AMT Leads the Industry with Innovative, Simple Air Conveyor Designs
When considering production line updates, many plant managers may experience sticker shock when assessing options for implementing a modern air conveyor system. While the upfront costs may be higher than expected, it is important to consider the savings that accrue over years - and even decades - of operation.
AMT has been driving the science of air conveyance since 1996, and our innovations have not only resulted in more reliable and capable designs, but also more efficient and simplified methods of moving products with air.
To understand how we’ve been able to create more efficient solutions, it’s important to be aware of the difference between laminar and turbulent airflow.
Turbulent airflow is chaotic, with eddy currents arising from air molecules colliding and pushing each other in random directions. Within an air conveyor plenum, local pressure and air velocity can vary at any point, creating inconsistent drive that requires more blowers to keep the air moving in the desired direction.
Laminar airflow, by contrast, is consistent and predictable. Pressure, speed and direction in a laminar-flowing fluid is the same everywhere. When a fluid moves in this fashion, it’s easier to sustain consistent, predictable drive.
Reducing turbulence and creating laminar flow depends on several critical design factors.
- Plenum cross-section. When air is forced through a smaller space, it tends to create eddy currents and turbulence which can be hard to manage without introducing more blowers and increasing blower speed. AMT uses large 10” x 14” plenums in our Deck Air and Neck Ring Air Conveyor designs in order to keep air velocity low enough to support smooth, near-laminar airflow.
- Internal structures. Unlike competing brands, AMT conveyors are designed so that there are no bolts, rivets, or other structural elements inside the plenum. These structures tend to disrupt airflow simply by being in the way. As air runs into these obstructions, it must move around them, and this in turn impacts the air stream at other points. By keeping the internal walls of the plenum smooth and featureless, a more laminar flow can be achieved.
- Louvre design. In an air conveyor, louvres are the holes which allow air to move from inside the plenum to the drive surface on which products move. Some louvre designs can contribute to internal turbulence as air leaves the plenum, creating a local vacuum that pulls internal flow out of its laminar pattern. Too much air leaving the plenum can also increase demand for more blowers to maintain internal pressure.
AMT addresses these issues with specially engineered louvres which minimize the impact on internal airflow, allowing for a more laminar internal flow. We’ve also put significant research and development into louvre arrangement on the conveyor line to arrive at a single row of louvres, resulting in less energy consumption and decreased potential for turbulence.
Our design actually relies on static pressure, not actual moving air, to create drive. An interesting consequence is that products actually move in the opposite direction of internal plenum airflow!
Less Blowers, More Benefits
By focusing on ideal internal plenum airflow, we are able to produce the most energy efficient air conveyors available, with a power requirement of just 0.05 horsepower per foot. It also means lower power requirements, reduced CO2 emissions, and as much as a 75% reduction in the cost of operation. On average, our clients end up saving $6,500 per year by replacing existing lines with new AMT Air Conveyors.
Comparison for an average 400’ air conveyor line.
Efficiency of operation is just the beginning of the benefits that come with our simplified designs. AMT conveyors are built to run continuously with minimal maintenance, keeping productivity up. Our plenums stay cleaner because there’s nowhere for dirt and dust to accumulate. And tool-free access makes regular maintenance quick and easy to perform, reducing your manpower needs.
Your Partner for Long-Term Success
While the costs of installing a state-of-the-art air conveyor system may seem daunting, the efficiency and energy savings offered by AMT will save you money, time, and stress over the long run. We’re here to help you determine the best solution for your business. Contact us to learn more about how we can bring your production facility up to speed!