Simple use of Gravity Helps Energy Costs

Whether we like to admit it or not, the rapid advances in automation technology which have shown to be a major benefit to industrial businesses have come with one notable negative.

Almost always, new technologies tend to consume large amounts of energy. Despite the best efforts behind new developments to more cleverly conserve power such as electricity, it is a fact that automation demands more power than the manual or manual-mechanical it has replaced.

Materials handling systems that use large amounts of ducting have traditionally been guilty of high energy consumption, especially electricity, which is used to create a pneumatic pressure to enact the conveying.

But air quality and ducting specialist Optiflow turned to the most basic of allies to begin the alleviation of this potentially costly problem.

This ally is ‘gravity’. Its new Optiflow technology has gone back to basics and the engineers have worked out that pneumatic power is unnecessary in large sections of a ducting system and has configured Optiflow to use gravity as a major force in shifting product — much of this waste product — through a ducting system.

"Any industry ranging from those doing fibrous food processing, paper and cardboard trimming, wood processing that creates chips and powders, general powder handling or any small solids and dusts really has a smarter way now to handle process flow without going broke paying for power," said Eximo Sales and Marketing Manager for the Asia-Pacific, Mr Morris Short.

"The simple act of letting product drop through the force of gravity onto a moving conveyor requires infinitely less power than a pressurised automatic system.

"This is a logical development in the materials handling game and is very much a case of engineering going back to basics to achieve an even better outcome than complicated technologies can achieve."

Integrated with an overall pressure-driven extraction system, the Optiflow is a unique concept built especially for dust extraction and transportation.

It creates a negative pressure chamber across an entire factory or processing plant to eliminate the total static pressure of the whole system by as much as 50%.

Thus it provides a power consumption advantage as it is proportionate to the total static pressure.

After waste material is suctioned by each intake point, everything except the finest dusts is directed to the Optiflow chamber. This chamber is an enclosed, low pressure area that uses a moving conveyor on its floor.

This waste material – the majority of what is collected at intake points – lands on this moving conveyor and is directed straight to collection bins, cutters, shredders or compactors, without even going to filters.

Built from strong 2mm galvanised ducting material with a low speed conveyor within, the entire Optiflow unit is not just strong and robust but also very low on required maintenance.

In simple terms Eximo has invented a ‘vacuum conveyor’ system that utilises low pressure for operating advantage and energy savings.

Because the flow rate is very low inside the Optiflow, any dust, paper, grain, fines or coarse particles produced does not even reach the filter in the first place.

It is the focal point of a complete extraction system that essentially handles the larger bits and pieces by dropping these particulates onto a conveyor within a low pressure chamber.

It all but eliminates the potential for clogging and downtime, the need for cutters to refine large waste, does away with complicated separating, and it adds to the overall profits on the company balance sheet.

“Every application of Optiflow saves a minimum of 50% in power costs,” said Mr Short.

“Even in the event of a pressure drop anywhere in the Optiflow system, a signal is sent to the system’s frequency inverter to optimise the pressure; therefore even more than 50% is readily saved.

“Optiflow can be configured indoors or outdoors, suspended from ceiling structures, or positioned on pylons – it all depends on the individual requirement and footprint.

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