The US vacuum technology company, Piab, has been working on the development of new vacuum conveyors for the food industry.
The development work is based on technology employed in the company's vacuum conveyor, C33. It was the first vacuum conveyor to satisfy the requirements of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The new conveyors, available in varying sizes, are developed to meet the same criteria and is approved by the USDA.
Piab reports that further development of vacuum conveyor systems will aim to satisfy the needs of companies within the foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals sectors for transport of powders and granulate. The new conveyors will deliver a maximum capacity of over five tonnes per hour.
"Because all integral components fulfil the USDA requirements, the systems automatically fulfil the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines", said Ellinor Björk, product manager at Piab.
The conveyors, which are of modular construction, can be adapted according to specific requirements. They are manufactured using ASTM 316L, a special grade of steel used in the foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. The filter in the conveyors can trap particles as small as 0.5 mm, and where necessary the conveyor can also be equipped with an HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter.
According to the company, the conveyors are designed so that they are easy to install and easy to disassemble for cleaning. Because there are few moving parts in the conveyors, they require minimal maintenance, few replacement parts and are guaranteed for five years.
Vacuum transport affords dust-free transport of materials because it is carried out in a closed system. The heart of the system is a quiet pneumatic vacuum pump. When the first conveyor was introduced two years ago, the company reported that its design improved capacity by 25 per cent without affecting energy consumption.
"Pneumatic technology enables intermittent operation of the vacuum pump, which saves energy", said Björk. "Moreover, unlike electrical vacuum pumps, pneumatic vacuum pumps do not produce any heat".
The new conveyors have diameters of 21 cm and 56 cm and supplement the previous 33 cm diameter design.