers banging on the vessel can stress out workers and may even cause deafness.

    What a pneumatic knocker can (and can’t) do

    A pneumatic knocker is effective for shaking off excess fine powder or water and releasing products from molds. It may also have very specific uses like preventing the adhesion of workpieces in a furnace.

    However, if you’re looking for on-demand material flow, you need the true pneumatic flow aid—AirSweep.

    AirSweep vs Pneumatic Knocker

    AirSweep uses powerful air pulses that break up material blocks, pushes material back into the flow stream, and flushes the walls completely clean.

    • Effective for all materials. A pneumatic knocker can only activate water and fine powders. AirSweep can move even moist powders, sticky compounds, or heavy bulk solids.
    • No damage to the vessels. AirSweep can even be installed on very thin or small vessels—that’s how safe it is.
    • No noise. The air pulses are just like a gentle hiss, and the sound is further muffled by the material in the vessel.
    • Lower operating costs. AirSweep uses less plant air and energy than the air knocker, vibrator, or air cannon. It is the most energy-efficient flow aid you can find.

    Drop the hammers

    A food manufacturing company found that AirSweep was a more effective (and much quieter) alternative to hammers.

    Bunge is an agribusiness and food ingredient company based in the USA. Rice bran was clumping in their hoppers and silos—a common issue for materials that hold moisture and are sensitive to humid environments. Workers had to hammer the vessels, which was ineffective and stressful for everyone in the factory. “It was like fingernails on the chalkboard. You wanted to get away from it,” said John Pappenheim, Bunge’s Maintenance Manager.

    AirSweep instantly solved all material blocks. They had no clumping issues, no dents on machines, and no irritating hammering noises. The results prompted the company to install another system in their masa flour factory.

    While Bunge used “traditional” hammers, this case study shows that hitting a vessel will not promote material flow—even if it is automated. AirSweep doesn’t just shake a vessel, it sweeps material into the flow stream.

    Visit the AirSweep page to find out more about its features and what it can do for your process.

Copyright Control Concepts, Inc. 2020, 19 S. Main Street, Brooklyn, CT 06234 • ph: 860-928-6551 • fax: 860-928-9450

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