A common problem affecting rotary valve functionality is simply having to keep it clean. Each time material changes on a production line, the rotary valve needs to be scrubbed down to prevent contamination of the new product being processed. Cleaning equipment, in this case, requires shutting down production, so the more quickly it can be accomplished, the better. Due to this issue, many factories often use quick-clean rotary valves. 

Keeping a Quick-Clean Rotary Valve Functional

Operating in the same manner as an ordinary rotary valve, these quick-clean designs revolve around reducing the downtime associated with cleaning. Washing such rotary valves is a fairly straightforward process, with designs that typically allow operators to just pull the rotor out in order to clean it. These designs work especially well when needing to remove heavily caked deposits. One particularly innovative design for a rotary valve functions with the help of rails, which makes it much easier to take apart than traditional airlocks.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps for cleaning a quick-clean rotary valve on rails:

  1. Stop material flow.
  2. Lockout power and material flow. 
  3. Unscrew all T-handles from the endplate. 
  4. Set these T-handles aside.
  5. Take two T-handles and screw these into jack bolt holes. 
  6. When they bottom out against housing, continue turning..
  7. Once the endplate separates from housing, pull on T-handles 
  8. Draw connected endplate and rotor from housing together along rails
  9. This enables easy access to the housing to enable cleaning.
  10. Wipe the housing interior until clean. 
  11. Wipe rotors until clean. 
  12. Remove plastic cap from endplate. 
  13. Take the locator handle from the resting place. 
  14. Insert locator handle’s key pins into endplate.
  15. Use a locator handle to push the rotor back into housing. 
  16. Bring endplate within 3/8 inch of housing.
  17. Slightly rock locator handle until the keyway lines up inside.
  18. Push locator handle closed. 
  19. Place the locator handle back on the resting place.
  20. Replace plastic cap. 
  21. When screwing T-handles back in, an approach similar to tightening a gasket or nuts on car tires is best.
  22. It doesn’t matter which T-handle gets screwed back first, but the T-handle on the opposing side should be tightened next.
  23. Tighten each T-handle, and its twin on the opposing side, until all T-handles are properly tightened. 
  24. Turn power and material flow back on. 

Rotary valves should normally be cleaned about once every six months. However, it may require cleaning more or less often, depending upon the type of material normally passing through it. Keeping it clean keeps the rotary valve functioning properly. 

Quick Take Apart Series Rotary Airlock Valve on Rails by Prater Industries

Known as their QTA (short for “quick take apart”) series, Prater Industries has designed these specifically for production lines that require frequent removal of rotary airlocks for cleaning and other maintenance. One cutting-edge Prater design utilizes rails, with the rotary valve functioning to prevent the rotor from falling into hard-to-reach positions. A rail system also makes taking it apart simpler and quicker than with an ordinary rotary valve. Functionality of this model allows a quick-release for easily sliding the rotor assembly out without the need for tools or heavy lifting. Additionally, this model features triple the load capacity when compared to other rotary valves on the market. 

Prater’s QTA series of airlock valves also features: 

  • Direct drive design featuring fewer moving parts.  
  • Packing glands that self-adjust, enabling continuous packing pressure. 
  • Rail design with self-centering rotor for fast reassembly. 
  • Simple disassembly process to enable quick clearing of jams or for inspection. 
  • Standardized eight vein design with beveled tip that relieves rotor for smoother material transport. 

Other Prater QTA airlock valves function without the need for tools to disassemble them. Like the model that utilizes rails, the end plate and rotor on these airlock valves can also be removed as one piece to make cleaning easier. This has the advantage of doing away with the laborious task of gapping the rotor when reassembling the rotor valve. Functionally, this results in a swifter and simpler reassembly process, allowing the machinery to go back into operation more quickly after cleaning or maintenance.  For certain applications, these QTA rotary valves work better for operators, as the guide rails may require occasional maintenance.