Every three months, almost to the day.
Elbows were being worn away (and failing catastrophically) in three separate conveying systems at the plant: two of the systems transported grains (barley, soy bean meal, soy bean hulls) from storage areas to receiving tanks, where they would be processed further. The third problem area was the system moving “fines” (dust-sized food particles) back into the processing lines for recycling.
The line moving the fines took several 90-degree turns from the floor up toward the cyclone chamber. Breaches in the elbows would send clouds of grain and chaff into the air, forcing shutdowns and requiring additional maintenance costs to clean up the mess.
In an effort to get the upper hand on elbow-related production bottlenecks and maintenance costs, Pet Foods turned to the Smart Elbow deflection elbow from Hammertek. Eleven cast-iron Smart Elbow models were installed on the 3-, 4- and 5-inch diameter lines where failures and plugging were the most prevalent.
The results were astounding: the Pet Foods Division hasn’t experienced a single elbow failure since those Smart Elbow deflection elbows were installed more than five years ago. All 11 Smart Elbow products are still in service today, and production downtime due to elbow breaches remains non-existent.
The cost savings have been considerable:
- no more replacement elbows
- no more labor costs to replace or repair failing elbows
- not a single line shutdown due to plugging