Will the visitor record of 16,000 for the previous event be broken this year? There is no reason why it should not be like that with regard to the focus topics of Powtech 2017. And the challenges of the bulk solid process industry are unabatedly high. Containment, traceability and, of course, digitalization demand new ideas and technologies.
Around half of all products in the chemical industry come as powders, in particles or granulates, the processing of which often has its pitfalls. Although the theoretical behaviour of bulk solids is understood to a certain degree, in practice, however, it frequently occurs that it is simply not calculable. For example, the bulk solid is flooding instead of free flowing; forms arches; or filling will be successful three times, but in the fourth batch the material suddenly comes to a standstill.
But not only the particle properties make life hard for users. It’s also a fact that these change during a process. So, for handling bulk solids, the history must always be considered. For example, this is the case when powders and granulates are stored. “In unadjusted silo design, bulk solids can change and are no longer capable of being filled“, describes Dr. Harald Heinrici, official expert and CEO of Schwedes+Schulze, a specialist for silo design, bulk solids handling and powder testing.
Since a long time, Heinrici advocates that the silo is no longer only considered for material storage. One must look at the overall system, because there are also many challenges in the follow-up process, which do not cause any problems at first sight, but which have enormous consequences later — in particular, from the viewpoint of product quality. Among these is an uneven mass flow, which can disturb the entire process, because a continuous mixer is directly connected after the silo.
Another problem, in particular from the viewpoint of quality assurance, is demixing in the process. “Just to take the feed industry: the feed consists of highly complex product compositions, which must be strictly complied with. Or mortar compositions, which are generally high-tech products. And last not least detergents, in which each expects a consistent mixing of white and colored particles in the end packaging”, Heinrici states some examples. The particular challenge in this case is that these products are good flowing — a product property, which forces mixing. To find the right way, the silo and all relevant components must be well-matched with one another.
Six Halls Full of Technology
It is thus only logical that many visitors find the way to Nuremberg to be informed about different systems, apparatuses and components for the mechanical process technology. The range extends over six halls (hall 1, 2, 3, 3A, 4 and 4A), which is flanked by a comprehensive accompanying program.
For example, the daily live displays of explosion protection equipment in the outdoor areas at the trade fair will also offer a number of “lightbulb” moments. A special show by industry association VDMA will deal with the topic of maintaining air quality and drying, and will present efficient solutions for dust-free, clean-air and therefore safe production environments.
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