If you answered “no” to all of the above questions then, congratulations! You and your company are doing a stellar job at employing all the latest technologies to keep your process up-to-date and maintain a safe working environment for all employees. However, if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions then join the majority of people that could use some process optimization!
There are several transfer methods for moving powders, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. The most basic of these methods is manually charging powders. Manual charging of powders into reactors and other equipment remains a common practice at many facilities where processes that involve solids handling are being performed. This method has been used for decades and its main advantage is that it does not require any expensive equipment or sophisticated controls. However, there may be other considerations that would make changing to a more automated method advantageous. We cover some of these further down in this post...
Mechanical transfer is another option that is relatively inexpensive and can add automation to your process through the use of energy efficient motors. However, the routing for the required pipeline can often make installation difficult and issues with containment and operator exposure are still present.
A third option is pneumatic conveying, which provides a fully-automated solution that offers the highest level of containment. There are two main objectives to containing powder, both of which are especially important in pharmaceutical and fine chemical applications– keeping the product safe from the environment and keeping the environment (and those people working in it) safe from the product. Depending on the characteristics and toxicity of the product, one or both of these objectives must be met to ensure the high standards of product quality and operator safety. Pneumatic conveying is the best technology to use to ensure a closed system is maintained.
Here are some key reasons why pneumatic conveying is advantageous over other methods of transfer.