Air Cannons – Cement
Move over old-timer, new technology coming through!
Air Cannons have been used for years to solve blockage and buildup issues within coolers, feed shelves, preheater towers, cyclones, burner pipes, screens, and catalysts among others. Clinker, snowman, Christmas trees, and rhino horns can be easily shifted with a sudden blast of air. The design for releasing this powerful blast has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction in the early 1970s. Until now!
IGS has blasted into this market in 2011 with the goal to introduce new and improved cleaning. The IGS Big Blue Air cannons have become the new norm with fit-for-purpose innovative designs addressing the needs for better cleaning solutions by effectively removing blockage and buildup.
Cleaning has Never Been so Easy!
Why has the Industry Switched to IGS Big Blue Air Cannons?
MORE EFFECTIVE AND POWERFUL
IGS Big Blue Air Cannon design maximizes energy and yields the greatest cleaning force in the Industry today, blasting away the buildup and blockage. Let the Power of Blue work for you!
REMOTE MOUNTING CAPABILITIES
Why install air cannons where your maintenance team can’t perform their job or in hot environments, leading to poor reliability. Protect your maintenance crew and your air cannon! IGS is the Industry leader in designing systems that eliminate these issues. Remote mounting equals greater reliability.
RELIABILITY AND EASE OF MAINTENANCE
Simple piston assembly offers a more robust design with less moving parts that resist corrosion and wear better than traditional systems, resulting in greater reliability and reduction in maintenance costs. Eliminate the springs which cause frequent failure. Use standard off-the-shelf replacement parts instead of being held hostage for replacement parts from the OEM. Lower the costs with IGS off-the-shelf air cannon replacement parts.
REVOLUTIONARY NOZZLE DESIGN
IGS offers a wide range of air cannon nozzle designs engineered for their specific application. Nozzles that improve the cleaning force to nozzles designed to reduce the number of air cannons required to perform the cleaning job.
Adjustable force air cannon delivers the cleaning force that maximizes cleaning results. The combination and control of peak force, the air volume, and discharge time results in far better cleaning.
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A Comprehensive Overview of the History, Operation, and Application of Air Cannon Technology
Cleaning Energy Determined by the Type of Air Cannon Blast
The effectiveness of a blast from an air cannon is determined by many factors. Location, orientation, and type of nozzle applied to the cannon are instrumental in the success of an air cannon installation. The type of blast from the cannon also affects its ability to effectively remove any buildup, blockage and clinker.
There are two main types of air cannon blasts or discharges, a Pusher, and a Blaster. Both are effective in the correct application, but the key to success is applying the correct blast style to the type of material being moved and the desired results.
The Myth – High Peak Force Air Cannons Move More Material
Air cannon companies have long touted the superiority of their cannons based on “peak force”. This is the initial power of the blast of the air cannon. The theory has been more power means more material moved. This has led companies to move to high peak force cannons but much smaller volumes of air applied. A high peak force is beneficial when the buildup to be blasted is very hard. The blast can break and shatter the hard blockage causing it to crumble and be blasted away. The Blaster cannon does not work well with all materials though. The high peak force will penetrate completely through many materials only leaving a hole and not removing any buildup.
The Reality – Larger Volume of Air Delivers More Mass
A pusher type cannon blast literally shoves the material out of the way. Like a push broom! This can oftentimes be accomplished with a lower peak force while using a larger volume of air with each blast. As long as the blast force exceeds the cohesive force bonding the buildup together or to the surface, the blast will remove the buildup. In addition, the blast time is longer, allowing it to penetrate further. The larger volume of air delivers more mass, creating more energy to affect the material. Oftentimes, the cleaning results delivered by the Pusher Air Cannon exceed that of a Blaster Air Cannon.
Blaster vs Pusher
The principle of operation remains the same: fill the air tank and area behind the piston with air and have a greater surface area on the piston side to seal the air tank, quickly release the air on the piston side and fire the air cannon. What has changed in the air cannon work is the method of achieving good cleaning. In the early 90s, when the air cannon market was experiencing rapid growth in the cement industry, the focus was on velocity and volume, not peak force. IGS refers to cannons like these as the Pushers.
Now, the Peak force is the driving sales force. Buy this air cannon because it cleans better because of greater peak force. The focus is on peak force and smaller volume air tanks. IGS calls this type of air cannon as a Blaster.
The traditional IGS Big Blue Single discharge air cannon is 150 L versus traditional 70 L air cannons. This air cannon is both a Blaster and a Pusher.
Traditional Air Cannon versus the Multiplier
Traditional air cannons from all manufacturers consist of a single air receiver tank with a firing/piston assembly to control the blast of compressed air. The firing assembly may be externally attached to the tank or, more recently, internal to the tank. Either way, the air cannon has always been mounted to a nozzle or pipe which had been installed in the location where material buildup needed to be removed.
The Myth – Air Cannons Must be Mounted Directly to the Blast Nozzle
Traditional air cannons requiring to be mounted directly to the blast nozzle have always presented numerous problems for the plant.
- The air cannon is mounted very close to the process resulting in extreme heat and material from the process impacting the cannon. These are the major contributors to any company’s air cannons failing.
- Mounting the cannon this close to extreme heat makes it very difficult, at times impossible, to perform any maintenance duties to keep the cannon operating.
- Oftentimes, the nozzles and cannons are mounted very high on a silo or structure. Performing maintenance on these cannons requires expensive scaffolding. Quite often no work is done to keep these cannons working. It is also very difficult for the plant to determine if these cannons are even functioning.
- Many applications require mounting numerous air cannons close together, one for each nozzle. This restricts or prohibits the ability of plant personnel to perform other required duties in this area. If more cannons are needed in the future it is very difficult to add any in these situations.
The Reality – One Single Air Cannon Replaces Multiple Single Traditional Air Cannons
These and other limitations have just been the accepted problems with utilizing traditional air cannons for years.
The new IGS Multiplier minimizes or eliminates these “Standard Air Cannon” drawbacks. IGS applies one single air cannon to a Multiplier system that replaces multiple single traditional air cannons offering many benefits over traditional air cannon installation.
The Super Cannon has the capability to deliver greater cleaning energy than the Standard Air cannon. This increased energy leads to improved cleaning.
- The system is mounted remotely from the blast nozzles to allow easy access for maintenance. This is very important to ensure the proper and on-going operation of the cannon.
- Remote mounting is safer for plant personnel to perform maintenance work. It is also much cheaper because no scaffolding is required if the nozzles are mounted very high.
- The ports on the Super Cannon keep the cannon internal firing assembly protected from the heat and material of the process greatly adding to the life of the air cannon.
- There is only 1 cannon to maintain no matter how many blast ports there are on the system. This is a big saving in maintenance dollars.
- The Super Cannon allows for easy addition of more blast ports if they are needed in the future. This is much cheaper than purchasing additional traditional cannons.
- Access for plant personnel to conduct other required activities in the area is much greater without multiple standard air cannons mounted in close proximity.
Remote Mounting Capabilities
Remote mounting of traditional air cannons has long been discouraged by air cannon companies. The thinking was the air cannon blast would lose its effectiveness over a length of pipe connecting to the nozzle. IGS has overcome this antiquated way of thinking by creating greater force and using a larger volume of air which maintains the blast power even through lengthy pipe runs. This, combined with innovative nozzle technology and application experience, has proven that mounting the air cannon in accessible locations is not only possible, but the way air cannons will be applied in the future.
IGS High-Velocity Nozzle Vs Standard Fan Jet Nozzle
A fan jet nozzle forces the air cannon gas into a wide sheet of air, cleaning a short wide area. These nozzles are perfectly suitable for applications with light flaky buildup, however, they can not handle the dense and sticky blockage, like the snowman and clinker, which is far more common in industrial applications.
IGS High-Velocity Nozzle concentrates the blast into a tightly packed ball, significantly increasing its velocity. Kinetic energy and momentum are the most important variables for cleaning performance and both variables are positively correlated with velocity. Kinetic energy is defined as ½ Mass x Velocity2. Momentum is defined as Mass x Velocity. Doubling velocity yields a four-fold increase of Kinetic Energy and a two-fold increase of the Momentum. As a result, IGS nozzles can greatly improve the performance of an air cannon in industrial applications, rapidly removing blockage and buildup.
Watch the video comparing IGS High Velocity Nozzle to a standard fan jet nozzle.
Retrofits, Air Cannon Upgrades, and Nozzle Replacements
IGS made several improvements to the internals of traditional air cannons. The construction can be upgraded to coated carbon steel from aluminum. IGS’s experience with aluminum in some applications is that the material is too soft to withstand the pounding (requires a spring cushion) and does not resist corrosion well. The elimination of the spring is a major step in the reduction of air cannon failures.
Often, in these air cannons, the bearings which are pressed into the cannon casting become damaged and are extremely difficult to replace. The IGS solution is the use of standard hard chrome tubing which is part of the IGS backplate. The backplate can be unbolted and removed. This honed and chrome tubing is used in tens of thousands of air cylinders each year and provides a smoother surface that allows better and more reliable operation.
IGS also offers an upgrade to traditional air cannons. This includes the addition of an air cylinder, providing better control of the pounding action of the air cannon, and extends maintenance intervals. In addition, the air cylinder will allow you not to store air in the air tank between firing and will reduce the air consumption by at least 50%.
Latest Technology – Adjustable Force Air Cannon and the MEGA Blast
IGS Big Blue air cannons are designed to be the most powerful air cannons in the market. The Big Blue family of air cannons has at least one cannon that leads the Industry in all the power categories – Peak Force, Kinetic Energy, Momentum, or Dynamic Pressure. Our cleaning capabilities have no match in the industry today. However, cleaning is not just a function of power. The patent-pending Big Blue Adjustable Force Air cannon is the only cannon in the world that tunes its power to be able to clean the hardest material buildup and maximize the cleaning area. The adjustable Force Big Blue Air cannons are successful where other cannons fall short!
Adjustable Force Air Cannon
Right now, all air cannons have one thing in common. They blast each time at 100% of their capability. This is regardless of the power that is needed to perform the best cleaning. The buildup will react differently to the force it is struck with. Too high a force and you clean only the area of the air blast. This leads to swiss cheese buildup and not what the plant wants or needs. Striking this buildup with a lower force results in knocking the buildup down in chucks and doubling the cleaning area – a much more favorable result.
IGS is proud to introduce the Adjustable Force Air Cannon. This air cannon is the only one in the world designed to adjust the cleaning force to match the requirements for the best possible cleaning. The key is to design an air cannon with a significant increase in the cleaning force. Enough cleaning force so that the maximum cleaning force is not required. Cleaning is possible with only 25% of the force. Tune your air cannon to your buildup and double the cleaning area of each blast.
In the environment that air cannons are installed in, you can count on the fact the process changes will affect the buildup. Changing buildup affects the performance of the air cannons. Sometimes the buildup may become too difficult for the air cannon to handle. Or the air cannon will be out of service and allows the buildup to become stronger than the air cannon blast. This is why IGS has developed the MEGA Blast. We have discovered the path to increasing the cleaning of your air cannon blast by up to 5 times. We can train your personnel on how this can be accomplished using a simple and safe method. Let your air cannons control the buildup on a daily basis and when trouble needs to be controlled, call in the MEGA Blast. In less than one hour the MEGA Blast will blast away the toughest blockage.
Unlike previous innovations, The IGS Monster Nozzle is not a modification. It is an entirely new nozzle. Jeff Shelton, the inventor of the nozzle, is no stranger to bucking industry trends. “I remember asking myself, ‘Why are people satisfied with a limited cleaning range’? A better design would reduce the number of air cannons and lead to huge savings for cement producers”.
That simple question led to an R&D project. Jeff consulted with airflow experts and received a consistent message. “Everyone told us the same thing, ‘if you want to maximize the nozzle’s efficiency, you better maximize the mass flow rate. It’s that simple’. Well, we took their advice seriously and designed our nozzle with that in mind.”
The mass flow rate is defined as the mass of a substance that passes per unit of time. “In other words”, Jeff said, “We wanted an unobtrusive nozzle. So we eliminated the turning vanes and expanded the inlet size.” Those changes transfer the air from the tank to the application rapidly. The result is a briefer, but far more powerful cleaning pattern.
The Monster Nozzle cleans twice as large of an area as the fan jet nozzle. Therefore, it reduces the total number of required nozzles by 50%. Instead of cleaning a cement tower with 8 air cannons, the Monster Nozzle enables the same level of cleaning with only four air cannons.
The Monster Nozzle will generate significant savings for cement producers. These savings will be realized in the installation, replacement, operation, and equipment costs.
The traditional fan jet nozzle is very expensive to install. Scaffolding and refractory work are often required, resulting in the average cost of about $2,000 per nozzle. The Monster Nozzle eliminates those concerns and can replace the modified fan jet nozzle easily.
IGS is the worldwide leader in metal spray technology. It employs a patented Hastelloy coating to protect mission-critical equipment from corrosive processes. When the same coating is applied to the air cannon nozzle, it doubles the life expectancy.
Since fan jet nozzles do not produce enough cleaning energy, cement producers must supplement with manual rod cleaning, high-pressure water washing, or cardox cleaning. The Monster Nozzle eliminates the need for supplemental methods. That generates significant maintenance savings and reduces the likelihood of a workplace accident.
The Monster Nozzle generates the biggest savings to equipment costs. By doubling the side-to-side cleaning, it reduces the number of required air cannons by 50%. These savings can increase exponentially when combined with the IGS Multiplier.
In other words, eight (8) 150L air cannons with fan jet nozzles can be replaced with one 300L multiplier with four Monster Nozzle discharge points. This system will cost less, clean more effectively, and eliminate workplace safety hazards.
IGS has unmatched experience in air cannon installations. To see the savings that IGS air cannons can deliver, fill in the contact form below. Move over old-timer, new technology coming through!
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