Mined materials are one of the most critical components of the manufacturing industry. They are used to make thousands of commodities, from automobiles to electronics, and even medicines and household cleaning products. The mobile phone alone uses 42 different minerals—not including what is used for its packaging (paper and plastic need minerals, too!)
You can mine it… but can’t you move it?
However, mined materials have poor flow properties that can pose challenges during storage, processing, and packaging.
For example, hydrated lime—one of the most common components of cement production—is sluggish and has a tendency to pack, bridge, or rathole.
Wet materials such as damp sand or Diatomaceous earth can cling to vessel walls and plug the outlets.
Minerals with irregular particles can also segregate if they have a different hardness, grade, or size. Even after they are carefully screened and processed to a more consistent form, the particles can still interlock.
The best flow aid for mined materials
It’s important to choose a flow aid that can handle mined materials’ unique characteristics. Fluidizers can only activate powders that respond to light aeration. Vibrators can cause some minerals to become more compact. Air cannons still leave residue on vessel walls, and the air tends to “channel” through holes in the material, greatly diminishing effectiveness.
That’s why many companies switched to AirSweep. The powerful air pulses can improve the flow of any mined material—from fine powders to heavy rocks.
AirSweep increases productivity
A leading processor of industrial minerals handles more than 120,000 tons of material every year. However, their biggest challenge was transferring the processed material. It took over an hour to fill one supersack, and workers still had to hammer the vessels.
AirSweep cut that filling time from one hour to two minutes—a 3000% increase in productivity. Production volume increased to the point that an additional forklift driver was hired to keep up with the output.
AirSweep saves money
A cement company had issues with shale clogging the silos. They tried air knockers and vibrators, but workers still had to manually clear the vessels—losing $12,000 per hour of downtime.
AirSweep was the only flow aid that cleared all material build-up, and it used half the energy of air knockers. Since the cost per KWH was very high in their country, the electricity savings alone brought a great return on investment.
The proof is in the flow
AirSweep is used in thousands of plants around the world and has been proven effective for even the most problematic mined materials. Watch this material flow test on powdered hydrated lime.