The Hidden Cost of Poor Material Handling

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.

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