3 Reasons Why Particle Velocity is the Most Accurate Measure of Powder Feed Rate and Dilute Phase Conveying Velocity

Stop guessing & start controlling

Controlling bulk material feed rates is essential for a wide range of industrial processes. Traditionally though process engineers have had to calculate, or frankly, guess. Industry has lacked an effective instrumentation for monitoring actual particle velocity often using gas/air velocity as a very approximate proxy.. Auburn Systems has solved this with an adaption of their patented triboelectric technology for use in bulk flow monitoring.

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3 Pneumatic Conveying Hassles that can push Engineers to use Screw Conveyors

Positive Physical Control vs. Indirect Control

The two primary means of conveying bulk products are by pneumatic and mechanical conveying with the most common type of mechanical conveyor being the screw conveyor. Both methods have benefits in certain applications over others. In general, finer, more consistently sized materials as well as some granular and pelletized materials work well with pneumatic conveyors whereas larger, irregularly sized materials, as well as moist, doughy, and packable materials work better with screw conveyors. However, in the middle reside the majority of materials for which both systems could be appropriate. 

In cases where either system could be used, sometimes previous hassles or perceptions of pneumatic conveying problems may lead engineers to use a screw type system. Let’s review three of these and consider why engineers should not be hasty to rule out pneumatic conveying - in fact how to overcome these problems to make pneumatic conveying more reliable. 

3 Pneumatic Conveying Challenges:

1. Justifying Investment in “Complex” Pneumatic Systems

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Advantages of Using Triboelectric Product Flow Monitoring with a Cyclone Dust Collector

Understanding What's Happening Inside Your Cyclone Dust Collector

Cyclone dust collectors find use in many industrial applications with high volumes of product flow. Unlike other types of dust collectors, such as fabric filter collectors, cyclones can handle very high dust levels without sacrificing efficiency or sustaining damage. This is precisely why cyclones are often used as prefilters, removing the majority of the material from the airstream before it enters into a final “polishing” unit, such as a baghouse or cartridge collector. In other applications, cyclones are used for particle sorting or bulk material transport. 

Even though cyclones do not have a high enough collection efficiency to be used by themselves, they do play a large role in many applications, for emissions as well as process applications. In process applications, many have asked if triboelectric monitoring can control product flows through the cyclone. The answer is yes!

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Controlling Particle Velocity to Reduce Blockages in Pneumatic Conveying Systems

Common systems and common frustrations

Dilute phase and dense (bulk) phase pneumatic conveying systems are widely used in industrial facilities for moving materials throughout a facility and as part of larger dust collection systems. They are efficient and effective - but they're also the cause of many frustrations. Frequent blockages, unplanned downtime, material attrition, energy cost and maintenance are all common complaints. In all cases, keeping the system free of blockages is crucial for proper operation. Blockages can lead to process disruption and lost production. They can also cause damage to the conveying system or other connected equipment. In other situations they create severe fire or explosion hazards when handling combustible dusts. 

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Tips for monitoring and controlling powder injection rates

Optimizing product flow and powder injection rates

Controlling injection rates of dry powders plays a crucial role in many industrial processes. The ability to monitor and control the injection rates can mean the difference between quality product and profitability versus....well, let's just say lots of headaches. 

Importance of Controlling Powder Injection Rates

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Solving Pneumatic Conveying Problems With Triboelectric Monitoring

Process insights become process control

The use of triboelectric particle velocity monitoring in pneumatic conveying applications is relatively new. In the past, no real viable solutions existed to measure particle velocity in dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems. Pitot tubes can be used to measure air velocity in such systems but encounter problems when introduced into dust-laden air thereby limiting them to only for occasional diagnostic uses. In contrast, triboelectric systems for particle velocity monitoring have no issue working in applications with heavy dust loads. Additionally, because they track the velocity of moving particles themselves rather than measuring airspeed they present a more accurate picture of conveying conditions within the ductwork. 

But what kinds of pneumatic conveying problems can triboelectric particle velocity monitors remedy? Let’s consider two very common problems that come up with pneumatic conveying systems. 

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Using Tribo to Monitor Minimum Transport Velocity for Entrained Dust Particles

No matter what the application accumulations of dust within a duct work system can present a host of problems to industrial facilities. Dust buildup in baghouse ducts can impact operations of the dust collection system, thereby directly affecting production. Malfunctioning dust collection also generates respiratory safety hazards as well as creates a substantial risk for combustible dust fires and explosions. Additionally, poorly performing systems directly impact a plant’s emissions limits, which can lead to heavy fines, sanctions or even forced shutdowns by regulators. 

How can operators and technicians prevent this issue and avoid these serious consequences in their facilities? 

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Controlling Flow Rates on a Carbon Injection System for Mercury Capture

The Mercury Emissions Challenge

The EPA’s Mercury emissions standards have proved one the biggest environmental regulatory developments in the US in the last 30+ years. Industry was vocal in their hesitation about the formulation of these standards for decades. After the rules were codified in 2005, the MATS or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards faced vigorous opposition, with over 20 states suing to have them vacated with the case even reaching the United States Supreme Court in early 2015 and 2016. 

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Why Particle Velocity Monitoring Should be Part of Process Control

One of the topics that generates lots of questions for us in meetings is particle velocity monitoring. Sometimes the reaction is "cool capability, but how's it applicable in our situation?" And if budgets are tight, people assume it will be too expensive and prefer to skip to the next topic. But often the reaction centers around pneumatic conveying where they express a real difficulty understanding what is going on in the pipeline. This is often the case for engineers in industry, and makes troubleshooting an industrial system quite difficult.

Particle velocity monitoring is crucial for proper operation of many process applications and plays a key role in preventing serious problems with dust collection systems that are widely used in nearly every industry. 

For this reason, we thought it would be a good idea to briefly review some compelling reasons why you should seriously consider particle velocity monitoring in your process. 

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Are you properly monitoring your Pneumatic Transport System?

Air pressure controlled, pneumatic process control systems are used extensively for conveying powder and bulk solids in many industries.  Improperly controlled systems can result in problems for the manufacturing process.  Blockages Flow/No Flow monitoring), material drop out (More Flow/Less Flow monitoring), or  product damage can occur when the product velocity is not directly measured and controlled. For example, during pneumatically transported breakfast cereal operations, the lack of product velocity control can result in significant product damage.  Often the solution is to simply increase the air flow in the system, but the actual effects of this action is unknown inside the pipe or duct.  There is a need for more sophisticated, particulate velocity control technology to help minimize such product damage. 

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