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.
Even using long-radius sweep elbows, the abrasive nature of the product took its toll on the conveying system. The elbows wore out in a matter of two to four months, said L.E. Koehler, assistant plant manager. Plant downtime for elbow replacement was eating into profits.
“I had been reading about a new elbow design called the Smart Elbow deflection elbow,” Koehler said. “(HammerTek) guaranteed a minimum of three times the life of conventional elbows. So we put a test elbow in the system, replacing a long-radius elbow that had worn out within two months.”
After more than a year of service, the test elbow is showing no signs of wear.
Based on the test results, Rensselaer has upgraded its pneumatic system, replacing 12 conventional elbows with 12 Smart Elbow models in the 3- and 4-inch lines that carry materials between resin silos, compound silos, mixers and extruders. Additionally, the plant is replacing long-radius sweep elbows with Smart Elbow units as they wear out.
Wear performance is one of several areas where the Smart Elbow deflection elbow shines, Koehler said. The HammerTek product has also eliminated unwanted “angel hair” that formed in conventional elbows. There is no surging or plugging of lines with the new elbows. And the Smart Elbow produtcs eliminate the need for sweep elbows, allowing pneumatic lines to bend at 90 degrees and follow the contours of silos and buildings, greatly simplifying installation and upkeep.
To read the full case study, please visit the HammerTek website.