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.