The 1948 Factory Act was the first to specifically impose a requirement for plants and factories to take steps to adequately ventilate workshops and control dust hazards. It was one of the factors that propelled the development of pneumatic conveying methods in the 1950s, and ever since. With this technology materials can now be transported hundreds of metres in an enclosed tube, with few workers exposed during the transportation.
This impulse and the many additional benefits of pneumatic conveying has seen the industry go from strength to strength, taken up by more and more businesses of all kinds. The global market for them in 2014 was estimated to be $20.3 billion.
A vacuum conveyor using negative instead of positive pressure was one logical step, offering even more effective containment because leaks in them will just suck in air rather than blow out material. Other improvements such as dense versus dilute phase options for different kinds of materials have been developed and other innovations – like improved energy efficiency – have continued at a pace into the modern day.
Increasing Uptake is Driven by Several Factors
Research and development has been striving to make these systems easier and cheaper to install and more efficient in operation. Intelligent control systems are one development currently contributing new advantages – entire conveying systems can now be controlled from a single point, even by a single operator, with automation minimising downtime, improving throughput and saving overheads.
At the same time, public awareness of the potential dangers of numerous kinds of pollutants is ever rising – both among work-forces and in communities that live in proximity to plants – and legislation (including binding international agreements) continues to increase accordingly, requiring industries to tighten up on spillages of all kinds.
All of these factors will drive industry growth in this sector.
It is reasonable to anticipate that positive pressure conveying will grow particularly strongly in the high growth economies like those of the Far East, where materials are required in ever greater bulk. Uptake of the vacuum conveyor is expected to become stronger in Europe, where environmental concerns are a greater driver. European companies with expertise in this area, like http://www.aptech.uk.com/pneumatic-conveying/vacuum-conveying/, should fare particularly well.
Pneumatic conveying engineers can be confident of future market growth and early adopters will benefit too.