Why the Helix® Flexible Screw Conveyor is the Superior Solution for Handling Powders
Versatility, flexibility and the ability to be customized are among the most attractive aspects of a flexible screw conveyor. These are especially valuable because of the unique challenges related to the distinct makeup of materials in a specific application. These challenges must be addressed by how a conveyor is constructed and configured to handle a particular product.
With any number of variables potentially impacting the material handling performance of a flexible screw conveyor, it is important to understand how each component of the system can address these challenges. It is also critical to consider how the conveyor might affect the material, and vice versa. In powder handling applications, end-users can NOT afford to overlook important factors that could potentially lead to poor performance, excessive power usage, severe wear, material degradation and other more problematic consequences.
All of these factors can be extremely damaging to an operation’s bottom line. Fortunately, all of them can be dealt with by selecting a Hapman Helix® flexible screw conveyor. While other manufacturers offer limited options, the Helix can be customized with several components that are specially designed for conveying powders:
- Flat wire augers are made of square or rectangular wire and typically deliver the best possible results from a flexible screw conveyor that handles powders and other light materials. The flat conveying surface applies a more positive forward directional force on the product being conveyed and reduces the outward force against the tube wall, resulting in greater efficiency with less degradation.
- Beveled wire augers are used for product that is likely to build up on surfaces (such as TiO2 and many other oxides).
- Center cores are small tubes placed in the center of the screw that extend the full length of the auger. The center core restricts the amount of space within the conveyor by reducing the amount of material delivered through the equipment, which in turn reduces the load imposed on the screw. Use of a center core is recommended when conveying very dense or highly aerated/fluidized powders.
- Ribbon and pin agitators promote the flow of high-moisture, sluggish and other difficult-to-handle powders through a process to maintain desired production levels. They also eliminate the potential for product to bridge in the hopper.
- Vibratory hoppers and other special hopper designs also promote material flow by introducing intermittent vibration to a process. They also offer their own array of options to make moving material more efficient: standard and custom sizes ranging from 8 ft3 (2.4 m3) to more than 100 ft3 (30.5 m3), flanged inlets, 304 or 316 stainless steel construction and more.
- Hopper-mounted air pads force air along the hopper wall, fluidizing the material for optimal conveying.
- Optional mobile bases provide a discharge height of 12 ft (3.66 m) and allow a flexible screw conveyor to be relocated and repurposed throughout a plant, eliminating equipment redundancy and reducing capital expenditures.
The Hapman Helix flexible screw conveyor can also be customized to conform to the specific mode of operation you need it to perform:
- Batch Operation — This is the easiest of all duties. When only one material is batched, it is relatively easy to maximize batch output so that residual product is left in the conveyor to maximize its repeatability. The residual product remains should be considered, since they may contain various ingredients that may not completely transfer from the system as desired. By first introducing a portion of the larger, major ingredients, followed by the smaller, minor ingredients, and then dumping in the remaining portion of the initial major ingredient, you can minimize loss. This is just one method of batching when exact weighment is not critical.
- Intermittent Operation — During this process, the conveyor starts and stops in a repetitive fashion under full load. Be aware that some heavy materials may cause start-up issues. To mitigate this problem, special modifications can be made to the Helix flexible screw conveyor that will add to its structural strength and/or reduce the amount of material during start-up.
- Continuous Operation — If you need your flexible screw conveyor to perform non-stop for extended intervals, the Helix can be specifically designed for this type of operation and sized to run at an average speed range.
Given the different material characteristics and unique variables in a specific operation that uses flexible screw conveyors in its process, having many equipment options available is the key to achieving maximum efficiency and profitability. The Hapman Helix flexible screw conveyor is engineered to meet all standard expectations plus provide the precision performance and custom flexibility to handle all of your powder handling needs. Our decades of experience—both with this type of conveyor and the challenges of handling powders—will ensure that we provide the correct options for your particular application.