Monday, October 9, 2017

Prevent Bulk Material Flash Freezing in Hoppers and Chutes

FRP heating panel
Heaters in stalled on a chute.
A phenomena know as “flash freezing” occurs when aggregate material with trace amounts of absorbed water comes into contact with very cold metal surfaces, resulting in the aggregate instantaneously freezing.  The frozen material then instantly bonds to steel chutes or hoppers (which are at sub-freezing temperatures) causing an immediate, and possibly catastrophic, block in the hopper or chute.

Once this occurs, the cure is often a jack-hammer or other type of brute force method to clear the obstruction It's common for any coal mine, quarry, cement manufacturer, mining facility, or power plant to have a sledge or jack hammer on call for just this purpose. A far better approach is to prevent  sand, cement, ores, and mined products from freezing in the first place. 

The best solution are electric FRP heating panels. FRP heating panels are waterproof, dust tight, and vibration resistant electric heater panels that mount to the exterior walls of the hoppers and chutes. 
Specially designed for use in high shock and high vibration applications, their robust construction and corrosion resistance provides long life. 

FRP heating panel
Multiple heaters on a round hopper.
Because these atmospheres are normally dusty, and occasionally ignitable,  FRP panels are available with FM approval for use in hazardous areas. Furthermore, because hoppers, ducts, and chutes come in a never-ending variety of sizes and shapes, FPR panels are easily customized to conform in shapes and size to virtually application. 

If you work in a plant or facility where bulk material absorbs ambient moisture, and the possibility of freezing exists, you should learn more about FRP heating panels and their benefits they provide in reducing downtime, and more efficient operations.