Rotary valves are the mainstays of airlocks for dust collection. They work well in most applications and can be designed to isolate a dust collector in an explosive application. However, the maintenance on them can be high. Since the rotary valve is a mechanical device, its bearings, gearbox, rotor all will require maintenance during its life. In order to perform the maintenance, the rotary valve needs to be removed from the dust collector and opened up. Often times this requires shutting down the system.
For non-explosive applications, Aerodyne offers the Vacu-Valve trickle valve. The Vacu-Valve uses the vacuum from the system to seal the Vacu-Valve sleeve. Material collected in the dust collector then builds up above the sleeve and slowly works its way through the sleeve. As long as the material is a fine, free-flowing material that won’t bridge, it works well. The heavier the material, the less material is required above the sleeve to push the material through. When the system is shut down, and the vacuum is turned off, the material above the valve will empty.
The Vacu-Valve maintenance is very easy; usually, the sleeve is the only piece that needs replacing. And this can be done within five minutes with the Vacu-Valve still installed on the hopper.