Improved Bulk Handling by Efficient Energy Monitoring

Bulk handling refers to the process of handling and transporting large quantities of loose materials such as powders, granules, and pellets. This type of handling is often required in industries such as agriculture, mining, construction, and manufacturing, where large amounts of raw materials or finished products need to be moved from one place to another.  The bulk handling process typically involves several stages, including receiving, storage, processing, and transportation. It requires specialized equipment such as conveyors, hoppers, storage silos, and pneumatic conveying systems to effectively manage the movement and storage of bulk materials. The main objective of bulk handling is to efficiently and safely handle the materials with minimal damage and spillage, while ensuring that the quality and integrity of the material is maintained throughout the process. There are two methods for bulk handling gas based – pneumatic or electricity based – electromagnetic.

Bulk handling by pneumatic vibrator (PV) refers to a method of conveying and handling bulk materials using air pressure. In this process, air is used to create pressure differentials that cause the bulk material to move, typically through a pipeline or hose. The pneumatic vibration method of bulk handling is commonly used in applications where the material is fine or dusty and may not be suitable for handling with traditional mechanical methods. The use of air pressure helps to prevent material degradation and reduces the risk of dust emissions, making it an attractive solution for many industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. There are several types of pneumatic conveying systems, including positive pressure, negative pressure, and dense phase systems. Likewise, in bulk handling by electromagnetic vibration electromagnets are used to generate oscillating magnetic fields that cause the material to move. The material can be lifted, vibrated, or moved along a surface, depending on the design of the system. Electromagnetic vibration (EMV) is often used in applications where the material is not free-flowing or may tend to clog or block conventional conveyors such as sticky substates. The vibratory action of the electromagnets can help to prevent clogging and improve material flow. The choice of electromagnetic vibration method depends on factors such as the type and size of material, the required flow rate, and the distance the material needs to be transported. Electromagnetic vibration systems can be designed to be either contact or non-contact, with the latter being more suitable for fragile or delicate materials. While electromagnetic vibration is a relatively new method of bulk handling, it has been shown to be effective in a variety of applications, particularly for handling fine and delicate materials. Figure 1. Shows both the systems.

Figure 1. Pneumatic vibrators and control panels & Electromagnetic vibrators and control panels
Figure 2. A watt meter

The choice of system depends on factors such as the size and type of material, the distance it needs to be transported, and the required flow rate. Both these methods need but it does require specialized equipment and a well-designed system to ensure that the material is handled safely and effectively. Besides the methodology used for bulk handling, monitoring of energy consumptions is critical for any industrial process such as food processing, pharmaceutical, mining. Here we show bulk handling and energy monitoring is possible using a same system.

The complete system consists of a dedicated control panel supplying the electricity to the EMV or the air flow to the pneumatic vibrator. By incorporating an energy meter one can measure the various fundamental parameters such as current, voltage, power consumption. These in turn are then used to calculate the total power consumption, the total cost, and the corresponding carbon dioxide emissions. Such meters are mounted in-line in the control panels monitoring the instrument under review, and they can transmit the information remotely (via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) to the plant operators. Such dynamic transfer of information is critical for the plant managers in making quick decisions for the proper functioning of the plant. Figure 2. Shows such a watt meter.

The application of the watt meter in conjunction with the EMV is shown in Figure 3 below. In various plants require EMV’s for dislodging the material in the hoppers. Typically, the hopper has multiple EMV attached to its side as shown in the figure. Traditionally, one applies the same amount of current to the individual EMV’s. The current generated vibrations or oscillations which in turn facilitate in dislodging the material. However, by judiciously placing the EMV’s at the top and the middle section’s of the hopper, one can run the top two EMV’s at higher current (more vibrations) and the bottom two EMV at lower current (low vibrations). In such a configuration, the material will be dislodged by the top EMV’s, and the bottom ones will need less vibrations for an uninterrupted flow. By controlling the ON/OFF timings of the vibrators, one can also switch them in the desired configuration for optimum flow of current.

Figure 3. The application of the watt meter in conjunction with EMV

The individual currents in the EMV’s are monitored by the energy meter as shown in the snapshot to the right.  This image shows various critical parameters of  the EMV’s such as –soft start feature,  OFF/ON TIME, constant current and the minimal back electromotive force (EMF).  All these features indicate that there is a synchronized power pulse (SPP) is supplied to the hopper which enables a controlled avalanche discharge (CAD) of materials. Figure 4. An actual example of such a unit.

Figure 4. Example of Installation of EMV with control panel (Products exported to Edison power Co in Japan)

For the plant user and manager, the availability of such information is critical by optimizing the ON/OFF Times, currents in individual EMV’s the parameters for optimal throughput can be established and then recorded daily. Furthermore, the individual state of the EMV’s i.e. is the current constant is stable and weather the back EMF is minimal can also be monitored. In summary, such a combined system is very useful in the daily monitoring of energy needed for any industry. Besides single phase systems, energy meters can be used to monitor the requirements for three phase systems such as pumps, water motors, unbalanced trough also.

APS Technology provides such solutions to bulk handling industries.

For more Information Contact us at