Powders are used in many applications and must often be transferred for further processing with a method of moving the material. Transferring powders can be a complex process depending on the type of powder and application, with some powders being toxic or flammable. The safe handling of these powders in all applications is of the utmost importance. Even powders that are not toxic or flammable can cause worker health issues if airborne dust particles escape into the atmosphere causing respiratory issues or other health or safety concerns.
Many processes use manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic transferring systems, depending on the type of powder and the application.
Manual Powder Transfer Systems
Manual powder transfer systems are just that, with manual labor required to fill powder into a hopper and rotate a handle to engage an auger, and transfer powder through a funnel into a container.
Semi-Automatic Powder Transfer Systems
Semi-automatic powder transfer systems are well-suited for dispensing small granules and tiny powders in certain applications. Semi-automatic transfer systems can provide low-cost and easy operation and some powder transfer applications. These still run the risk, however, of powder escaping into the atmosphere and causing worker health or safety issues.
Automatic Powder Transfer Systems
Automatic powder transfer systems like powder transfer pumps are ideal for large production requirements and meet the needs of transferring a variety of powder types. Automatic, closed-loop powder pump systems are ideal for handling and transferring toxic powders. Powder transfer pumps are compact and provide solutions to a wide range of industries and applications.
Powder Transfer Pumping Applications
Many industrial processes require the use of powders in their production or manufacturing applications. Some of the most common industries and applications that utilize powders for processing include:
- Plastic manufacturing – a variety of types of powders are used in plastics manufacturing as many plastics and colorants come in pellet and powder form prior to molding.
- Chemical manufacturing – various powders are used in the chemical processing industry as mixers and additives used in chemical manufacturing.
- Pharmaceutical industry – powder transfer pumps provide many benefits to pharmaceutical industry applications with automatic powder transfer and filling of medicinal powders, tablets, manufacturing capsules, and dosage formulations.
- Food industry – there are countless applications within the food industry where powder transfer processes are required. Examples include spices, instant juice powders, coffee, proteins, flavorings, seasonings, sweets and bakery items, corn flour, milk powder, additives, and more. Powder transfer pumps provide solutions to the food industry with reliable and safe handling of powder products.
- Beverages and breweries – many beverage processing applications including breweries, require powder transfer processes.
- Cosmetic industry applications – the cosmetics industry requires the transfer of a variety of powder types, including foundation powders and talcum powders.
- Agricultural industry applications – many fertilizers and pesticides come in powder form and must be transferred for agricultural applications.
These are some of the most common industries and applications where powder transfer processes are required. The type of powder to be transferred is an important consideration and will determine the flow rate and conveyance distance. Not all powders can be transferred with a powder transfer pump. Powder transfer pumps are ideal to transfer powders that can become fluidized within the pump.
Common Transferable Powders
Some of the most common powders that can be transferred successfully include:
- Quartz powder, aluminum oxide, various pesticides, and fire extinguishing powder
- Silicones, fumed silica, expanded mica, acrylic resins, powdered plastics, talc, and toners
- Clay powder, pigments and powdered rock, micro dolomite filter dust, Diatomaceous earth
- Salicylic acid, Pyrogenic and precipitated silicic acid, pharmaceuticals, and powdered cosmetics
- Instant powders, serial flowers, starch, powdered celery, onion, and soups
- Baking powder, powdered sugar, tea, cocoa, and flour
- Insulation coating materials, toners, Kaolin, powdered bronze, and fillers
- Carbon black, activated carbon, pearlite and powder coatings, 3D printing powders
These are some of the most common types of powders used in powder transfer applications. Not all powders can be transferred with a powder transfer pump. Speaking with a pump and process equipment specialist will help you better understand your options for your powder transfer application. There are many advantages to using an air-operated diaphragm (AODD) pump for powder transfer applications, such as improving safety, product quality, and process efficiency.
Illinois Process Equipment, IPE, is a pump and process equipment specialist conveniently located in the Midwest and serving a variety of industries and market applications. We offer quality pumps and comprehensive services, including full process equipment system design, installation, testing, and service. Contact us to learn more and to improve your powder transfer application.