AZO Publishes Free Guide on Conveying for Process Material Handling

Gus Carrington

Gus Carrington About The Author

May 13, 2020

The AZO guide informs engineers and executives of the pneumatic conveying method to best fit their operations in the process material handling world.

For 70 years, AZO has developed and innovated technology related to pneumatic conveying and material handling. Now, a new downloadable guide is available from the AZO website seeking to specify the most fitting conveying methods for a wide variety of operations. 

Topics ranging from the specific benefits of conveying modes (dilute, dense, vacuum and pressure) to avoiding product smearing and even the common hidden costs of system maintenance are included in “Choosing The Right Pneumatic Conveying Method For Process Material Handling.

Chuck Kerwin, the general manager of AZO Inc., said that for those new to the industry unfamiliar with pneumatic conveying, this guide contains a great deal of necessary information — all in a single source. 

“Bakers, candy manufactures or those who work in the pharmaceutical industry may not necessarily be familiar with what we do at AZO,”  Kerwin said. “This is a good general overview of our technology. Plus, you get the pros and cons of each conveying method.” 

Kerwin considers not just the seven decades AZO has handled material as a testament to their conveying expertise, but the sheer variety of materials AZO systems have handled over the years as evidence as well. These robust AZO systems have been widely implemented in industries including food, snack, bakery, chemical, plastics, confectionery and pharmaceutical.

“Within those markets, we have handled over 10,000 different materials,” Kerwin said. “You’ve got the breadth of multiple markets, along with a fantastic number of materials in those markets.”

While AZO can facilitate the implementation of both pressure and vacuum pneumatic conveying systems, more often than not, vacuum conveying is the preferred method. This is because vacuum conveying makes for a cleaner environment in the event of a leak in the system. As a vacuum system pulls air through its pipes, the internal pressure is lower than the atmosphere and a leak will only bring air into the system. 

The opposite is true in a pressure system. A leak in a pressure system blows powder out of the system since the system air pressure is higher than the atmosphere. Simply put, leaks in pressure systems result in dusty environments. 

“The inherent advantage of vacuum conveying is that the product stays within the conveying system,” Kerwin said. “If you have a leak, you’re sucking air into the system. A leak in a pressure system will blow product all over the place. Pressure conveying does have its advantages, especially when product must be moved over a long distance.”

Other useful topics are included in the guide. These include the hidden costs of system startups, maintenance and operation. For instance, there is a sizable cost difference when implementing a conveying system into a new facility versus installing a system to a facility already in operation. Bill Nesti, sales manager of AZO VITAL, said this is because it is more complicated to install a system in existing production.

“If we were at a greenfield facility, It's a lot easier in that environment for us to work in and install equipment,” Nesti said. “If we have to install an extension to a system or a new line within the area where the existing production is an operation, this is definitely more costly. We might have to put up barriers around the construction area to isolate it from the production, or we might have to work during odd hours when production is down so as to not contaminate product.”

Choosing The Right Pneumatic Conveying Method For Process Material Handling” also contains tips on how to handle delicate materials and avoid breakage when pneumatically conveying.

“When conveying cereal bits with unique shapes or small spaghetti noodles, AZO uses what we call ‘low-velocity vacuum conveying’,” Nesti said. “It's not dense-phase and it's not dilute-phase, but it's a hybrid. It's halfway in between. That's where we would use a gentle feeder to introduce material into the conveying line. The next step would be to design the conveying system to convey at the minimum velocity.”

This guide joins a list of free offerings from AZO covering topics ranging from Bulk Bag Unloading, Centrifugal Screening and the handling of minor and micro additives. 

“We’ve got a lot of expertise and we’d like to share that expertise with new customers,” Kerwin said. 

AZO, Inc. engineers, builds and installs components and complete systems for bulk material handling requirements. A wholly-owned subsidiary of AZO GmbH, the company supports U.S. customers with technical support from its Memphis location and rapid parts delivery. AZO equipment is used in companies ranging from small, family-owned businesses through the world’s best known industrial and consumer products companies. More info about our company, as well as common questions related to the world of ingredient handling, can be answered on our company blog at

Get the pneumatic conveying guide