n many processing facilities, thegrinding or milling of products is akey element in the process. However,transportation and conveying are often anafterthought to the design and implemen-tation of the production process. Manytimes, conveying is added or altereddue to increased production capacity,or changes in the production process.Whatever the reason, often the planningof conveyor selection and design doesn’treceive the consideration it deserves,thereby making it a ripe target for manyof the problems that a processing facilitywith a focus on milling can face.
In January 2013, society saw a focus oncontrolling the risk of explosions within ham-mer mills, with much of the risk associatedwith these dangerous dust explosions beingplaced directly on the shoulders of the proc-ess that creates the dust in the first place:bucket elevators and pneumatic conveyingsystems.
A balancing game
These systems produce dust as a result of their daily operation, thus, when using bucketelevators or pneumatic systems, decreasing the risk of dust explosions now requiresadditional technology and sensors, as wellas safety personnel and dedicated cleanupstaff. These advances in technology and the increase in regulations, codesand standards have increased thesafety in plants and have reduced theoccurrence of dust explosions; but onebig problem still exists: they do notaddress the underlying issueof dust. These meansof conveying inher-ently generatedust, and withoutfirst addressing this issue, prevent-ing the risk of dustexplosions will alwaysbe played as a game of ‘catch-up’.Dust control playsa critical part in theconveying puzzle. If a transport system is notspecifically designed toprevent the prolifera- tion of explosive dust, the processing facility must play a dangerousbalancing game betweenfunding additional tech-nology and addinglabor force.Cuttingcor-ners oneither,andyou willrisk dangerousexplosions that candamage machinery and,most importantly, your workforce.System explosions pose
by John Eiting, sales engineer, Modern ProcessEquipment Corporation, United States
Figure 1Figure 2
feed mnG tenooGy32 | march - pril 2013