Get to know us on:

U.S.A. Based Manufacturer.
Supporting Businesses Worldwide.

FIND US: 1140 Gervais Avenue, Maplewood, MN 55109

CONTACT: (651) 653-5098
[email protected]

Flour Production: Material Handling

Flour Production Material Handling Equipment
by Will Aldrin And Spencer Evans

Flour is an important ingredient in baked goods, pasta, and many other foods, and wheat flour is one of the most universal ingredients used in food production worldwide. In 2018, of the approximately 765 million tons of wheat crop, 53% (or 402 million tons) were used to make wheat flour. More wheat flour was produced than sugar (166 million tons), salt (290 million tons), and soybeans (349 million tons).

The flour-making process is fairly simple; however, the flour production process on a large scale is complex and labor-intensive, and proper material handling of flour is a critical part of successfully processing flour for commercial use. An efficient flour handling system will help to reduce production costs and improve product quality. Flour production best practices include:

  • Easy to clean equipment: The use of material handling equipment that is designed with minimal crevices and grooves and can easily be cleaned
  • Automation: The use of material handling equipment with sensors and automation to control the flow of material
  • Implementing strict cleanliness protocols
  • Safety: Design systems that are safe and train employees in safe lifting and moving techniques


What do you mean flour is raw?!

This might surprise some of you, but all that flour is a raw ingredient. Flour isn’t “raw” because it is a product component the way sand is the “raw” ingredient of glass. Flour is “raw” in the same way that uncooked meat and poultry are “raw.” Flour is minimally processed during its creation, meaning there is still lots of bacteria in the flour, even in the bags you buy at a grocery store. None of that matters once the flour is used, as many applications of flour heat the flour to the point where most, if not all, of the bacteria are killed. But this means that the flour is highly susceptible to spoiling if not properly stored.

To make sure that flour successfully goes from field to food, there are a variety of important requirements that must be met so that the flour is moved and stored in a safe and sanitary manner.

Flour handling systems equipment needs to be cleaned regularly. The HaF Moovinator is a filter receiver that is designed in a pneumatic conveying system to be easy to clean. Below is an image of the HaF Moovinator. When the filter bag access door is opened, there is easy access and a good “line of sight” for the operator to clean out the equipment.

HaF Moovinator filter receiver

Safety and Sanitary Measures When Handling Flour

  • Considering humidity levels is one of the most important factors when storing or moving flour. Bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can quickly propagate in flour when exposed to even mildly humid air. That’s why dehumidifiers and airtight storage are necessary when storing flour for commercial food processing, especially in tropical climates near the equator. Humidity can also cause the flour to clump, leading to difficulty transporting it through pneumatic systems and improper mixing when producing products where flour is used.
  • When designing a flour handling system, several things must be considered.
    1. The construction materials and the equipment’s sanitary design level. Stainless steel and food-grade construction are critically important.
    2. The flour equipment build must be checked to ensure no pits, crevices, or holes where material can stagnate, spoil, and infect the rest of the flour. This includes checking for airtightness on flour storage equipment. Imperfections will allow humid air to enter the system, raising the chance of bacteria growth in the flour.
  • In a facility that handles bulk flour production, there are many elements present for a dust explosion or fire to occur: fuel, confinement, dispersion, oxygen, and a spark. An effective and properly operating industrial dust collector and dust collection system minimizes the risk of fire or explosion and must be considered when designing a flour handling system.

Proper flour material handling is a critical part of a successful flour production process for commercial use, and an efficient material handling system will help to reduce production costs and improve product quality. Commercial manufacturers can help protect the consumer, their output levels, and ultimately their bottom line by investing in high-quality flour processing equipment.

HaF Equipment specializes in the design and supply of flour processing systems, focusing on the details of sanitary design. We call it “tool-free-quick-take-apart” equipment. Our flour handling systems can also incorporate explosion mitigation equipment.

Contact a HaF account manager today to discuss your options.  

You May Also Like:

Industrial Dust Collection: Why The Right Equipment Matters

Keep It Clean: HaF’s Gravity Divert Valve

Pneumatic Blending – Back to the Basics

Is Your Industrial Dust Collector Equipment Sufficient?

Industrial Dust Collector The Right Equipment

Is the industrial dust collector for your dust collection system efficient enough to handle the needs of your business manufacturing and material handling systems? Dust is a common byproduct of industrial processes and can present a serious health and safety hazard if not properly controlled. Dust can also be explosive! Great care in the design and supply of industrial dust collection systems needs to be taken, and the right industrial dust collector equipment is a critical part of that system. Dust particles can be breathed in, causing respiratory problems, or they can accumulate on surfaces and create slip-and-fall hazards. In addition, dust can interfere with the proper functioning of equipment, leading to production downtime. 

An industrial dust collector is a device that helps to control industrial dust. It works by capturing dust particles from the air and then either storing them or disposing of them. There are many different types of industrial dust collectors available, and the best type for a particular application will depend on the nature of the dust and the industrial process. For example, cyclonic separators are often used for heavy-duty applications such as sawdust removal, while baghouses are better suited for capturing fine particles. Proper industrial dust collection is essential for maintaining a safe and productive workplace.

HaF Equipment manufactures some of the most reliable and affordable industrial dust collectors on the market. Our products are designed to meet the specific needs of your workplace, and our team is always available to help you choose the right model for your needs. HaF Equipment has the perfect solution for you whether you need a small, portable unit or a larger machine for your particular industrial dust collection needs.

Read about the different types of industrial dust collectors that HaF supplies in our article, Industrial Dust Collection: Why The Right Equipment Matters

Typical material handling equipment that require dust collection control:

Bulk Bag Filler

Bulk Bag Filler is a standard piece of equipment in manufacturing. It is used to package a wide range of dry powders and granulated and flaked materials into bulk bags (also known as totes, super sacks, or big bags). They are engineered for bulk material processing and packaging applications requiring high-performance operation, where reliable and repeatable duty cycles, rates, accuracy, and equipment effectiveness are crucial. They can be designed to operate as either manual or automated systems. 

Using HaF Bulk Bag Fillers, the operator loads a bag into the filler station and inflates the inflatable boot, creating a seal to hold the bag in place for filling. The filler head is equipped with a vacuum port connected to a dust collection system (such as the systems that HaF supplies!) and is used to pull out the dust created while filling. Inside the filler head, an internal baffle goes below the vacuum port, causing the product to fall into the bag while forcing the air to make a 180 turn. This pulls the air out of the bag without pulling any product.

Portable Dust Collector - HaF Eqiupment
Portable Dust Collector – HaF Equipment

Truck Unload Systems

Unloading a semi-trailer of raw ingredients into a storage silo is another process that requires dust collection. The semi-trailer often comes equipped with an onboard positive displacement blower package that pressure-conveys product into the silo. Because both product and air are being blown into the silo, a lot of dust is created and needs to be pulled out of the system. 

HaF has designed an operator-friendly bin vent that is used on top of the silo to create an effective filtration point where powder stays in the system and clean air exits the bin vent. The bin vent is a dust collection apparatus because it is used to cleanly release the air from within the silo back into the atmosphere. This is achieved by using filters that stop the product from leaving as the air escapes. The bin vents are sometimes equipped with a fan mount. This allows a fan to be added later for applications where air needs to escape faster. This system keeps the dust from escaping out of the top of the silo. Once an unload cycle is complete, the filter bags are back pulsed with compressed air to keep them clean and clear of dust.  System Integration Unloading and Silo Systems.

Bulk Bag Unloaders

Bulk Bag Unloaders are used to unload product from super sacks (also known as big bags or totes) into the system. Untying a bulk bag can be a dusty process for operators, and like the bulk bag filler, it is important to contain the dust so that it does not enter the plant or the atmosphere. The bulk bag unloader has either a receptor tube or a discharge spout with a glovebox for operator access. Which type depends on the application and customer preference. Again, like the bulk bag filler, this is equipped with a vacuum port connected to a central dust collection system that HaF can design and supply. The HaF Dust Collection System is used to pull out the dust created when the operator has the door open. There needs to be a slight draft so that powder does not fly into the face of the operator. HaF has included a custom-designed baffle to prevent the product and the bag from being pulled in. The dust collection system is activated when the operator opens the door and disengages the safety sensor on the discharge spout. It turns off when the door is closed so that product can resume flowing. In this way, HaF has automated the dust collection process to ensure a clean environment for operators.

Bag Break Stations

To add 50-lb bags of material into the system, operators use Bag Break Stations. Bag Break Stations require effective dust collection when the operator is opening bags. HaF has designed the bag break stations to work with dust collection systems so that a slight vacuum is pulled to prevent dusting while operators empty bags into the hopper. Once the operator closes the door, the dust collection system stops, and the filter bags are pulsed to remain clean and clear of dust. 


Dust collection is a critical step in the manufacturing process. By collecting dust before it has a chance to enter the atmosphere, dust collection systems help to keep the air clean and safe to breathe. In addition, dust collection systems help prevent the spread of dust particles throughout the factory, which can lead to equipment malfunctions, production delays, and, worse, plant explosions. By investing in high-quality dust collection systems, manufacturers can help protect their workers and their bottom line

Contact a HaF account manager today to discuss your options.  

You may also like:

Turnkey Manufacturing Solutions

HaF Bulk Material Handling Equipment Manufacturer

by Morgan Bocci and Ana Meemken

Turnkey manufacturing is a process where one company oversees all aspects of a project’s production from beginning to end. A turnkey project takes the inconvenience and stress away from the customer by using a sole entity to coordinate, manage, and facilitate a project from detailed engineering to system installation and start-up. The responsibility of finding installation contractors, defining installation scope, managing installation, and coordinating various trades is taken off the customer.


HaF Bulk Material Handling Equipment Manufacturer

One of the biggest advantages of utilizing turnkey manufacturing service is that the customer is able to purchase a system and sit back and wait for the finished project. When the full scope of the project is complete, the customer can turn the keys and start-up that system. It is important to choose vendors with experience in this type of service so that a successful finished project and a smooth transition can be achieved.

Choosing an experienced turnkey partner gives customers the ability to go into a project with a high level of confidence. The risks of system responsibility are mitigated as experienced partners know what to expect and how to effectively deliver a complete system.


It is important for the customer to consider all the turnkey project advantages and disadvantages of collaborating with a vendor. The greatest advantage is that there is one single point of accountability. The customer only needs to communicate with one vendor; therefore, there is no need to coordinate with multiple vendors across various service lines. Should the project need additional work to be included, your vendor will bid and facilitate the needed contractors. The benefit of the vendor handling the additional resources is that the risk is on them. The customer does not need to take the time to research additional help, nor do they have to worry about the credibility of additional vendors. When a turnkey vendor is handling the project, the timeline runs more smoothly. The vendor will align schedules and keep the project moving.

The advantages outweigh the disadvantages of turnkey; however, it is important to be aware of the cons that are involved. The main concern with turnkey projects is establishing communication. It is vital to the success of the project that both the customer and the vendor are clear on expectations. Customers can feel removed and uninformed of the status of the project if the vendor is not staying in contact with them. There can also be hesitations from the customer that there will be additional charges if the turnkey vendor experiences unexpected work that needs to be added to the project.


HaF Equipment offers turnkey manufacturing services and solutions for projects big and small. Our team understands the concerns of our customers and takes the time to listen. We develop a plan and communicate along the way. If you need someone you can trust and want to eliminate the stress of managing all the details of your next project, HaF is Ready To Connect.

CONTACT US today to discuss your next project and how our team can help from beginning to end. 

Industrial Dust Collection: Why The Right Equipment Matters

Industrial Dust Collection

by Becca Hansen and Kim Selle

Industrial dust collection in manufacturing is vital to workplace safety. In 2021, there were 51 dust-related fires worldwide, resulting in five injuries. Twenty-five (25) of these fires were in food production facilities. Much like the severity of fires, explosion mitigation is a top concern. In 2021, there were twenty-eight (28) dust-related explosions worldwide, resulting in 39 injuries and 8 fatalities, 10 of which were food product-related. In a facility, there are many elements present for a dust explosion or fire to occur: fuel, confinement, dispersion, oxygen, and a spark. An effective and properly operating industrial dust collector and dust collection system minimizes the risk of fire or explosion.


In addition to fire and explosion prevention, there are several other reasons to incorporate industrial dust collection and the right industrial dust collector into manufacturing systems. In the United States, OSHA requires dust control in indoor workplaces to comply with legal limits for each ingredient and material. Additionally, effective dust collection and control assists with eliminating cross-contamination of food or other materials; control of health hazards, including bacteria, allergens, and, yes, insect parts. It can also assist with efficiency and recycling or reuse of food scraps, food-grade material, or pet food. Having a dust collection system creates an overall cleaner work environment by keeping dust and particles from getting into the air and keeping it away from the operator.

Depending on the industry and application, the dust properties will affect which industrial dust collection equipment is best. Some of these properties include:

  • Particle size (small or large)
  • Bulk density (loose or compact)
  • Composition (acidic or basic)
  • Temperature (room temperature or elevated)
  • Moisture level (low or high)

Selecting the correct equipment to handle the dust is critical and will depend on the product and its handling in the system. 

Dust Collection Methodologies

HaF Equipment offers custom design dust collection systems in any of our three general methodologies:

  • Dry Dust Collection
  • Wet Dust Collection
  • Portable Dust Collection

Dry Dust Collection

HaF utilizes envelope-style filter bags to provide maximum filter area in a small space, This accommodates the custom-sized airflow for the application, and the dry dust collector captures dust particles on the filter bags.

With HaF’s reverse jet pulse cleaning system, the filter bags drop dust into a hopper that can be manually or automatically removed.

Wet Dust Collection

Our wet dust collector utilizes a turbulent zone of water to capture dust particles. This method is a great way to eliminate explosion mitigation equipment, and it is easily cleaned with an optional Clean In Place (CIP) design. The dusty water discharges with either a manual process or automated valving. Wet dust collection also removes the requirement of filter bags altogether.

Portable Dust Collection

A portable dust collector allows the operator flexibility to move the dry dust collector to the point of use. Our portable dust collector comes with many customizable features including dust removal systems.

Pick-up points can be designed for each method including custom hood designs. We then size the ductwork and corresponding exhaust fan for an exact fit. 

Dust Hoods are used in applications where a customer might want to squish the air out of a bag before entering the bag sealing process. There is an overhanging open duct in this application where a vacuum is being pulled. Dust hoods can also be used over conveyors to prevent dust from being spread throughout the plant.

Dust collection is a critical step in the manufacturing process. By collecting dust before it has a chance to enter the atmosphere, dust collection systems help to keep the air clean and safe to breathe. In addition, dust collection systems help to prevent the spread of dust particles throughout the factory, which can lead to equipment malfunctions, production delays, and worse, plant explosions. By investing in high-quality dust collection systems, manufacturers can help to protect both their workers and their bottom line.

HaF Equipment is here to assist you with which dust collection application and equipment would benefit your business.

Contact a HaF account manager today to discuss your options.  


Air Pollution Control Equipment and Solutions

Air Pollution Control Equipment

by: Hannah Niesen and Kao Vang

In 1970, the Clean Air Act was enacted to combat a variety of air emission pollution problems and to tackle emerging and future pollution threats.

By reducing the amount of harmful chemicals released into our atmosphere, we preserve the environment for the future. But in order to do this, acid gas emissions and the release of other harmful chemicals into the atmosphere must be reduced. As a business specializing in custom-engineered material handling equipment, HaF Equipment provides air pollution control solutions, technologies, and equipment that benefit our clientele and the environment.

The Role of Technology to Combat Air Pollution

When most people think about air pollution, they envision smog-filled cities or factories belching out black smoke. While these are certainly significant sources of pollution, there are actually many sources of air pollution, both natural and man-made. Air pollution was primarily seen as an unavoidable by-product of human activity in the past. However, as our understanding of the effects has grown, so has our ability to combat air pollution. HaF Equipment is dedicated to utilizing sound technology to continue the fight against air pollution with specially designed equipment and design solutions like those identified below.

Air Pollution Control Equipment

Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) systems removes acid gases like SO2, HCI and SO3 from an exhaust stream that is found in fuel combustion processes. DSI systems are ideal for air emissions regulatory compliance requirements for a variety of reasons:

  1. DSI is the lowest capital cost solution
  2. DSI has the smallest footprint, and
  3. DSI has the most flexible installation needs.

Commonalities in DSI systems are pressure conveying system, rotary feeders, splitters, and lances.

Baghouses accommodate a large range of particulate sizes and outlet emission targets.  Because of our extensive design capabilities, we can also design baghouses for a variety of temperatures.  And our designs are proven to limit stressful burdens on bags, which reduces the risk of broken bag incidences.

Baghouses can also be used in conjunction with our DSI systems. This improves acid gas removal efficiency by taking advantage of a filter cake built up on the baghouse filter media.

Computational Fluid Dynamics Technology (CFD modeling) is an analytical tool that can be used to predict airflow and particulate behavior in a flue gas duct. CFD modeling can be used to identify high-impact areas of optimization in the process of combating air pollution.

Pneumatic conveying.  HaF Equipment has solutions for ash handling: vacuum conveying, pressure conveying and mechanical conveying. Each conveying method can be achieved using a variety of products that we can customize to a specific need; even those that are dependent on conveying distance, ash loading, and temperature profiles.

HaF Equipment is here to assist you with technology and air pollution control equipment solutions that will help you with your manufacturing while lessening the burden on the environment. Contact a HaF account manager today to see what air pollution strategies we can provide you.

CONTACT US today to discuss your material handling equipment needs. 

Airlocks and Pneumatic Conveying

Airlocks and Pneumatic Conveying

by Dan Fried and Devon DeJong

Does your mind go straight to the scene of your favorite Syfy movie when someone mentions airlock systems– where the hero (or villain) is trapped between safety and being sucked out into deep space at the press of a button? We like a good science fiction movie, too, but airlocks in pneumatic conveying get us just as excited!  

An airlock is a compartment with doors that can be sealed against pressure which permits the passage of people and objects between environments of differing pressure or atmospheric composition while minimizing the change of pressure in the adjoining spaces and mixing of environments. The airlock technology consists of a relatively small chamber with two airtight doors in series which do not open simultaneously. (Source) 

In pneumatic conveying, airlock systems are the passageways that bulk materials use to move between environments consisting of different pressures, gases, or both, with the goal being to minimize pressure loss and to prevent the gases from mixing. (In pneumatic conveying, airlocks are used for passage between various environments of different materials like gases, or different pressures, or both, to minimize pressure loss or prevent the gases from mixing). Airlocks are a critical component of pneumatic conveying designs. When applied to conveying, the objective is to move bulk material across a pressure differential; low to high (Pressure Conveying) or high to low (Vacuum Conveying). 

How airlock technology works can sound complex; however, the design is simple. When a product drops into a pocket on the top, the rotor spins and drops the product out the bottom. The rotor has VERY tight tolerances with the housing to prevent air or the product from blowing past the rotor tips. (A typical airlock will come with a rotor tip-to-housing clearance of between .004” and .007”; Once that clearance is above .0079″ it is no longer NFPA compliant). An airlock prevents air leakage across the pressure differential.

Airlocks Used in Bulk Material Handling

Drop-through airlock. What is beneficial about this airlock is that the cost is lower because it is more widely available. The downfall to the drop-through airlock is the head height. 

Drop-through airlock with rails. Customers appreciate this airlock because it is operator and maintenance-friendly. The drawback to this airlock is the cost on the application’s front end. 

Blow-through airlock. Compared to the drop-through airlock, the blow-through lock is preferred because of its head height and the feature that no pick-up shoe is needed. The blow-through airlock is avoided at times because of the cost and the few options it provides.

Airlocks and NFPA Compliance

Airlock systems are one of the most important components of an equipment’s success. Knowing the application will determine whether the airlocks need to be NFPA Compliant.

The National Fire Protection Association is an organization that is devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The NFPA Codes & Standards states that the airlock has a minimum of 8 vanes. At least two vanes must always stay in contact with each side of the housing, and the vanes must be at least 3mm thick. This helps keep flames contained to the rotor pocket if there is an explosion. Plastic or rubber tips are not NFPA compliant, as they will not hold up to the heat of an explosion. It’s also important to know that rotor-to-housing clearance must stay below .0079″ (0.2mm).


Many factors go into selecting the right airlock for a project. Knowing the environment to which the airlock will be exposed is a vital consideration.

  • Temperature is a key factor, so it is important to know if the airlock will be indoor or outdoor, and the temperature of the material being conveyed.
  • Pressure above or below the throughput needs makes a difference.
  • Product details surrounding the airlock need to be considered to select the proper airlock; i.e. bulk density, angle of repose, flowability, abrasiveness and explosiveness are all product characteristics that can affect the airlock.

When questioning which airlock system is best suited for a project, consider the airlock itself; body type, body material, rotor style/material, inboard vs. outboard bearings, and gland vs. air purge shaft seal play into what airlock will perform the best.

There are many options to rotary airlocks.

  • The shallow pocket types reduce the volume per requirement and are generally used on filters, cyclones and silos.
  • A staggered pocket rotor has a continuous and uniform flow to provide a more accurate rate of material flow.
  • Fine Dosing rotors are beneficial when feeding or discharging fine powders, materials or granules that are contained in hoppers and silos.
  • A scalloped rotor is best suited for sticky materials or food-grade applications.
  • Flexible tip rotors are helpful when trying to avoid jams in the valve and are more suited for dust filters than food-grade applications.
  • Consider an adjustable rotor when handling more abrasive material.

Rotary airlocks can also offer a variety of features.

A low-cost feature with a high reward is a shaft seal air purge. A shaft seal air purge will prevent material from entering the seals and bearings.

A Zero Speed Switch is a valuable feature where it alerts the system if the rotor stops spinning, jams, or breaks.

Although they have a high price point, Slider Rails allows access for cleaning and maintenance.

The material and the coating of an airlock is critical. Nickel plating, chrome plating, and tungsten coating all help prevent premature wear of the airlock. 

Factors, options, and features of the airlock system can be overwhelming. Working with a skilled team of knowledgeable engineers in the field can help. With over 25 years of experience, HaF Equipment is that team Ready To Connect!

HaF Equipment is here to assist you with which application would benefit from pneumatic conveying; and seeing is believing. So, contact a HaF account manager today to see what options we can provide you. 


Pneumatic Blending – Back to the Basics

Pneumatic Blending

by: Jared Beaupre

Companies struggle with keeping their material handling equipment clean. especially the inside of the equipment.  For example, have you ever tried to clean an industrial-sized mixer, like a ribbon blender? With most industrial equipment, like mechanical mixers, it can be labor-intensive, and dangerous, to ensure the unit is effectively cleaned and that the backsides of all the mixing paddles are clean. The tiny crevices in the design are out of sight but not out of mind. But, what if we told you that you could blend your dry powders without a mechanical-oriented mixer? Imagine a blender that is just as clean and simple as an empty hopper and cone! At HaF Equipment, we have the solution: Pneumatic Blenders!

Using simple compressed air, a pneumatic blender pulses a bubble of air into the centerline of the cone. That air pushes a column of the dry material upward, like taking a core sample or cross-section of the stratified material. As the column of material moves upward, the air expands and accelerates to throw that material into the headspace of the hopper. It is this motion that creates the mixing action.

The motion of the material also creates an aeration effect that creates a fluidized state for the material. When in a fluidized state, the material is free-flowing. So, as that column of material lifts, the remaining material around the side walls freely flows down and replaces the material blown upward. The mixing of powders happens quickly, with no mechanical friction.

When Pneumatic Blending is Best

Pneumatic blending isn’t for all applications, however. It is best when an extremely quick and accurate blend is needed. Since the blending action isn’t a “folding over” or “mass cutting,” the blend is extremely homogenous in a very short period. Rather than a blend measured in tens of minutes, most pneumatic blends can be accomplished in less than a minute. All of this is, however, dependent on the material blended. Material that is easily fluidizable, such as flour, glass bubbles, or powders for ceramics, work extremely well. Materials that are large particles, such as stones or nuts, are not good candidates since the air tends to flow through the material, not allowing the column of material to lift.

Comparing Blender Types

  • RIBBON blender.

    A Ribbon Blender typically has a U-shaped horizontal trough and then a custom fabricated ribbon agitator that spins to mix powders. The pros to the ribbon blender are that it operates at a cost-effective price point and offers high capacity.  Pneumatic blending can also work with large tonnages.  Unfortunately, the ribbon blender does not fill all the way and is often left with dead space (unused space). Another downfall to the ribbon blender is that it can be dusty, especially around the mechanical seals.  Pneumatic blending is sealed tight and is a simple hopper in concept.  The ribbon blender also tends to have a larger footprint and can sometimes damage the product in production.  Pneumatic blending is essentially a simple hopper and cone with air pistons in the cone.  The pneumatic blender is gentle in regard to damaging product.  It uses compressed air, not stainless-steel agitators.

  • PADDLE blender. A mixing paddle blender uses a custom fabricated paddle, typically mounted on a shaft, which can be inserted on the shaft end into the end of a motor drive assembly.  The paddle blender offers large capacity, with reduced RPM. On the flip side, the paddle blender is not proven to be efficient, and the gearbox located on the top of the vessel can be a hindrance. 

  • TUMBLER or V blender.

    V blenders are rotary mixers, also called tumble blenders. Just like how it sounds, the shape of the machine is a “V”.  The V is formed by welding together two cylinders.  The whole unit rotates allowing the powders to mix.  This is called diffusive (or dispersion) mixing. In diffusive mixing, the particles of solids move randomly, typically rolling down when their container is rotated. The motion is driven by gravity and falling particles.  There is no mechanical agitator or ribbon.

    There are no agitators inside the V blender, all the movement of the powder comes from gravity and the rotation of the shell. Since there is no agitator, it will perform “ok” with free-flowing solids, but it is less effective with cohesive powders. 

    The benefit of the V blender is that is has smooth internal surfaces that results in a more sanitary design.  But this is the same with pneumatic blending where the inside of the vessel is sanitary smooth.

    You get the clean vessel with the pneumatic blender as needed in pharmaceuticals, and the pneumatic blender is ultra-sanitary. The tumble blender tends to be more expensive, offers low capacity, and does an “ok” job with mixing.

Pneumatic Blender

Pneumatic Blender Flexibility – Powders & Liquids

The applications and variations of the Pneumatic Blender are vast and can be used for varying applications depending on the industry. Coatings or flavor additions are a great way to use pneumatic blending with liquids.  Pneumatic blenders can also be used for fluidizing silos and aid in silo discharge of ingredient powders.

When the pneumatic blender is put at the bottom of a dense phase conveyor vessel, it can receive the powders in, blend, and dense phase convey the powders long distances.  This is extremely helpful when you want to blend powders in a powder dedicated room, and then send the blended batch of powders to a production line elsewhere in the manufacturing facility.  This set up is very flexible.

Lastly, this system can utilize inert gas to blend combustible powders.

Pneumatic Blender - HaF Equipment

HaF Equipment is here to assist you with which application would benefit from pneumatic blending; and seeing is believing. So, contact a HaF account manager today to see what options we can provide to test the blender. We can do this in our facility with your material, or directly at your facility to give real-time results with as many in-plant conditions as possible. At HaF, we are Ready to Connect!

CONTACT US today to discuss your pneumatic blending equipment needs. 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

About HaF Equipment

HaF is a Minnesota-based company with employees spread out across the USA and capabilities world-wide. We’re ready to support your manufacturing industry needs no matter where you live or what type of industry – we’ve got our finger on the pulse Ready to Connect. 

For more information about how we can help you meet your goals, don’t hesitate to call us at (651) 653-5098, or complete the Contact Form on our website.

Segregation Challenges in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

segregation challenges in pharmaceutical manufacturing

by: August Jorgensen and Brandon Johnson

The pharma industry is one of the largest growing markets due to advances in biotechnologies and market shifts from Covid-19. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most challenging industries to design equipment for because of the sanitary requirements, government regulations, material/ingredient properties, (and hard-to-pronounce words). The food industry can be a good starting point with some similarities in hygienic design and regulations. Still, the characteristic difficulties are unique, causing material segregation challenges in pharmaceutical manufacturing that cannot be overlooked.

Industrial plants can often be dirty with carbon black in every nook and cranny (at no fault to the plant – carbon is messy!) On the other hand, food plants can be enjoyable to walk into with a cleaner environment. Often, there is an aroma of sweets or familiar foods. While you can get away with unsanitary environments in industrial plants, or the sights and aromatic smells in food plants, this would be unacceptable in the pharma industry due to the potency of ingredients. If you walk into a pharma plant and see any indication of by-products on the ground or smell the aroma of an ingredient, you could be at risk of ingesting harmful levels of potent ingredients.

Pharmaceuticals Ingredients

There are many unique ingredients and common ingredients in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharma Manufacturing).

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)
An example of an API is acetylsalicylic acid, commonly found in aspirin. Or Atorvastatin Calcium, which can be found in Lipitor. These powders are critical to the end product i.e., medication, that a person needs.

A correctly designed pneumatic conveying system is crucial to pharmaceutical material handling. Whether it’s a hospital or dietary supplement company, if they’re making their products with the right ingredients and handling system then consumers will have no problem using them. Pneumatic conveying systems are crucial for transporting materials in an efficient manner which leads to better quality end products. 

If a pharmaceutical material handling system is not designed correctly, then the breakdown or contamination of the product can cause damaging repercussions.

In many of the medications consumers take, fillers or binders are added to the API to help round out the medication. These fillers are called Excipients. Designing a well-functioning, efficient system to handle these excipients is just as critical, or even more critical, than handling the API. 

An example of an excipient is Sorbitol, which is found in antibiotics another is Starch found in pain-reliever over-the-counter medications. Corn, Sodium Starch Glycolate, Pregelatinized (cooked and dried), Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl (water and organic solubility), Microcrystalline, Calcium carbonate, Candelilla wax, Croscarmellose sodium, NF, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, Colloidal Anhydrous Silica, Gelatin, Titanium Dioxide, Lactose are also common powders. These excipients and others are found in many of the common medications used by American consumers.

The consequences of a material handling system that is not designed correctly can be devastating. From the loss of product and time to potential injury or even death – it’s important that these systems are precisely designed with safety in mind from day one!

Sorbitol is a Carbohydrate (sugar alcohol) that behaves very similarly to sugar. HaF Equipment has installed many sugar handling systems. They are tricky. A few of the challenges are that Sorbitol is Hygroscopic, Combustible, and is Poor-flowing! Every surface, every hopper, every transfer point needs to be reviewed and designed with expert precision.

Cellulose is a common excipient. It is odorless, white, and fibrous. The fibrous structure of cellulose particles and the fact that cellulose is very fine and light causes many challenges when trying to transfer cellulose and ensure you don’t have a dust cloud in your plant!

Using pressurized air to move cellulose only packs the particles tighter and tends to plug. Also, when a plug forms, the backpressure in the system increases, and the chances of a dust cloud increase. Not good. The alternative is a vacuum conveying system. Instead of packing the particles together, a vacuum system pulls them apart and allows them to flow. And guess what, with a vacuum system, if there are any leaks in the piping system, air leaks INTO the system, instead of cellulose blowing OUT OF the system.

Titanium Dioxide 
A very difficult to handle excipient is Titanium Dioxide. TiO2 is used in pharmaceuticals as a pigment. It is also used in most sunscreens, like zinc oxide. Although this powder is a common ingredient in medication, it is difficult to handle. Titanium Dioxide is easy to compact because it has adhesive-like properties. The result is that when TiO2 is stored in a vessel, it can bridge (meaning it does free flow out of the vessel discharge point), rathole (meaning it sticks to the sidewalls of a vessel and the whole middle column empties while the other material stays in the vessel), and segregate (meaning various particle sizes separate inside a hopper). Great care is needed when handling TiO2. 

Common Segregation Challenges

With material handling in the pharmaceutical industry, every powder and liquid has unique properties; bulk density, particle shape, particle size, aeration capacity, etc., all impact how the powder behaves.

Segregation of particles in a system can cause many challenges from plugging in the hopper, buildup, and inconsistent batch integrity. There are several ways that material segregation can occur.

When the powder enters a storage hopper, segregation can occur as fine powders accumulate at the top. The powder particles are fluidized, and the lighter materials float to the top. The storage hopper is now full of a non-homogenous mixture of powder particles. 

Fine particles have lower permeability than coarse and retain air longer. This is common for mixtures below 100µm in size, making them more difficult to vent or filter out when high rates are used (as opposed to low). 

Dusting (Segregation)
Dusting is an example of particle entrapment. The dusting process occurs when larger particles separate from a mixture because of their slower settling speed and is seen more often with mixes below 50microns.

Sifting (Segregation)
Sifting Segregation is the sifting phenomena that causes segregation to occur in a lateral, or side-to-side motion. When this happens, fines (lighter materials) collect in the center under the point of impact, coarse particles roll off the pile and locate on the sides. Small particles move through a matrix of larger ones, and then segregation occurs. It happens when the difference in particle size is greater than 2:1, and the large average particle size is greater than 500µm and free-flowing.  

The Challenge of Degradation

A spray-dried powder or a delicate powder structure needs to be handled gently. Yet, it can be a challenge because the system has to be gentle while transferring the necessary API or excipient powder from one part of the plant to the other and do it fast enough to keep up production rates! So, how is this done?

The key is to handle the powder at low velocities. It is possible to use compressed air and move the powder very slowly. Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying technology is one of the best and most efficient ways.


With the growing demand for pharmaceutical manufacturing, precise material handling is more important than ever. HaF’s material handling equipment for pharmaceuticals is engineered to handle your pharmaceutical powders and materials with precision and accuracy. With our equipment, you’ll be able to optimize your production process and ensure that you’re meeting the high standards of the pharmaceutical industry.

CONTACT US today to discuss your pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment needs. 


About HaF Equipment

HaF is a Minnesota-based company with employees spread out across the USA and capabilities world-wide. We’re ready to support your manufacturing industry needs no matter where you live or what type of industry – we’ve got our finger on the pulse Ready to Connect. 

For more information about how we can help you meet your goals, don’t hesitate to call us at (651) 653-5098, or complete the Contact Form on our website.

Material Handling in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

pharmaceutical manufacturing

by Michael Thiel and Sarah Wagner 

The pharmaceutical industry is constantly changing and evolving, but how the pandemic affects it can be different from one year to another. There are no clear answers about what’s next; what is clear is that this is not an ideal situation, and companies need to keep up and be ready to change to remain relevant. 

Fortune Business Insights describes the change in the pharmaceutical landscape and the upcoming continual growth – “The global OTC Drugs market is projected to grow from $157.0 billion in 2021 to $233.6 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.8% in forecast period, 2021-2028. 

With the ever-changing times, material handling is critical for a pharmaceutical company to adapt quickly and stay on top of the changes.

What are Pharmeceuticals?

The word “pharmaceutical” is an umbrella term for all medicines. It’s a very broad category that brings to mind many different images and thoughts from over-the-counter drugs to liquid medication.

Why Material Handling in Pharmaceuticals Matters

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing is an important part of the American economy and involves prescription drugs, hospital products, high-security drugs, small batch operations, decontamination rooms, syringes, narcotics,  vaccinations, and more.

Material handling in pharmaceuticals is a critical component to ensuring the safe and timely delivery of products – of both dry and liquid ingredients.

Having the correct Material Handling System for production is essential for reliability and business success.

The Material Handling Process in Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (Pharma Manufacturing) is the process of large-scale (anything greater than lab-scale) production of pharmaceutical drugs as part of the pharmaceutical industry. The process of drug manufacturing includes many steps and unit operations, such as: 

  • bulk bag unloading (e.g. super sacks)
  • small bag station (e.g. 50-Lb. Bags)
  • drum tipping stations (e.g. unloading drums)
  • pneumatic conveying systems (e.g. vacuum dilute phase)
  • filter receivers
  • surge hoppers
  • feeders
  • pumps
  • sifters
  • mills
  • granulators
  • dryers
  • chillers
  • packaging equipment.

Material Handling Systems in Pharma Manufacturing

When designing a Material Handling System for pharmaceutical manufacturing, it is essential to understand the ingredients, like the powders, involved. In Pharma Manufacturing, the handled materials are typically either an API or an Excipient.

What is an API? The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) is the potent active ingredient. Sometimes, the medication taken has a very small amount of API. The rest of the medication consists of necessary fillers. The “active pharmaceutical ingredient” (API) is any substance or blend of materials used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP)

What is an Excipient? Excipients are non-active ingredients and are often called bulking agents, fillers, or binders. The non-active ingredients can help with long term stability and potency in small amounts by acting as buffers to the formulation’s active components.

The Importance of Sanitary Design

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that the quality and design of equipment used in pharmaceutical manufacturing protects consumers. The Material Handling System must meet their standards in order to be approved and sold in American markets, but it’s important not only to understand how they think-you need an expert who knows what will work.

There are various levels of sanitary design in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process, and sometimes documentation is required for certain equipment.

Design Philosophy of Sanitary Design

The equipment designer and supplier need to produce sound, sanitary products. Using a tool-free-quick-take-apart design philosophy helps to ensure this.

Though it is the customer’s specification that provide the level of sanitary design, typical materials used are stainless steel with finishes ranging from 304ss or 316-grade. The material finish should be to the level of a 2B or #4 finish. The welds would need to be ground flush and polished to a 20-32 ra.

The design philosophy of sanitary equipment considers the interior and exterior surfaces of the equipment. Minimizing any opportunity for dust or powder buildup on the exterior surface of the equipment must be considered. This is achieved by limiting horizontal surfaces so that dust and powder cannot collect. Interior surfaces are critical because that is where the ingredient is handled. Interior designs considerations include how easy it is to clean and a good line of sight.

When designing surge hoppers and vessels, the top of vessels should utilize domed or round tops to help prevent buildup. Control enclosures should be slope top. Support legs on vessels should be tucked under so that there are no ledges where support meets the main body and could harbor dust.

We have many more design considerations for every piece of equipment we design. If you want to know what those are, please CONTACT US, and let’s discuss in greater detail.

Dry Material Handling Equipment for Production Scale

Operator Exposure Limits (OEL’s) 

The importance of maintaining a safe work environment for operators cannot be understated. The Operator Exposure Limits (OEL) is what ensures that daily shifts go smoothly without major issues or injuries.

Generally, the pharmaceutical industry establishes internal occupational exposure limits at or below 10 µg/m3 as an eight-hour time-weighted average for highly potent drugs. The ratings for OEL’s are described in bands – Occupational Exposure Bands (OEB’s).

Learn more on the Pharmaceutical Guidelines Websites

Dust Hazard Analysis and Explosion Mitigation Equipment

The HaF team has a proven process for evaluating the hazards in your system design and providing you with best practices to ensure safety. Mentioning Kst or Pmax values is not enough. During our Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) we walk through the process and system design with you to truly understand what’s happening at every stage of production and consult on the best approaches to design a safe and reliable system.


When designing equipment for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (the pharmaceutical market) many factors need to be considered. At HaF, we have a passion for equipment design and sanitary applications. Our design philosophy is summed up as “Tool-Free -Quick-Take-Apart®”.

HaF cares about the operator that will use our equipment for years to come. CONTACT US today to discuss your pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment needs. 


About HaF Equipment

HaF is a Minnesota-based company with employees spread out across the USA and capabilities world-wide. We’re ready to support your manufacturing industry needs no matter where you live or what type of industry – we’ve got our finger on the pulse Ready to Connect. 

For more information about how we can help you meet your goals, don’t hesitate to call us at (651) 653-5098, or complete the Contact Form on our website.

Keep It Clean: HaF’s Gravity Divert Valve

Gravity Divert Valve

HaF Equipment’s latest gravity divert valve is an ideal solution for those who need to upgrade their aging system with modern technology. This product will increase efficiency and help prevent expensive downtime due to inefficient and outdated systems. The gravity divert valve is built for sanitary applications and is fully accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The focus for the gravity divert valve is on sanitary design and to provide an easy to clean divert valve positioned in the vertical orientation so that powder can flow and drop into either of two locations.

Using proven HaF design methods developed over 25 years, the gravity divert valve is part of our tool-free-quick-take-apart® designs developed for ease of cleaning. The main body can be disassembled and wiped down because there are no hidden crevices. The sanitary ferrule connections allow for a clamp to easily be removed, gaining access to clean the connections and easily remove the gravity divert valve for cleaning.

Gravity Divert Valve for article

Custom Gravity Divert Valve

Although the most recent Gravity Divert Valve that HaF configured has 6-inch diameter chutes, our team is innovative. HaF can design custom down chutes for whatever application the customer needs. Its framework is solid and is structured with a heavy-duty actuator. The valve has a “Y” Divert Split Configuration with a 60-degree offset. Precisely designed, the gravity divert valve is built with a dual coil solenoid and has a Proximity Limit Switch with a Cable.

Gravity Divert Valves are available in different sizes to mix and match components depending on the customer’s needs and specifications.

About HaF

HaF is a Minnesota-based company with employees spread out across the USA and capabilities world-wide. We’re ready to support your manufacturing industry needs no matter where you live or what type of industry – we’ve got our finger on the pulse Ready to Connect. 

For more information about how we can help you meet your goals, don’t hesitate to call us at (651) 653-5098, or complete the Contact Form on our website.