How can Triboelectric Monitoring Improve Dust Collection and Pneumatic Conveying Systems Operation

Is the "Status Quo" Good Enough?

For many plants that make use of pneumatic conveying systems, maintaining the status quo seems sufficient. Many manufacturing plants have many years of service in them and many believe fully in the adage “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. While it makes for a catchy slogan, when misapplied it can lead to stagnation and a gradual decline in quality and competitiveness over time. Because in many cases it actually is broken...but nobody has bothered to fret too much because there's been no good solution.

It's common to hear stories about blockages that cause unplanned downtime, quality problems with blending applications and wasted product during line restarts. Maintenance issues and product damage/loss are also common pain points.

The problem is that there's really never been an accurate way to measure actual particle speed. Calculations were made based on system parameters, and in some cases air/gas speed was measured. Those are substantially different than actual particle speed itself which will often determine which baked goods will crumble, which resin will smear and which products will create blockages.

To this end, many have seen the benefits of incorporating triboelectric monitoring systems into their dust collection and associated pneumatic conveying systems to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and increase reliability. Let’s consider 2 areas that are commonly overlooked where a triboelectric system can provide real benefits. 

1. Flow/No Flow and More Flow/Less Flow Monitoring Prevents Blockages in Pneumatic Conveying Lines

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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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How to improve collector efficiency for reclaiming precious metal dust

Not just scrap!

Reclamation of precious metals is big business. US Census Bureau data indicates that nearly 14,000 metric tons of precious metal scrap were exported from the U.S. in 2012 valued at $5.5 billion.

In precious metals reclamation applications, efficiency means the difference between profitability and bankruptcy. Many precious metal reclamation processes make careful use of industrial dust collection systems at multiple points along the process. In addition, many other industrial processes that make use of precious metals in their processes (e.g. platinum catalysts in refineries) often have secondary reclamation systems installed to reclaim as much of these materials as possible. In both cases, any improvement in collection efficiency can result in increased profits. 

Different Ways of Using Dust Collectors to Reclaim Precious Metals

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Using Particle Velocity Measurement to Supplement Static Pressure, Velocity Pressure and Total Pressure Calculations

The right measurements for effective management

When first studying up on the fundamentals of industrial dilute phase conveying, dust collection and other related systems, plant engineers might find themselves inundated with convoluted technical formulas and unfamiliar terminology. Often much of this proves to have little practical use with regards to their actual system and ends up confusing rather than simplifying efficient operations.

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Triboelectric Dust Detection Tech Basics - 3 Articles to Read First

Lots of information, but where to start?

As of Dec '16 we've published more than 75 articles on triboelectric dust detection technology and particulate emissions monitoring. They cover technical details, tips on use, suggestions to reduce downtime and operating cost and even how our technology is increasingly finding application in process industries for monitoring and control bulk dry goods conveying. 

We're committed to building this body of knowledge for emissions monitoring and process control experts worldwide. But with so much information, we know that sometimes folks new to the discipline may not know exactly where to start. So instead of boiling the ocean, here are three basic articles that we recommend reading first.

  1. Triboelectric Dust Detection vs. Opacity Meters - Is there a difference?
  2. Triboelectric instrumentation for process improvement
  3. AC vs. DC - The role of signal Spectrum in triboelectric monitoring
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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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Which is better - an AC or DC triboelectric bag leak detection system?

What Does It All Mean

When considering a triboelectric bag leak detection system OEMs, sales reps, and other re-sellers may throw a number of seemingly confusing technical specs at the project engineer. One that frequently gets cited is whether the unit processes an AC signal or a DC signal. Often this is even touted as an advantage over other makes and models.  But not much explanation accompanies these claims as to the difference between the AC or DC signal, or why it even matters. So we often field questions from visitors to our site who have noted the various technical specifications of our units, as well as read much in our blog about our our Unified AC/DC signal processing technology.

But what is the difference between triboelectric systems that use AC and those that use DC? And what benefit does AC/DC unified technology provide? Lets take a look at the differences and highlight what one is used over the other. 

Superior Signal Vs. Adaptability to Harsher Conditions

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