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In conventional pneumatic conveying systems, materials impact the elbow wall at high speed to change direction. As a result, abrasive materials can wear through the elbow wall, fragile materials can break apart, and heat-sensitive materials can build-up and clog the elbow. When plastic pellets impact and heat the elbow wall, they often melt, forming streamers, angel hair and snakeskins.

A simple maintenance step to prevent these problems is to replace conventional sweep elbows, ceramic-backed elbows and plugged-tee elbows with deflection elbows that prevent material from impacting the elbow wall.

Deflection elbows, also known as vortex elbows, employ a spherical chamber that protrudes partially beyond the desired 90° or 45° pathway, causing a ball of material suspended in air to rotate. Since the ball of material rotates in the same direction as the airstream that powers it, incoming material is cushioned by the ball’s rotation, and is gently deflected around the bend. As a result, elbow wear, material degradation, and melting/plugging problems are virtually eliminated.

Pneumatic conveying: you love it. No other conveying option comes close to moving large volumes of materials over long distances, completely and quickly. Whether in dense phase or dilute phase, pneumatic conveying tends to blow most other options away, both literally and figuratively.

So what’s the downside? Well, unless you have the rare system that runs in a straight line from intake to outlet, there will be a bend–usually multiple bends, in the convey line. The speed at which the material moves through these bends (a.k.a. elbows) generates friction that can reduce certain pelletized materials into fine streamers. These “angel hairs” sound innocent enough until you begin to add up the cost of cleaning them out of the convey line and the resultant high volume of unusable raw materials.

Even more likely to occur (especially if your material is even the least bit abrasive) is the elbow “blowing out” as a result of the high speed material striking its inside wall. This can be anything from a tiny pinprick hole, to a complete failure of the elbow. If there is a Murphy’s Law of pneumatic conveying, it probably states that the messier the material, or the harder to reach the elbow , or the more extreme the weather conditions of the surrounding environment, or the closer the proximity of an EPA agent to your site, the worse the blowout will be.

Why not make 2020 the year you end these aggravations by installing HammerTek’s SMART ELBOW® Deflection elbow into your pneumatic convey line? The Smart Elbow’s unique design features a spherical chamber that protrudes partially beyond the convey line, causing a ball of material suspended in air to rotate. Since the ball of material rotates in the same direction as the airstream that powers it, incoming material is cushioned by the ball’s rotation, and is gently deflected around the bend.

By preventing impact with the elbow wall, the Smart Elbow virtually eliminates costly elbow wear, material degradation, melting and plugging. Why not give yourself a happy and trouble free pneumatic conveying year? Contact HammerTek today and arrange for your FREE trial!

Below is a chart comparing various types of elbow designs and how they perform against specific elbow-related problems in a pneumatic conveying system. Each elbow is rated by various categories including degradation, noise levels, downtime and costs. They can range on a scale of excellent to poor in relation to how that specific elbow performs in each situation. 1171

If two products look to be nearly the same, either in appearance or in function, most people will select the less costly option. “That other product was too expensive,” is a common refrain among decision makers, post-purchase. Selecting the less costly option can seem beneficial at the time, but when purchasing plant 1229

HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbow

Generally, in a conveying system, the air in the center of the pipe moves faster than the air traveling closer to the pipe walls. This even, transitional flow helps to create an insulation around the wall of the pipe, reducing impact, noise and the generation of heat. Turbulence in the piping disrupts 1178

SMART ELBOW Deflection Elbow

For many plants, efficiency is key for having a profitable facility and system that runs smoothly. A lot of times when shipments come in, the pace of getting material off the truck or rail car can be slow. This is commonly due to waiting for the system to take all the material and transferring it to the convey line. 1177

HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbow

In a pneumatic conveying system, fines, streamers, snake skins and angel hair are common issues associated with the transferring of plastic pellets.  This damage to conveyed material typically creates problems within the system.

When heat-sensitive pellets enter the conveying system, they begin moving at a rapid rate. 1106

HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbow

Earlier this year, Powder and Bulk Engineering’s PBE-News’ Ask an Expert feature addressed options to mitigate erosion in pneumatic conveying lines.  Ray Cocco from Particulate Solid Research Inc. mentions various methods of reducing erosion.  One suggested method is replacing the type of elbow used in the system. 1101

HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbow

Blowouts aren’t just costly due to lost productivity and extensive cleanup; they often carry substantial health risks and safety concerns from spilled material and environmental conditions.

This was certainly the case with the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority (UOSA). 958

The tight-radius Smart Elbow deflection elbow provides a controlled flow, which is especially advantageous when conveying dusty materials such as cement or fly ash.

Robert Ober & Associates is a specialty design/build firm that serves an international client base for bulk material handling projects that range from $25,000 retrofit contracts to $25-million turnkey plant projects. The company’s early focus on pneumatic material handling for concrete plants has grown to include a wide range of material handling, weigh batching, and powder blending systems in mining, grain, fertilizer, food, fly ash, plastics, 927

A common sight at RheTech before the HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbows were installed was an attempt at patching with ceramic tiles and duct tape.

Five years after we did a case study on the 120 HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbows installed at RheTech, Inc., we checked in with them to find out how the elbows were holding up. RheTech is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of proprietary thermoplastic 922

Smart Elbow(R)Deflection Elbows

Your conveyor system is your company’s lifeline. Anything — make that everything — you can do to keep it performing at peak capacity will carry through to your bottom line. There is nothing “routine” about routine maintenance. When your system is down for any reason, 919

A company that produces pipe was having some troubles of its own before the HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbow solved its problem.

Rensselaer Plastics Co. of Rensselaer, Ind., produces PVC piping products for the plumbing trade, with annual sales in the $40 million range. One process at the plant uses a pneumatic conveying system to transfer resin and pellets from storage hoppers to pipe extruders, and therein lay the plant’s Achilles Heel.

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British Columbia Sawmill
The pulp and paper industry is no stranger to the problems that result from the demands that wood chips and dust put on conveying systems. That’s why when a engineers at a British Columbian sawmill designed their new pneumatic conveying system, they were sure to specify a manufacturing elbow that could withstand the abrasive nature of cedar by-products without plugging. For the full case study, click here.

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The compact design of the Smart Elbow deflection elbows saves space-the twelve 6" elbows shown here occupy the same space as a large desktop. They may also be rotated on their flanges for greater design flexibility and installation ease.

HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbows can offer benefits beyond solving manufacturing problems. When Miller Brewing Company needed a space-saving design solution, they found the elbows solved their predicament and saved them money in the process.
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This 90-degree Smart Elbow deflection elbow from HammerTek, Bethlehem, Pa., diverts the pebble lime in the pneumatic conveying line into a silo for storage. The sharp turn that had tormented many different types of elbows has not been a concern for the Smart Elbow deflection elbow, nor for facility management.

When the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority (UOSA) experienced a blowout, it caused not only costly and time-consuming downtime and cleanup, but also health risks and safety concerns. Thanks to the HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbow, the wastewater treatment plant hasn’t had an elbow failure again since installation. Click here to read the full case study.
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Smart Elbow® deflection elbow has solved the problem of frequent plug-ups in pipes conveying abrasive material.

The HammerTek Smart Elbow® deflection elbows reduce the costly headaches of manufacturing plug-ups. Learn how we solved this problem for Fiberglas Canada by reading the full case study here.
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Since June 1997, not a single Smart Elbow deflection elbow has worn out or been replaced at RheTech.

RheTech, Inc. was all too familiar with worn out elbows in their plant.

When Gary Wright, Director of Plant Engineering, had one of the HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbows they had installed a year earlier pulled to check for wear and tear, he assumed it would require considerable repair, if not replacement. “After one year in service, we could still see the casting marks,” said Wright. “By now, we would have been through four or five sweep elbows and 12 rolls of duct tape.” He added, “We’re impressed.”

Five years later, we checked back with RheTech to see how the Smart Elbow units were holding up. None of the 170 Smart Elbow deflection elbows installed had worn out or been replaced since the installation six years earlier. Click here to read the full case study. 895

Abrasive materials can wreak havoc on conveying systems and Carbo Ceramics’ application is a perfect example. To read the full case study, click here.

The Eufaula, Ala.-based manufacturer was performing weekly repairs on the worn elbows of its ceramic bead plant. The company replaced all 12 elbows in their system with HammerTek® Smart Elbow® deflection elbow technology. The Smart Elbow units have lasted at least four years compared to the one- or two-week lifespan of their previous elbows. 892

Smart Elbow deflection elbow

The cast aluminum line of Smart Elbow® deflection elbows from HammerTek® is now offered in tube and pipe sizes from 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) up to 12 inch (30.5 cm) in diameter. Suitable for dilute-phase and dense-phase pneumatic conveying systems, the deflection elbows eliminate problems associated with material impacting conventional elbows at high speed including: abrasive wear, breakage of friable materials, plugging of heat-sensitive materials and generation of fines, plastic streamers, snake skins and angel hair.

The elbows feature a spherical chamber that protrudes partially beyond the desired 90° or 45° pathway, which causes a ball of material suspended in air to rotate, gently deflecting incoming material around the bend without impacting the elbow wall or generating heat. 785