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Is an aero mechanical conveyor right for you?

20 February 2017

Terry Mason offers advice about which materials can best be handled on an aero mechanical conveyor. 

Aero Mechanical Conveyors (AMCs) are among the most efficient conveying solutions. They offer total batch transfer, relatively low power consumption and are able to deliver product across multiple planes. All of that can be accomplished within a dust-free and hygienic closed system.

AMCs are also considered to be reasonably gentle conveyors. An 80% air to 20% material pocket fill is recommended to ensure that the material is conveyed in an air stream and can gently navigate bends and corners within the conveyor. The way that the AMC operates also prevents material degradation ensuring that blends are maintained throughout the transfer.

It is always best to utilise a test lab to ensure that a product will run inside a conveyor to the rate and capacity requirements of the application. Dry, moist, and cohesive material, as well as fine particules, will generally run effectively in an aero mechanical conveyor, however, it is recommended that your chosen manufacturer tests the material first.

Never underestimate the importance of testing, as it is hard to know if any specific material will or will not work well in an AMC. There may not be any issues with fragile or hygroscopic materials but you must run a test to be sure. A material test early in the process will prevent problems in the future.

Sludge-like or highly abrasive materials and slurries certainly need to stay away from AMCs. These materials will shorten the life of the conveyor and will lead to extended downtime.

Using the correct material is not the only thing that you need to pay attention to. It is also vital, to ensure the life of the conveyor, to pay attention to how much material is being conveyed at once. Over-feeding a conveyor is one of the main reasons for calls to Spiroflow’s service department. It can put a strain on the conveyor if an operator tries to max out its capacity. A good supplier will make sure your conveyor is correctly sized to stave off the temptation of over-feeding.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t run the conveyor while empty for too long. Running an empty AMC will reduce the number of hours the conveyor or its components will last.

Other options
If an aero mechanical conveyor isn’t the right choice to convey your material, there are plenty of other options. Based on your application requirements those alternative solutions might include ultra-heavy-duty structural drag chain conveyors, heavy-duty tubular drag chain conveyors, tubular cable drag conveyors, or flexible screw conveyors.
Regardless of which conveyor, material, or layout is required, it is recommended that a test is performed using the conveyor of choice at the manufacturer’s test lab. 

Terry Mason is test bay manager at Spiroflow. 

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