Flow Aid Devices: Two Efficient Ways to Reduce Consumption of Compressed Air in Air Cannons

6 March 2020
 Categories: , Blog


Air cannons are mechanical flow aids that use high-pressure air to break blockages in vessels. They are used in myriad industries, including metal, electricity generation, paper and cement manufacturing. The air cannons or air blasters are used to clean gas ducts and empty stagnant and bulk materials lodged in storage vessels. Air cannons are particularly used in cement factories to remove blockages and build-ups in preheater towers. They are also very useful in storage bunkers and material transfer chutes.

The air cannon comprises a tank, a valve and pressure vessels. The pressure of the air supply keeps the valve closed. When the valve is triggered, it releases compressed air in a fraction of a second, creating massive force strong enough to break blockages and build-ups. As a result, it enhances material flow in the duct.

The efficiency of the air cannon system depends on the supply of compressed air. Essentially, compressed air should have adequate pressure and volume. A high flow valve releases the compressed air instantaneous to clear the blockages.

Here is the rub. Compressed air is relatively expensive. Therefore, it is imperative to adopt ways that can reduce consumption. The following methods significantly reduce the consumption of compressed air in air cannons. 

Investing in State-of-the-Art Valve Technology

Advanced valve technology uses a relatively lower amount of compressed air. When these valves are fitted in smaller tanks, they produce more force compared to a conventional valve mounted in larger tanks. You can reduce the amount of compressed air used by reducing the operating pressure of the advanced valves to operate at par with an ordinary valve.  Although the advanced valve will have the same peak blast force with a less efficient valve, it will save the air consumption significantly. 

Close the Valve Mid-Blast

This technique involves closing the valve after discharging 50% of the air volume. The latest models of air cannon systems use this air saving technology. Ideally, the systems are fitted with a piston return reservoir that closes the valve. The reservoir, also referred to as a canister, allows the valve pressure to correspond with the tank pressure. The process does not affect the peak force of the air cannon. This technology produces the same blast but reduces blast duration. Ultimately, it minimises air consumption but maintains output force. 

Air cannons are instrumental in the manufacturing industry. They help to clean ducts and vessels, allowing materials to flow seamlessly. Ultimately, they enhance productivity. Since air cannons use rather expensive compressed air, it is crucial to adopt technologies that help with compressed air consumption.