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Pneumatic/Vacuum Conveyors

BEUMER pipe conveyors for efficiency in mining



BEUMER Group supplied two Pipe Conveyors with very high conveying capacities to transport iron ore from port to steel manufacturer.

An economical solution was required for transporting large quantities of iron ore from the Chinese port of Langshan to the plant of steel manufacturer Shandong Steel Group & Rizhao Steel Group. The general contractor Shandong Harbour Engineering awarded BEUMER Group with the installation of additional efficient Pipe Conveyors. Project implementation took around eight months. In only four months, the system provider installed the mechanics of the systems with a total conveying length of approx. 6.6 kilometres and a conveying capacity of 5,500 tons per hour.

Shandong is an eastern Chinese region on the Yellow Sea. More people live here than in Germany and Austria combined, while the area of Shandong is only about half the size of Germany. Its name translates to “East of the mountains” and refers to the Taihang mountain range, east of which lies this coastal province, strategically located between the Chinese economic metropolises Beijing and Shanghai. Another advantage is its access to the Yellow River: the region has a dense network of waterways and several important trade and transhipment ports. The steel manufacturer Shandong Steel Group & Rizhao Steel Group is also headquartered here.

For its manufacturing, the company requires large quantities of iron ore which is delivered to the port of Langshan. In order to transport the material to the plant, the company previously relied on a closed Pipe Conveyor, but the capacity was gradually exhausted and was no longer able to handle the transport volume. The managers were looking for an economical solution and approached the Shandong Harbour Engineering Group. The engineering service provider was commissioned as general contractor to create the infrastructure. Now the question was: Should the plant use a well-developed expansive railway and road network or invest in a conveyor system solution?

Shandong Harbour Engineering Group turned to BEUMER Group. The system provider develops conveying solutions for a variety of bulk materials – for example open troughed belt conveyors or closed Pipe Conveyors. BEUMER engineers were also involved in the system, which is already in operation.

Pipe Conveyors – does it pay off?

“Of course, we had to prove that this investment was worthwhile”, says Zhengwei Zhang, project manager at BEUMER Machinery (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. “In advance, we performed an economic evaluation.” This included a feasibility study, an investment calculation, the project schedule and a cost-benefit analysis. Different variables are required to compare the costs of Pipe Conveyors with those of trucks or trains, for example the transport costs per ton, the material volume that needs to be moved within a set period of time, and also the specific investment costs and the tax depreciation plan. “More costs are added for the construction and the supply of the conveyor as well as for the mechanical and electrical installation”, explains Zhengwei Zhang. Complex construction work is also often necessary. The initial investment in a conveying system is usually very high, but the operational costs of a Pipe Conveyor can be considerably lower depending on the application. Important factors include the estimated cost of a ton of material to be moved or, in the case of vehicles, the number of round trips per hour. “Our Pipe Conveyors lead directly to the destination and we can immediately adapt it to the corresponding site structure,” explains Zhengwei Zhang. A significant advantage of BEUMER technology is that it enables horizontal and vertical curves.

Depending on the characteristics of the conveyed material as well as of the system’s geometry, it is possible to implement vertical curves with angles of inclination up to 30 degrees and horizontal curves with a deflection angle of up to 90 degrees. This ability to navigate curves reduces the number of supports and replaces the transfer towers, which results in substantial cost savings for the customer. The system transports the iron ore safely enclosed across various terrains such as roads, residential areas or rivers. During the projection phase of the system, BEUMER technicians use proprietary calculation software to determine the static and dynamic loads – loads, which do not only affect the belt but the steel structure frame as a whole. This is a prerequisite for safe and correct dimensioning of the structures.

Ecological and economical

BEUMER Group provides their belt conveyors with environmentally safe electric drives and low-energy belts. Therefore, especially in these times of climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emissions they are considered a more sustainable option. The motors used are usually adjustable, which permits the loads to be optimally distributed on the drive units under various operating conditions. The closed design of this conveying system also protects the environment from falling transported goods. Another advantage is the elimination of dust development on the running line. This is important because the section between the port and the plant leads through public roads and residential areas.

“Our evaluation of the various transport options enabled us to consider the total costs per ton over time”, says Zhengwei Zhang. “With this application, the Pipe Conveyor will pay for itself quickly, and the system is more environmentally friendly than truck transport.”

Optimally tailored conveying solution

“Together with the managers in Shandong, BEUMER engineers developed a solution that is optimally tailored to their requirements. The system supplier delivered a conveying system consisting of two Pipe Conveyors. The overall length is approx. 6.6 km, the diameter 500 mm. At a speed of 5.15 m/s, the systems operating together convey up to 5,500 tons of material per hour considerably supporting the already existing conveying solution. In addition, a transfer tower is used.

BEUMER Group was responsible for the overall project, which included the design of the system and the entire steel structure. The completely enclosed conveying system ensures an environmentally safe, dust-free and low-energy transport of the iron ore. The system provider started the installation in September 2018 and commissioning took place only four months later. The complete project implementation took only eight months. “We are very satisfied with BEUMER Group’s single-source solution and the handling of the project”, states Liu Qiang, executive director and general manager at Rizhao Port Shipbuilding & Machinery Industry Co.,Ltd, Shandong Harbour Engineering Group. “The two Pipe Conveyors allow us to work in a more economical way and we are optimally prepared for future capacity expansions at our plant.”

Pneumatic/Vacuum Conveyors

The main challenge and Schenck Process Solutions to handle alternative fuels flexibly



The main challenge

The main challenge that cement producers face is the way they lower their carbon footprint economically, as well as improve their contributions towards sustainability by adopting alternative fuels. But, fort his,,  they ideally need to be capable of productively and accurately handling mixed fuels. Addressing this issue, Schenck Process have engineered a dynamic feeder especially for the cement industry – the MultiFlex NG Feeder.

Alternative fuel materials used in the production of cement, can come in a wide variety of thicknesses, shapes, coarseness and types. Materials may vary from household waste, dried sewage sludge and derivative fuels, through to organic waste and tyre chips. Having a feeder that is capable of flexibly adapting to process materials with these variabilities, without causing unnecessary maintenance and downtime, is the main challenge.

Schenck Process have therefore designed the MultiFlex NG Feeder with a number of features that makes processing mixed fuels – efficient, precise, consistent and cost effective.

Initially to control the filling, an advanced weighing system allows automatic calibration. Continuous calibration of the combined weighing system has been engineered into the MultiFlex Feeder, to yield long term accuracy of +/- 1%. This leads to less system wear from varying materials, longer life performance and lower energy consumption.

For ensuring accurate and proper filling of the screws, the material inlet of the screw trough is weighed. This also also enables control of speed. Material bridges in the hopper are detected and activating agitators maintain correct feeding of the trough. This occurs only when necessary, for high energy efficiency and system lifespan as the main challenge.

The screw trough is weighed prior to material discharge, thereby controlling the mass flow of material, relative to the speed of the conveying screws. Synchronising sensors continuously adjust the phase of each conveying screw, to prevent material bundling when feeding variable materials and to maintain a smooth flow. For small feedrates, single or double screws, allow for a wide control range.

Other features of the MultiFlex NG include ATEX and reduced explosion design, as well as robust construction for maximum wear protection.

Ultimately, cement producers are under more pressure than ever to ecologically improve their production processes. Using a variety of alternative fuels to do so, demands both efficiency and stability. The flexible design of the MultiFlex NG Feeder from Schenck Process, not only allows for high accuracy and consistent feeding of many materials, but also increases the operational lifespan of the system.

Supporting the ethos of enabling a greener future, the MultiFlex NG since its launch of March 2021, has turned approximately 2.6 million tonnes of plastic into energy. While, every hour it helps save the environment from 500 tonnes of plastic. All these are ecological benefits that cement producers can also reap from and pass on.

Souce: Schenck Process

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Pneumatic/Vacuum Conveyors

PNEUMATI-CON Dilute Phase Pneumatic Conveying Systems



PNEUMATI-CON from Flexicon, dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems, range from single-point “up-and-in” installations to cross-plant systems with multiple pick-up and discharge points and automated controls, satisfying an exceptionally wide range of bulk conveying applications. All are custom-engineered and fully integrated with other Flexicon equipment and systems, and new or existing processes.

PNEUMATI-CON dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems move bulk materials that are suspended in an air stream that is introduced by a positive pressure blower upstream of material intake points, or by a vacuum pump that removes air from the system downstream of material discharge points. Material is separated from the conveying air at the use point, then discharged on a batch basis via butterfly or slide gate valves, or continuously via rotary airlock valves.

Easy conveyor line routing

Since conveyor lines can be routed vertically and in any horizontal direction, over short or long distances, through small holes in walls or ceilings, Flexicon PNEUMATI-CON systems are easy to integrate into production environments in which process equipment and other obstacles often exist, while consuming minimal floor space.

Diversity of products handled by one conveyor

Powders having wide ranging bulk densities, as well as flakes, pellets, capsules, tablets and other friable materials, can be handled by a single Flexicon pneumatic conveyor, providing the flexibility needed to transport multiple ingredients.

Total evacuation

PNEUMATI-CON systems fully evacuate the vessel being discharged and the conveyor line itself, minimizing cross-contamination of multi-ingredient systems. Complete transfer of material also ensures that individual and consolidated batch ingredients reach their destinations accurately by weight, maximizing quality while minimizing waste.

Wide capacity range

With a PNEUMATI-CON conveyor, capacity can range from several pounds to tens of tons per hour, feeding any destination from small packaging lines to silos and railcars. Moreover, excessive fluctuations in the feed rate (resulting in overloading or underloading) will not damage the system.

Enclosed system prevents contamination

Totally enclosed and dust-free, a PNEUMATI-CON conveying system prevents contamination of the product and plant environment, allowing safe transfer of contamination-sensitive materials including dusty and hazardous products.

High reliability and ease of maintenance

Flexicon PNEUMATI-CON systems feature easy-to-maintain filter receivers with access doors and inspection ports, as well as rotary airlock valves with optional rotor support bars for easy access, cleaning and inspection.

Mobile and custom configurations

Self-contained Flexicon PNEUMATI-CON conveying systems complete with feed hopper and/or pick-up wand, blower unit, filter receiver and control package, are available pre-engineered and configured on caster-mounted frames for in-plant mobility.

Designed, constructed and finished to industrial and sanitary standards

PNEUMATI-CON conveying systems are available in carbon steel with durable industrial finishes, or stainless steel finished to standards required for industrial, food, dairy and pharmaceutical applications. Available upgrades include quick-access and quick-disconnect fitments.

System Types

Positive pressure systems

Positive pressure dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems are typically employed to convey bulk materials from a single source to one or multiple destinations, over longer distances and with greater capacity than possible using vacuum systems.

These systems utilize a positive displacement blower with single or multiple downstream material entry points, each of which meters product into conveying lines by means of a rotary airlock valve that maintains the pressure differential between the ambient atmosphere and that of the conveying line. Material and air blown through the line exit at single or multiple use points where they are separated by means of a filter receiver or cyclone separator, or fed directly into process vessels that are vented to downstream dust collection devices.

Pressure systems offer higher efficiency than vacuum systems, can convey over longer distances, and can blow directly into process and storage vessels without the use of a rotary airlock valve.

Vacuum systems

Vacuum dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems are generally employed for transporting material from multiple sources such as storage vessels, process equipment, trucks and railcars, to individual or multiple destinations. Unlike positive pressure systems, vacuum systems allow easy pick-up of materials from open containers using wands, and do not impart heat to the material. Since vacuum systems offer superior leak containment, they are often specified on the basis of cleanliness, particularly when handling hazardous materials.

Negative pressure is created by a positive displacement vacuum pump located at the downstream end of the system. Material typically enters the system via upstream rotary airlock valves, hand-held pick-up wands, and non-flow-through/flood-feed pick-up adapters, and exits the system through filter receivers or cyclone separators that separate the material from the conveying air directly above process equipment, inlet hoppers, storage vessels or other discharge points.

In addition, vacuum conveying is suited to direct feeding of blenders, reactors and other enclosed process vessels that are put under vacuum by a line terminating at a downstream bag house or other dust collection device, eliminating the need for individual filter receivers or cyclone separators above each discharge point.

A complete range of pneumatic system components

Flexicon provides any and all components necessary to configure your PNEUMATI-CON system including:

  • Flex-tube diverters, wye-diverters, plug diverters and other line diverter configurations
  • Rotary airlock valves in all popular designs and sizes
  • Filter receivers for low- to high-capacity applications
  • Cyclone separators for low- to high-capacity applications
  • Gain-in-weight and loss-of-weight batching systems
  • Dust collectors and bin vents
  • Controls and electrical equipment
  • Hand-held pick-up wands
  • Silos, day bins and other storage vessels



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