History of Pneumatic Conveyors | Pneumatic Capsule Transport

01-pneumatic-conveying system plant - Coffee conveyor plant

Historical Development:

The basic Principles of Pneumatic conveying stated by Great Alexander in 100 BC itself. In pre historical age Romans used Water supply pipelines and sewage disposable systems. Chinese conveyed Natural gas through Bamboo’s. These are the evidence for transporting physical objects in Pneumatic tubes.

The first industrial application of pneumatic conveying was probably in the form of capsule transportation system in which materials are enclosed in cylindrical or spherical capsules of diameter only slightly less than that of the pipe line and then use the gas or liquid to propel the capsules from one end of the pipe line to the other. The first pneumatic capsule system was built and demonstrated in England in 1820’s by John Vallance. Considerable work on pneumatic capsule transport was undertaken by Pneumatic Despatch Company who laid an experimental tube, about 400 meters in length, along the bank of the river THAMES in London. Various similar tunnels and capsule systems were constructed in England to carry letters and parcels. Attempts were made in London and New York around 1860’s to use pneumatic capsule systems to carry passengers, but these attempts proved unsuccessful due to practical difficulties with human load. In 1864, Pneumatic railway line was built in Crustal palace to move a carriage, which had been fitted with a sealing diaphragm.

01-pneumatic conveying capsule line

01-pneumatic conveying tube - layout of pneumatic transport system

01-Concept model of vaccum tube trains

In 1847, Peugeot plant in France used pneumatic conveying plant for exhaust dust from number of grind stones with the help of an exhaust fan

01-first pneumatic conveying system

It was in 1866 that a demonstration was arranged by B.E. Startevant to show that solid particles can also be conveyed directly by a stream of air through a pipeline. The first experimental type of pneumatic conveyors were fan driven vacuum systems employed to transport food grains and sawdust. From the early years of 20th century high pressure air was employed in pneumatic conveying. In mid 1920’s the technique of fluidisation discovered and since then the technology of pneumatic conveying has grown enormously since 1970’s because of its suitability for modern industrial processes and economies of bulk handling methods. During the first World War, the development of pneumatic conveying was influenced by the high demand for foods, labour scarceness and risks of explosion. Since the pneumatic conveying systems were seen as the answer for those situations, so a huge evolution of pneumatic transport was achieved during that time period. In the post war period, pneumatic conveying systems were used for more industrial related materials like coal and cement. Beginning of theoretical approaches, invention of blowers, introduction of batch conveying blow tanks etc., were among the highlighted milestones of the evolution of pneumatic transport systems during the era.

Now-a-days, pneumatic handling of solids is common place in industries like pharmaceutical, cement, food, chemical, glass, plastic and mining etc. Some industries have transport objects for the distance of more than 40 km, material flow rate of few hundred tons per hour and solid loading ratio of more than 500 also possible.

Related Posts:

Lubrication and Lubricants | Lubrication System Parts and It’s Function | Types of Lubricants and How They are Used

Maximum performance with gear oils made by Klüber Lubrication

Objects of Lubrication:


To reduce friction between moving parts so as to reduce

  • Power loss
  • Wear of the moving parts


  • To provide cooling effect
  • To provide cushioning effect
  • To provide cleaning action
  • To provide sealing action

01 - lubricant preparation

Purpose of Lubrication:

  • To reduce friction
  • To cool down moving parts
  • To prevent corrosion (component wear from chemical reaction with air and the moist)
  • To prevent contamination

Requirements of Lubricants:

  • Viscosity
  • Physical stability
  • Chemical stability
  • Resistance against corrosion
  • Pour point
  • Flash point
  • Cleanliness
  • Resistance against extreme pressure

01- Requirements of Lubricants - What is a lubricant

Forms of Lubricant:

  • Liquid Lubricants (Ex. Petroil for automotive engines)
  • Semisolid Lubricants (Ex. Grease)
  • Solid (Dry) Lubricants (Ex. Graphite Powder and Molybdenum Disulfide)
  • Gas Lubricants (Ex. Pressurized Nitrogen gas)

Oil additives:

Oil additives are chemical compounds that improve the lubricant performance of base oil

  • Oxidation inhibitors
  • Corrosion inhibitors
  • Detergents and dispersants
  • Anti-scuff additives
  • Viscosity index improvers
  • Anti-foaming additives
  • Extreme pressure additives
  • Pour point depressants
  • Others

Classifications are:

  • Extreme pressure additives
  • Oxidation Inhibitors
  • Detergent  Dispersants
  • Rust Inhibitors
  • Foam Inhibitors
  • Pour point Depressants

01-list of additives - lubricant additive classification

Types of Lubricants:

  • Animal oils
  • Vegetable oils
  • Mineral Oils
  • Synthetic Lubricants
  • Greases
  • Solid Lubricants

01- types of lubricant

Viscosity ratings:

Lubricant grade standards are Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), International Standards Organization (ISO), American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA)


  • SAE ratings: 0W, 5W, 10W, 20W, 25W, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 150, 200, 300
  • API ratings:
  • Petrol Engines – SA, SB, SC,…… to SM
  • Diesel Engines – CA, CB, CC,…… to CH
  • Gear Oil – GL-1, GL-2, GL-3, GL-4, GL-5, MT-1

01 - Viscosity ratings of oil lubricants - Standard lubrication grades

Methods of Applying Lubricants:

There are Six main methods of applying lubricants:

  • Manual Methods – such as manual grease gun
  • Drip Methods – use gravity to supply oil drops
  • Automatic Grease Lubricators – A reservoir is used to supply grease. The grease is put under pressure by the action of a spring to supply grease at a pre-calculated amount
  • Bath method – such as in lubricating chains
  • Splash and submersion methods – such as in gearboxes, where splashing is performed by the rotating gears
  • Pressurized lubrication systems – such as in automotive engines


Testing of Lubricants:

Physical tests:

  • Viscosity test
  • Flash point and fire point test
  • Loss due to evaporation
  • Cold test or Pour point test
  • Specific gravity test

01 - saybolt viscometer - lubricant viscosity test

01- Flash point and Fire point test

01- pour point test

01 - specific-gravity-pycnometer-test

Chemical Tests:

  • Acid value test
  • Saponification value test
  • Insoluble residue test
  • Moisture and Emulsification test

01- acid value test

01-saponification test



Effect of Engine conditions or Lubricating oil:

  • Sludge formation
  • Lacquer formation
  • Oil dilution

Sources of Oil consumption in the engine:

  • Combustion
  • Loss through leakage
  • Loss through crankcase ventilation
  • Loss on account of wear of engine parts
  • Loss due to excessive vehicle speed

Main engine parts requiring lubrication:

  • Main bearings
  • Big end bearings
  • Gudgeon pin bearings
  • Piston rings and cylinder walls
  • Timing gears
  • Camshaft and camshaft bearings
  • Valve mechanism
  • Electrical equipment like distributor drive, generator, starting motor etc

Systems of Engine Lubrication:

  • Petroil system
  • Splash system
  • Pressure system
  • Dry sump system


Components of pressure system of lubrication:

  • Oil strainer
  • Oil pump
  • Oil filter
  • Oil level indicator
  • Oil Pressure gauge
  • Oil pressure warning light


Types of Oil pumps:

  • Gear pump
  • Crescent type gear pump
  • Rotor pump
  • Plunger pump
  • Vane pump

Oil Filtering systems:

  • By-pass system
  • Full flow system

Types of Oil filters:

  • Cartridge type
  • Edge type or Stack type
  • Centrifugal type

Lubrication system service:

  • Checking the oil level
  • Oil change
  • Checking the oil pump
  • Checking the Oil filter

Lubrication system troubles:

  • Low oil pressure
  • High oil pressure
  • Excessive oil consumption