How To Benchmark Powder Flow BehaviorSource: Brookfield Engineering Laboratories, Inc.
By Robert G. McGregor, General Manager, Global Marketing
Plant managers appreciate powders that don’t have flow problems. Headaches that arise when powders behave erratically include equipment downtime, lost production, added expense to operations, and sometimes injury to technicians who dislodge powder jams. If a specific powder flows well, shouldn’t that provide R&D with the recipe to make other powders the same way? Unfortunately, there are many variables that affect a powder’s formulation. Consequently, the flow behavior cannot be guaranteed from formulation alone.
The scientific method that is gaining popularity with industrial plant managers employs the use of a Shear Cell to test powder flow behavior in during gravity discharge from bins with converging hoppers.It may be hard to believe, but Shear Cells were conceived and designed to perform this specific task over 50 years ago. So what has changed? Shear cells have become less expensive to purchase, much easier to operate, and quick in their ability to run timely tests for both R&D as well as QC. All three factors are important in convincing plant managers that this investment makes good sense. The remaining challenge is to understand what the data tells you. This is where “benchmarking” becomes important.