Troubleshooting pneumatic conveying systems
A pneumatic conveying system's capacity or throughput is usually the most important factor in measuring the success of an installation. In varying degrees, noise, spillage, material carryover, component life, reliability, and contamination are also contributing factors. Capacity, however, is the most common and perhaps the most sensitive element. This article focuses on troubleshooting capacity- related problems. Its scope is limited to the common dilute system or saltated flow system. Dense- phase systems are not addressed here because many of their different design techniques are vendor specific; each dense- phase system is unique enough to require its own troubleshooting guidelines.
Before starting up a new system, certain pressure drop and flow measurements should be made. The most effective troubleshooting is usually accomplished with the aid of reliable pre-start-up measurements. If conveying problems occur later, this data can be an invaluable reference. Preparations for these measurements should be made during the design and installation stages by prudently placing pressure taps [1/4-inch couplings are usually sufficient] at key locations.