In bulk and specialty material handling systems, rotary airlock valve specifications and designs are influenced by such factors as pressure, size, temperature, and construction. Rotary airlock valves can be custom machined for processing various materials. Optimal, worry-free performance of a system, however, relies in large part on knowing the exact processing specifications of that system. 

Rotary airlock valves, sometimes referred to as rotary feeders, rotary valves, or simply, rotary airlocks, are a critical component in agricultural and industrial material handling systems. Applications range from dust collector pressure systems to vacuum style pneumatic conveying systems. When in operation, rotary airlock valves prevent or minimize air loss while simultaneously performing vital material handling functions that ensure the efficiency of that system. 


Rotary airlock valve specifications then are tailored to meet application requirements for the material handling system. Minimized air loss prevention between equipment before and after the rotary airlock affects differing levels of pressure or vacuum of the material handling system. It also is utilized to control the processing and feed rate of the material. For example, the design requirements of a dust collection system must allow for continuous product discharge without shutting off the vacuum to remove the accumulated material. Rotary airlocks are vital to the operation of pneumatic conveying systems to ensure that the vacuum stream has sufficient pressure to convey the material it is designed for with minimal loss of air.

Rotary airlock valves are housed in a cast iron or stainless steel body that consists of two end covers, an internal rotating rotor, and a drive package. Inlet and outlet ports are located on either side of the body that allows the material to enter and exit the valve. Some rotary airlocks have specialized treatments such as chrome coatings, ceramic lining or other coatings, depending on the application requirements.

Another aspect of rotary airlocks is the vane specifications within the valve assembly. Vanes are metal blades affixed to a rotor shaft within the housing that rotates like a paddlewheel during operation. When the vanes are turned, the space or pockets between them are filled evenly with bulk material being fed through an inlet port. As the vanes rotate within the valve, the material within the pockets is distributed evenly and emptied via an outlet port. 

The size and number of vanes within the rotary airlock is determined by the handling requirements of the material. The higher number of vanes provides a greater sealing ability of the valve. On the other hand, the more vanes there are, the less pocket space there is between the blades. Specifications should take in such considerations. For example, larger pocket sizes are used in processing larger material, or material that is easily compressed or sticky. In contrast, heavier materials or those that flow quickly are not affected by the number of vanes and pocket size. 

Prater Rotary Airlock Feeder Valves

At Prater, the rotary airlock feeder valves are configured and designed with larger pockets, which provide up to 50% more volume, which runs at lower speeds and requires less energy. There are several rotor options designed for different applications. Dust Collector Series rotary airlock valves are designed for general use dust collectors, cyclones, and hoppers that process small or fine grains, meals, and granules. Heavy-Duty PAV Series rotary airlocks offer solutions where air pressure differential or pneumatic conveyance is required, such as dry, free-flowing powder material. For abrasive resistant and corrosive material products and applications, Abrasion Resistant rotary airlocks are the most durable rotary valve. The valves undergo special treatment processes to withstand high abrasive material that would otherwise subject valves to constant wear.  

Prater rotary airlocks are instrumental components for applications requiring bulk and specialty material processing. Utilized in industrial and agricultural handling systems, Prater rotary airlock valves provide reliable solutions and maximum efficiency for feeding and metering operations.