Today’s process industries utilize powders for a variety of purposes. While many processes use similar activities to turn raw materials into finished products, the complexity of handling and transferring powders has earned this material category a particular reputation among process engineers and others involved in the design and operation of material-transfer systems.
It Is Critical to Properly Handle Powder Materials
The requirements for the proper handling of powder materials are critical in process manufacturing, whether handling active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or plastic manufacturing materials, and can differ based on the unique processing requirements. In every powder transfer process, it is critical to efficiently contain fine powders, granules, tablets, or particles. Combustible dust on the ground from oxidizable dust, metal, organic, or vegetable materials can become airborne and cause an explosion.
The mishandling or escape of dust and fine particles from these materials can lead to potentially deadly explosions, worker health issues, or excessive expense of product waste.
Powder Transfer System Design Objectives
Keeping workers safe and containing all virgin materials is a central design objective of powder transfer systems. Processes that require the transfer of bulk powders from containers or drums must meet worker safety and environmental requirements. Regulated manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies must meet protocol requirements as part of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA.
Air-Operated Diaphragm Pumps for Powder Transfer Processes
Air-operated diaphragm, AODD, pumps, specially designed for powder transfer systems, provide a closed solution to consistently and effectively transfer dry, fine, and low-bulk powders safely and economically with dust-free operation. Another benefit of AODD pumps is the low noise level compared to electrical pumps. Choosing an AODD closed powder transfer pumping solution improves worker safety and provides additional benefits of improved product quality and process efficiency. AODD powder pumps are designed specifically for the effective transfer of bulk solids and fine powders and eliminate unsafe, labor-intensive practices of heavy lifting and physically moving materials.
Powder transfer pumps provide a dust-free, safe environment and efficient work process and are a cost-effective replacement for mechanical conveyors, pneumatic conveying systems, screw feeders and powder augers. The powder material must be fine-grained, low bulk density, completely dry, and free-flowing to operate efficiently. The powder becomes fluidized in the pump, and powders that cannot be fluidized cannot be transferred.
The transfer rate depends on the powder characteristics, including the bulk density, size, weight, and type of powder. Typical powders that can be successfully transferred with a powder transfer pump include activated carbon, carbon black, talc, powder coatings, powdered plastics, fumed silica, toners, powdered plastics, and pigments. Speaking with an experienced pump and process equipment provider will help companies determine the ability to pump certain types of powders.
IwakiAir AODD Powder Transfer Pumps
IwakiAir AODD pumps provide solutions to effectively siphon and transfer dry, low bulk, very fine powders safely and effectively, promoting a dust-free, clean and safe work environment. IwakiAir AODD powder transfer pumps are simple and compact in a reciprocating positive displacement, pneumatic, and non-electrical design. You can learn more about the IwakiAir AODD pump and powder transfer pumping solutions from the most trusted Midwest pump supplier, Illinois Process Equipment, IPE.
IPE offers the full Iwaki Air product pump line and provides assistance in choosing the best pump to meet your material transfer requirements. We provide complete process equipment system services, including full system design, installation, testing, and service. Contact us to learn more about powder transfer applications and IwakiAir AODD pumps.