Q: Why should I invest in a dust-tight slide-gate or diverter valve?
A: Cory Downing, Vortex, says:
No matter what type of valve you're considering, certain applications require a valve that's dust-tight. Dust control has become more critical in many powder and bulk handling applications for three main reasons: 1) Safety hazards and environmental requirements, 2) maintenance costs, and 3) plant profitability.
Safety hazards and environmental requirements
Some typical hazardous locations are coal and carbon handling or processing plants, flour and feed mills, grain elevators, magnesium or aluminum processing plants, plastics production facilities, medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, and fireworks, starch or candies, sugar, cocoa, and spice-grinding production plants. Fugitive dust is created by finely pulverized materials. As the dust accumulates, it can form a dust cloud that can ignite, burn, and even explode. Additionally, processing plants have an obligation to abide by the applicable federal, state, and local environmental regulations to prevent environmental contamination and pollution.
Eventually all valves will start to leak material. At that point, valve maintenance will need to be performed. To reduce maintenance costs, you should select a valve that offers cleaning and maintenance-friendly features. Some manufacturers design valves with small slots in the body that let material slowly leak as an indicator that the valve needs maintenance. Other valves allow you to perform routine inspection or maintenance while the valve remains inline, which reduces downtime. When possible, choose a valve design that allows for seal replacement while the valve remains inline. Doing so will allow you to start production back up in minutes instead of hours.
Dust-tight valves are initially more expensive than other valves and require higher initial capital equipment expenditure. However, dust-tight valves tend to make up for the original cost difference in the long run. The valve's dust-tight design drastically reduces material leakage into the plant's atmosphere and directly affects a plant's bottom line as it reduces concerns about product waste and pollution.
Overall, choosing dust-tight valves for your dry bulk applications will reduce safety and environmental hazards, limit maintenance costs, and minimize downtime. With so many valve options available, consult with a supplier that has years of application experience and can help match you with the right valve for your specific powder and bulk process. Many dust-tight valves can be custom designed to meet your exact application needs and will often provide more effective results.
Vortex, Salina, KS, supplies slide gates, diverter valves, iris diaphragms, and loadout equipment for the dry bulk industries.