Roy Marin, staff engineer at the facility, needed to replace a worn-out automatic diverter that switched its rail car unload line from one storage silo to another. This diverter had been a source of maintenance and housekeeping problems, and Marin wanted to replace it with a new piping panel. The trick was getting the new piping to fit into the confined space the diverter once occupied; the conventional solution, a piping manifold using 4-foot-radius sweep elbows, just wouldn’t be small enough.
Marin had heard of HammerTek’s Smart Elbow deflection elbow and became intrigued with the idea of incorporating them into his new manifold. From the information he had acquired, it seemed the Smart Elbow unit would fit the space requirement and, due to its rotating-ball design, would minimize damage to the barley hulls that were being conveyed.
The revolutionary Smart Elbow design forms a slowly rotating ball of conveyed material is formed within a nearly spherical pocket at the bend of the elbow. This ball of rotating material, which is suspended in air, creates its own impact zone and the material flowing through the elbow is deflected around the bend. Very little material strikes the elbow walls, reducing wear to the elbow itself. And because the Smart Elbow deflection elbow conveys material through the entire cross section of the elbow — not just along the outer edges as sweep elbows do — the Smart Elbow product establishes vastly improved flow control at no increase in pressure drop, eliminating plugging and surging. The Smart Elbow design has been granted worldwide patents.
Marin moved forward with the idea, which resulted in the installation of 12 six-inch diameter, 95-foot-long steel pipes with Smart Elbow deflection elbows at each base. Construction and installation was simpler and less time-consuming than estimated — mainly because the simpler design saved a substantial amount of costly crane time — and as a result the project was finished several days early and under budget.
Two years after installation, all 12 Smart Elbow units were going strong and had presented no problems whatsoever. A spare Smart Elbow deflection elbow that was purchased for the panel installation was recently used to replace a conventional sweep elbow that continually wore through upstream in the unload line, and that one also has provided 100-percent reliability.
To read the full case study, please visit the HammerTek website.