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Sugar conveying systems

Transporting sugar poses constant logistical challenges. In the past, many businesses have used mechanical conveying systems to do this. However, because of safety concerns and major accidents in the past, pneumatic conveying systems are now increasingly popular as a safe alternative that offers many benefits.

Why is sugar a potential hazard? Because, while it may just be a sweet treat for consumers, for its producers and processors, it is a combustible material that has to be moved with great care. To do that effectively and efficiently, you need a sugar conveying system you can always depend on. 

Efficient sugar conveying

sugar, pneumatic conveying material

Pneumatic conveying system is the ideal solution for safely and reliably moving your sugar. Pneumatic conveying is the process of using compressed air to move bulk materials through pipelines or hoses from Point A to Point B. With the right system, it is an extremely efficient way to cover distances from a few to hundreds of meters as it will help you to avoid blockages, high energy bills and reduce loading and unloading times to a minimum. A correctly sized blower or compressor is key in achieving an efficient conveying process.

Safety & quality 

But efficiency is only part of the equation – safety is at least as important. Refined sugar can create an explosive environment. That is why the regulatory agencies of various countries have placed sugar manufacturing and refining facilities in the high-risk category. Because it is combustible, it has to be handled with care and in a controlled environment.

Combustion risks

When choosing the sugar conveying system that is right for you, make sure that all relevant equipment, such as air blowers and compressors, have the proper certifications to ensure it protects your system from explosion.

On top of a certified blower or compressor, you may also need an aftercooler, which ensures that your sugar is transported at perfectly safe temperatures. The correct air temperature to convey sugar will depend on a few factors, but in most cases the air temperature should not exceed 40°C. Some compressors have integrated aftercoolers while others do not, in which case you need a standalone model.

If you decide to use a water-cooled aftercooler, it may also be necessary to add a chiller. It lowers the water temperature to a manageable and constant level to ensure that the aftercooler can do its job.

Preserve the quality of your sugar while conveying

As a food, sugar is subject to stringent hygiene regulations and you should make sure that the conveying equipment you invest in meets these standards. In addition to the aforementioned aftercoolers, you should also consider a water separator that removes moisture from the compressed air. This should help maintain the quality of your sugar as it is transported from one place to another. And, because the sugar moves through a closed pipeline, it is optimally protected from contaminants.

When sugar is conveyed, the compressed air comes into direct contact with the material. To preserve the quality of the sugar you’re conveying, it is also important to only use oil-free blowers, compressors and other equipment to ensure that there is no oil contamination. Therefore, it is not sufficient to settle for “technically oil-free" products or blowers or compressors where the oil has to be filtered out. Class 0 certified equipment ensures you the highest level of air purity can be achieved.

Fluidization in sugar silos

When conveying sugar from a silo, compressed air can also be used for the so-called “fluidization” process. Here, very low-pressure air is injected at the bottom side walls of the silo. This ensures that the sugar does not stick to the sides of the silo and makes it easier to convey, which reduces energy costs. While fluidization is considered a type of pneumatic conveying, only a very low pressure is required. The lower the pressure, the lower the heat of the air. That is why you often don’t need any ancillaries (such as an aftercool and water separator or dryer) for your fluidization compressed air system. However, since you’re dealing with a material used for food production, international quality standards have set certain norms that do require you to cool and remove the moisture from the compressed air. Even when you’re using a very low pressure to fluidize the material.

Need help optimizing your sugar conveying system?

Not sure how to replace your old compressed air system with a new one? Let us help you. The right size of installation is crucial: not only does it help you save on energy costs, it also shortens unloading times and helps you avoid blockages. Calculating the right size of installation is difficult and requires specific software and skills. We can help you find the optimal dilute phase pneumatic powder conveying system by offering you a free sizing calculation.

Checklist for sugar conveying

  • Correctly sized air blower or compressor
    • Class 0 certified
    • Certified for operation with combustible materials
  • Aftercooler to cool the air
  • Water separator or dryer to remove moisture from the air