The patented BFM Flexible Connector created by Blair McPheat has beaten large international companies to take the annual Australian Bulk Handling Award for Innovative Technology.
BFM Global was also runner up in the Dust Control Technology, Application or Practice category won jointly by DuPont Australia and Anglo Coal Australia.
Bulk handlers process dry or dusty powders used in food and pharmaceutical production, as well as aggregates and smelting industries – anywhere there may be “dust.”
Flexible connectors are usually made from flexible fabric or rubber and reduce the vibrations of processing plant linked to stationary machinery and compensate for variation in ducting or pipe work.
Until now connecting sleeves have been secured by sometimes quite large hose clips or clamps, whose resistance is affected by pressure. Clamps are prone to leakage raising issues of product contamination and safety. Replacement can incur valuable machinery downtime.
Blair McPheat’s solution is the world’s first “snap in” flexible connector that doesn’t need hose clips. An internal “snap seal” on the BFM connector guarantees a 100% dust-tight seal, preventing dust loss from connector into processing plants. It also eliminates the traditional ledge or crevasse where dust was previously trapped under a hose clip system.
Whereas a standard hose clip would have blown off under increasing pressure, the BFM seals tighter as pressure increases. Any explosions are released through designated vents and not the connector, increasing safety for operators.
McPheat has created standardised sizes in a range of high temperature, breathable, washable, pH resistant, and other materials.
Unlike clamps which required tools, and in larger installations, several installers working in cramped conditions, the BFM Flexible connectors can simply be “snapped in” by one installer.
Since their launch, companies world-wide have begun retro-fitting their connections with BFM Flexible Connectors. Blair McPheat says while companies said they couldn’t completely close down plant to weld on new spigots into which the connectors “snap,” once a BFM replaces their most troublesome connectors, time is invariably made to convert entire plants.
In New Zealand, BFM Connectors are distributed by Filtercorp International of which McPheat is also a director. BFM Global has distributors world-wide.
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