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Need to Clean the Pipes?
Need to Clean the Pipes?
Sludging is not an uncommon issue when it comes to dip systems and it can be a costly nuisance. Clogged pipes, extensive PM's, buildup on the line, conveyors and in the dip tank.  Is there a sure fire way to put an end to sludge?
Enlarged View of Sediment/Sludge
The Causes of Sludge
Most dips contain coarse clays that require extensive high shear mixing or steam (hot water) in order to swell the particles or suspend them in solution.  Suspending the clay particles is imperative to assure they don't fall out of the solution, dropping to the bottom of the tank as sediment or sludge. 

The best way to suspend clay particles without hot water is to use high shear mixing. Using a propeller blade in your mix tank is probably making the problem worse because it does not provide any shear to break up the particles; it just 'sloshes' them around the tank and then they settle somewhere else (like a pipe or pit). 

Even slurry products are prone to sludge.  Slurry products contain pre-swelled clays that tend to cling to the sides of tanks and in hoses.  To properly disperse a pre-swelled clay dip, it is necessary to mix with either hot water or to use a high shear mixer like a Cowles or Rotor-Stator type.  Otherwise, the slurry tends to clump and cling.
Clay sediment found in a pipe used to carry anti-tack from a 'Holding' tank to a 'Dip' tank.

Non-functional fillers used in anti-tacks such as calcium carbonate, are not water soluble and tend to fall out of suspension.  These particles are deposited in tanks, pipes and even on the surface of the rubber.
Sludge from a Slurry Mixing Station
1.  Improve Mixing (High Shear - Cowles Blade or Rotor-Stator)
2.  Heat It Up (Use Hot Water in Mix Tank)
3.  Upgrade Anti-Tack (Switch to an Anti-Tack without Clay or Nonfunctional Fillers)

Looking for a Solution?

Stop by Blachford's booth (835) at the International Elastomer Conference in Pittsburgh for a free consultation.
The information in this newsletter is provided for educational purposes only by H.L. Blachford.  No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without the express written consent of H.L. Blachford.  Should you have questions or comments please send them to
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