By Andrew Turner, Hanningfield Process Systems Ltd.
Vacuum conveying or pneumatic transfer is often regarded as a necessary evil in processing. Why spend money on a system which does not alter the process or add value?! Commonly overlooked at the design stage, or the first item to be axed when budgets get tight, vacuum conveying is typically installed retrospectively, perhaps prompted by an operator injury or containment breach. It is often shoe-horned into tight spaces (both height and footprint), with signal lines and hoses following tortuous routes around existing equipment – and giving these versatile and much maligned systems a bad reputation.
The truth about vacuum conveying is quite the opposite, and a well-designed system can enhance a process, increasing throughput and efficiency, eliminating the risk of operator injury and exposure, and ensuring product containment – whilst being kept tidy and compact.