Tag Archives: Skirt Boards

Martin Engineering: Air Cannons Mitigate Chute Plugging at Texas Cement Plant

New Braunfels, Texas –  A global innovator of bulk material handling technologies has used high-performance air cannons to help a cement plant prevent material backup due to a clogging transfer chute. With a total production of 2.3 million tons annually, the Hunter Cement Plant in New Braunfels, Texas — owned and operated by Martin Marietta — experiences heavy rain dousing raw material on its partially covered, tower-mounted D-07 conveyor system. Wet dust and aggregate would clog the chute and cause backups on the belt, leading to spillage issues that halted production and took 6-8 hours to clear. The solution employs a series of Martin® Hurricane Air Cannons strategically placed along the chute to improve material flow, minimize unscheduled downtime and reduce clean-up.

Limestone extracted from the Hunter quarry is crushed to a size of 6-inch minus (150mm) and mixed with clay, then conveyed to a processing tower. Separate conveyors deliver iron ore and sand to the same tower and the two chutes offload 350 to 400 tons (317.5 to 362.8 metric tons) per hour onto the D-07 conveyor, mixing them together on the 42 in. (1068 mm) single belt running at 350 FPM (1.8 MPS).

Two chutes offload up to 400 tons (362.8 metric tons) per hour onto the D-07 conveyor.
Two chutes offload up to 400 tons (362.8 metric tons)
per hour onto the D-07 conveyor.

The conveyor travels approximately 300 feet (91.4 m) to an adjacent tower and offloads into a pyramid-shaped funnel, which feeds a chute 12 foot-long (3.65 m), 3 ft. by 3 ft. (.91 m) square chute with a flow control gate at the bottom. The gate either diverts material to a conveyor leading to the raw mill or to a dump truck waiting on the ground below. Operators found that wet or damp material gradually formed into a rat hole and eventually created an obstruction, which led to the material back-up.

When the material flow began to choke off, two or three workers would gather around the railing at the top of the chute and use air lances and pneumatic jackhammers fitted with 8-foot long bits to clear the obstruction.

According to a management source, “The frequent unscheduled downtime to clear the rotary feeder chute was a challenge. We approached Martin Engineering to explore the possibility of adding air cannons that could help resolve the bottleneck issue.”

Air Cannon Placement for Proper Flow

Martin technicians installed a total of five 70-liter air cannons on two levels. The 94 lb. (43 kg) tanks are suspended from the tower frame by steel cords and are fed by the plant’s existing compressed air system. They fire a shot of air at up to 120 PSI (8.27 BAR) from a pressurized tank through a fan jet nozzle with a 12-inch (305 mm) wide mouth, which spreads the stream across the surface area of the wall. To clear obstructions and assure proper material flow, the cannon has an effective area of up to 22.6 ft3 (640 L).

Martin technicians installed five 70-liter air cannons on two levels, suspended by steel cords.
Martin technicians installed five 70-liter air cannons
on two levels, suspended by steel cords.

On the upper level, two of the cannons were placed along either side of the chute to dislodge accumulation from the wall, and a third unit was installed at the top to free any material that could get trapped where the chute narrows. One floor below, a cannon is directed at a downward angle to aid material flow, whereas the lowest unit on the chute specifically addresses the easily clogged diverter gate.

All fitted with a centrally located valve design, the tanks offer a direct air path with maximum force output and low air consumption. This efficiency reduces the burden on the compressor and shortens the lag time between sequences. The central valve is a detachable component that allows a single worker to disconnect it without the need to remove the tank, for faster and easier maintenance.

The central valve design delivers a direct air path, with maximum force output and low air consumption.
The central valve design delivers a direct air path,
with maximum force output and low air consumption.

A 10-bank positive solenoid control panel is connected to the facility’s programmable logic control (PLC) software, allowing operators to control and monitor the proper firing time and sequence from a remote location. To eliminate the risk of unintentional firing due to drops in pressure, the valve requires a positive signal from the solenoid in the form of an air pulse to trigger discharge.

Result

A few months after the installation, operators report that the air cannon solution has significantly decreased the plugging issues, resulting in continuous operation with minimal unscheduled downtime. Moreover, the area around the chute is reported to need only routine cleanup and maintenance accompanying normal scheduled inspections.

“Due to our long and positive relationship, we were confident that the Martin Engineering team was going to come through,” Martin Marietta management concluded. “The equipment has worked out well, and with the team’s consistently attentive service, we are confident that this is a good solution.”

Along with hundreds of air cannons, Martin Engineering has also equipped the Hunter Cement plant with conveyor accessories and bulk handling solutions. Founded in 1944 and headquartered in Neponset, IL — with divisions on 6 continents — the equipment designer and manufacturer is a world leader in flow aids and conveyor products for a wide variety of bulk material applications, including cement, coal, rock / aggregate, biomass, grain, pharmaceuticals, food and other materials. For more information, visit or call (309) 852-2384.

Important Product Selection Links:

Flow Aid Solutions

Air Cannons

Air Cannon Accessories

Sonic Horns

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Martin Engineering Videos on bulk-online

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Martin Engineering: Vibrating Subfloor Prevents Buildup In Conveyor Discharge Chutes

Neponset, IL, USA –  Martin Engineering, a global leader in bulk material handling, offers an innovative solution that prevents carryback released by secondary conveyor belt cleaners from sticking to the rear slope of the discharge chute. If left to build up, material can encapsulate secondary cleaners and deposit harmful carryback onto the return side of the belt, fouling idlers and pulleys.

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Martin Engineering: New Power Generation Solutions Business Unit for Cleaning Pollution Control Systems

Neponset, IL, USAMartin Engineering, a worldwide leader in bulk material handling technology, has announced the formation of a new global business unit, which will focus specifically on the powerhouse, and products designed to clean the boiler and all air pollution control components, SCR reactors, heat exchangers, economizers, bag houses, ductwork, ID fans and electrostatic precipitators.

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Martin Engineering Announces EAC Certification for Conveyor Products & Material Flow Aids

Moscow, Russia – A global leader in bulk material handling solutions has gained the EAC Mark of Conformity (aka, Eurasian Conformity Mark) for the export of conveyor products and material flow aids, including the company’s full line of impact cradles, belt cleaners, sealing systems, air cannons and sonic horns.

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BENETECH MaxZone XN Liner

The MaxZone XN Externally Adjusted, Internal Wearliner.
The protective liner is placed in the conventional position inside the skirtboard while the adjusting mechanism is accessible from the outside. External access means there is never a need to enter chute to remove liner or make adjustments.

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ASGCO Corporate Overview

ASGCO® “Complete Conveyor Solutions” headquartered in Allentown, PA is a leading manufacturer of proprietary bulk conveyor components and accessories that enhance material flow performance.

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Jim Way Belt Cleaners

Jim Way Primary Belt Cleaner: C1UD (Patented Product)

The interface of two colors, which is a wear line, obviously indicates when the blade should be replaced. In addition, with the arc-shaped back side, the blades remove carryback effectively and without any residue to maintain the good scraping performance. The blade-to-belt pressure should is checked on the inspection window of tensioner.

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Martin Engineering Smart Series Jet Nozzle Installation

Eliminate the time and cost of cutting holes and breaking refractory to replace worn out nozzles.

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Martin Engineering – Super Heavy-Duty Conveyor Belt Cleaners for Severe Operating Conditions

Neponset, IL, USA – A family of primary conveyor belt cleaners has been engineered for the world’s fastest, most heavily-loaded belts, with industrial-strength construction that delivers effective cleaning, minimal maintenance and long service life, even under punishing conditions.

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Blast From The Past: Durt, The Movie – by Martin Engineering

In 1983, Dick Stahura Sr., Todd Swinderman and Mike Lindbeck worked together to create a 20-minute video that explained the causes and effects of spillage: dust and dirt that escape from conveyor systems – which Dick Sr. dubbed “durt” – and how Martin products can provide a solution.

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