A Beginner’s Guide to Pneumatic Conveying Systems for Flour

Flour is a major food ingredient that many people rely on. Because of its dietary importance, flour also requires special care when being transported.

Pneumatic conveying systems work especially well for flour and in this blog, we’ll answer the following questions in regard to the specialized process:

Overview of the Flour Industry

Flour is the source of energy and is the main basic food material all over the world. The USA industrial revolution started with milling, production, packaging, and distribution of flour in Minnesota early 19th century

The flour industry consists of two main categories: flour producers and flour manufacturers. 

Flour-producing operations involve procuring, storing, sorting of raw material grain, milling, screening to produce flour, and distributing in tankers or consumer packages. (50lb bags or 2000lb super sacks)

Food manufacturing handles flour as one of the ingredients in their product manufacture.

Examples include pizza, baked goods, and biscuit producers. Predominantly wheat flour is referred to as flour, but sometimes flour is also used as a generic name based on the basic grain from which the flour is produced (eg. Rice Flour, Cornflour, etc.)

Pneu-Con has been involved in supplying pneumatic conveying systems for flour transport systems in all parts of flour producing and utilizing industries. 

How does a Pneumatic Conveying System Work? 

What is Pneumatic Conveying? Pneumatic Conveying is the transport of bulk solids in a pipe by a positive or negative air stream. As explained in the video from SolimarMN below:

Pneumatic Conveying requires a pressure differential to cause air movement, air mass at velocity to move material mass at a velocity that overcomes frictional forces, and kinetic energy transfer from gas to solid.

Flour handling by pneumatic conveying requires the usage of the correct technology to avoid substantial losses of both product and equipment investment. 

Proof of suitable conveying technology cannot be obtained from a simple transfer of a sample through a test facility conveying circuit. 

Correct attention must be given to material velocity and the type of flour used.

Moreover, careful attention must be given to conveying air humidity and temperature. 

An experienced systems provider such as Pneu Con who has appropriate experience in this specialized application area will correctly address both of these critical points.

What Types of Pneumatic Conveying Systems are used for Flour?

There are many types of pneumatic conveying systems for flour. 

For example, pressure or vacuum, dilute and dense phase, application-based batching operations (eg. customers need 500 lb batches of flour at a time to add to a dough mixer), packaging operations (we feed packaging machines the fill bags and are then resold), and conveying system with recipe management (batches of different ingredients are transported to mixer make the desired recipe).

In essence, anytime a customer needs to move flour a pneumatic conveying system can be used. 

It’s important to note that flour-like any other food/dairy/agricultural product is considered as a combustible dust explosion hazard and equipment design should incorporate the applicable OSHA guidelines/ the relevant NFPA standards (NFPA 61, 68,69 & 652) 

What are the Advantages of Pneumatic Systems?

There are numerous advantages of utilizing pneumatic systems for flour. These include standard customized design specially suited for flour, zero interface problems, easy to clean, low maintenance, optimum control concepts, and leveraging the experienced engineering team.  

The manufacturing process involves dosing a specific amount of flour to a liquid mixer and preparing an Industry-specific recipe.

Food production is one of the largest, most diverse, and critical industries in the world. 

Pneu-Con has supplied many pneumatic conveying, dosing, and weigh batching systems to these industry segments, as well as sanitary food-grade pneumatic conveying equipment for flour.

Contact us today to start moving your flour in a way that is sanitary and reliable. 

BV Sarma

Director of Technical Services
BV Sarma is the Director of Technical Services at Pneumatic Conveying and has over 25 years of experience in the industry. BV's expertise lies within the product lifecycle and engineering custom solutions that meet organizational goals from vision to launch. He is a chemical engineer and also served as a technical committee member on NFPA Combustible Dust Standards 61, 68 & 69.