Sieves, sifters and classifiers

Size often does matter in many processes and that is where sieves, sifters and classifiers play a key role. They are often the ‘policeman’ in a process, ensuring that only material below a certain size passes on to the next stage of the process or to the packing line. They are also used to remove tramp material from feed stock - pieces of string and paper from slit sacks or lumps of agglomerated materials are good examples.

Air classifiers

Flat deck sifters

Air classifiers

Flat deck sifters

Cyclones

 

Rotary sifters

 

Rotary sifters

 

Many flat deck sifters in industrial use are powered versions of the ‘garden riddle’ used to remove stones and large lumps from soil. Most are much more sophisticated: material loaded onto the centre of the screen is vibrated or gyratedso that it travels outwardsto the edge - where there’ll be an outlet for the oversize material. This means that the sifter can perform continuously without the need for frequent emptying. This concept readily lends itself to having several layers of screens so that materials having a wide particle size distribution can be separated into their various fractions. There are several variations on the theme: including sifters with long rectangular screens which slope at an angle. Their sifting screens can be meshes or even evenly spaced rods for heavier materials.

In the early 1960’s, the Rotary or Centrifugal Sifter was introduced. The screen is rolled into a tube. Material is introduced into one end of the tube and thrown against it through the action of a high speed rotating helical paddle whose shape moves material through the tube at the same time. Below size material passes through the screen into a discharge section below. Over-size material passes through the screen tube and is discharged via the over-size end outlet. The main advantages of centrifugal sifters is their small footprint, high capacity and positive action which can often break agglomerates of perfectly good material that would have been rejected as over-size on a flat deck machine.

Air Classifiers are an alternative to mechanical sieves for very finely divided materials, where they can accurately classify particles into their differing fractions.They can be used inall industries producing fine powders where control of temperature or oxidisation and a narrow particle size distribution are of prime importance.(

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