Aquarium Systems cuts maintenance in half with flexible screw conveyors

Mentor, Ohio — Aquarium Systems, a manufacturer of synthetic sea salts for hobbyists who keep salt water fish in home aquariums, had a unique problem: Several of the bulk ingredients used in making the salt caused it to stick and clog lines in conventional pneumatic conveyors.

The solution, according to Joseph Ruvolo, Production Manager, was to replace existing pneumatic conveyors with Flexicon flexible screw conveyors. The result: clogging eliminated; productivity enhanced; maintenance and cleaning are easier and takes far less time.

Pneumatic conveyors exposed material to moisture

"Previously, we loaded sodium chloride into the hopper by hand, but now we use a Flexicon flexible screw conveyor to convey the salt to a staging hopper above our blender. While one blend is being made, another load stands ready to drop into the blender. The flexibility of the Flexicon system allowed installation in the existing facility without moving blenders or hoppers," says Ruvolo.

"Magnesium chloride, another ingredient of sea salt, was conveyed using a rigid pneumatic conveyor. The problem was that magnesium chloride is hygroscopic: Moisture in the air used in the pneumatic conveyor was absorbed by the chemical, causing it to clump, so the lines would cake. We spent a great deal of time unclogging that line."

Flexicon conveyors keep bulk chemicals dry, eliminating seizing

Ruvolo replaced the rigid pneumatic conveyor with a Flexicon flexible screw conveyor, which uses a motor-driven spiral enclosed in a flexible tube.

"Because air is not used to transport material and the tube is totally enclosed, we could convey magnesium chloride without exposing it to moisture. This eliminated the problem of the chemical becoming moist and caking up the line."

"We remove the inner spiral and clean out the tube periodically, but far less. Having the Flexicon conveyor has cut maintenance time in half."

"Maintenance is easier too. At the end of the week, we are able to disconnect and remove the hopper for cleaning, as well as the flexible conveyor tube, enabling us to tie-up the spiral, and wash the entire area without obstruction."

A flexible solution

"We were initially intrigued by Flexicon's advertisements in magazines, and liked the idea of conveying in them as opposed to a rigid system."