Air operated conveyors are clean, quick, and efficient machines that are designed to transport or vent a wide variety of lightweight products, raw materials, or fumes from one place to another. They are a family of devices that use air to move products instead of mechanical belts or chains. Internal air conveyor is the term used when the items being moved are in the same pipe or chamber as the air that is moving them. Air transporter systems are popular in material handling and packaging industries. It works by having air flow through louvers to an inner chamber in which items, such as metal scrap, is moved. Internal air conveyors are limited to lengths of about 100 ft. (30 meters) or less due to pressure losses within a pipe.
Any friction between the product and the system is kept to a minimum. Some system even use ultra-low friction guide materials, such as oil-impregnated Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight (UHMW) or highly polished chrome. At very high speeds, a week’s worth of dust on a line can create enough friction to reduce line efficiency. Therefore, it is important to keep surfaces clean in these type of systems.
An air conveyor system is used to convey all types of solids, plastic materials, metal pieces, waste, trim removal in a manufacturing environment. It can also be used to vent gas in some cases. The length of the distances transported vertically and horizontally depend heavily on the types of material you are conveying.
Different conveying systems are used according to various needs of different industries
Examples of air conveyors
Air conveyors are most widely used to move lightweight objects such as empty containers, boxes, and trays at speeds often exceeding 1,000 fpm. However, they are not limited to lightweight materials. There are many different types of air operated conveyor systems that are designed to convey different types of products or perform specific tasks.
Air operated conveyors easily move items at faster speeds than conventional conveyors. They are also ideal for moving scrap where conventional conveyors would become quickly clogged or contaminated with debris. The inside diameter can be twice the diameter of the part/material being moved to help prevent clogging.
Air conveyors typically have minimal moving parts and no pockets to collect debris and water, which makes them safe and easy to clean and maintain. The original patent was for coal since it was used to safely vent air in remotely for various explosion-proof settings. Coal comes in a variety of sizes and easily breaks down into smaller, highly flammable particles. Air conveyors are designed to keep coal dust contained and not attract and accumulate dust. This means that they require much less frequent cleanings than belt conveyors moving coal would need. Maintenance is also greatly reduced on air conveyors versus conveyor belts, because the only bearings are on the blowers, which are typically located well outside the area where they would encounter dust and other small particles.
Air conveyors are also useful when transporting sharp or abrasive materials. Metal scrap and recycling centers are perfect applications for air conveyors because long ribbons of razor sharp metal can easily snag other types of conveying equipment.
In a transmission line or a scrubber, the compressed air technology replaces an electrically operated vacuum pump for venting purposes. Electrically operated vacuum pump requires maintenance and a more complicated configuration.
There are two options available depending on the nature of the gas that you want to vent:
A compressed air flow amplifier is very quiet and moves large quantities of air. It is an ideal solution when venting clean gas short distances because very little vacuum is required. The compressed air exits a small gap in the amplifier and goes over a series of ” Coandă ” angles converting air pressure to flow. This solution is ideal for venting fumes, dust, and grime. It is complex to manufacture and costs more. This unit requires more air pressure to operate.
An air operated conveyor uses a series of holes to blow the compressed air in one direction creating a vacuum to draw in and move the gas. The Venturi system has several holes, the number depending on the size of the unit, which pulls the air behind the unit creating a vacuum, drawing in any gasses and then pushes them away. It is an ideal solution for moving gas longer distances aided by the extra vacuum. An air operated conveyor is required when the gas is contaminated and there is a possibility that it could deposit material on the Coandă angles of an amplifier, which could stop the venting effect over time. Since the compressed air enters through a different vent, there is less opportunity for dirt deposits if the gas is contaminated. The air operated conveyor produces a higher vacuum but does not move as much air volume as an air amplifier. The Venturi system is a simple unit to manufacture and costs less. It requires less air pressure to operate. It is available in aluminum, stainless steel (standard), with special units made in Teflon, other plastics and metals.
Therefore, due to the design, cost of manufacture, and requires less air pressure to operate, the Venturi system is often the ideal solution for gas venting applications.
If a large amount of air borne dust or fumes need to be collected and moved a long distance, the air amplifier enhances the air conveyor ability to convey these materials over long distances. The reason is that air conveyors produces high vacuum but move less volume as compared to air amplifiers that move high volume but creates less vacuum.
The factors to consider are:
Accessories and Attachments
Nex Flow Advantages
Nex Flow air operated conveyor system are lightweight and use no electricity. The parts are readily installed and easy to use. There is a threaded version as well as clamp on, sanitary flanged units, and other flanged units (optional). They are portable and ideal for continuous and intermittent applications. Our system utilizes compressed air for a powerful, efficient venture action along the length in a compact design for high capacity conveying over long distances. Nex Flow’s products are made from material that is treated to ensure longevity in the product’s life cycle and designed for ease of use and provides simple control of material flow for maintenance free operation.
Our air conveyor systems are manufactured in anodized aluminum for most applications and in 304 Stainless Steel for high temperature and corrosive environments. 316L Stainless Steel air operated conveyors are available for food and pharmaceutical applications. An XSPC range conveyor is also available for moving materials that could clog.