Time and again, the stainless steel elbows in the pneumatic conveying systems at the Pet Foods Division of Quaker Oats in Rockbridge, Ill., were wearing out prematurely — sometimes in less than three months.
Elbows were wearing through in three different systems: Two carry grains (barley, soy bean meal and soy bean hulls) from storage areas to receiving tanks; the third carries “fines” (dust-sized food particles) back into the process for recycling.
Pet Foods had been using long-radius elbows, which wore out very quickly and caused shutdowns which sent clouds of grain and chaff floating through the plant. This in turn caused added maintenance needs.
In an effort to reduce these problems three years ago, Pet Foods bought 11 cast iron Smart Elbow models from HammerTek and installed them on 3-, 4-, and 5-inch-diameter lines where their conventional stainless steel elbows were performing the most poorly. The problems were eliminated completely; since installation there has been no wear, no failures, and no plugging.
Bob DiCanio, Engineering and Maintenance Manager at Pet Foods, says he cannot think of a single problem since the Smart Elbow units were installed. Although he cannot place a dollar figure on the savings, he says pet Foods has saved a considerable amount of money due to the elimination of replacement elbows, plant shutdowns and associated labor costs.
To read the full case study, please visit the HammerTek website.