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Spiroflow Aero-Mechanical Conveyors – A Moving Story!

Production facility with conveyor solutions

Discover how Keeling & Walker Ltd transformed their handling of challenging materials with Spiroflow aero-mechanical conveyors. Thanks to Spiroflow’s outstanding conveyor technologies, the company managed to achieve unparalleled operational efficiency and environmental improvements. This text sheds light on their journey towards optimal conveyor solutions.

How Did Keeling & Walker’s Quest for Efficient Conveyor Technologies Start?

Keeling & Walker Ltd of Stoke-on-Trent, UK, is the world’s largest producer of tin oxide. Not only is tin oxide a very abrasive material, but it is also very difficult to handle. It smears, doesn’t flow well, and readily bridges. Back in early 2007, the company’s operations manager, Martyn Pedley, came to choose a replacement for a troublesome bucket elevator. 

He was concerned about finding conveyor solutions that would be good enough for the job and would also be able to eliminate the fugitive emissions to improve the working environment. The problems with the bucket elevator were caused by the abrasive product getting into the chains and other mechanical parts. As a result, it had become too costly to maintain.

The Company’s Next Step – Considering Spiroflow’s Conveyor Technologies

After trawling the pages of the technical magazines that Martyn Pedley keeps on his office shelves for reference, he concluded that either a flexible screw conveyor or an aero-mechanical conveyor would be possible solutions. He contacted three companies and made arrangements to conduct trials at their respective test centers. Spiroflow was included among them because of a technical article comparing the merits of various conveyor types.

How Spiroflow Overcame the Obstacles in Choosing the Right System for Keeling & Walker

Continuous trials here at Spiroflow’s facility soon indicated that, over time, tin oxide would smear onto the inside wall of a flexible screw conveyor conveying tube, building up to the point where it would likely bind and cause premature failure. As a result, the trials were re-run in an aero-mechanical conveyor, and all the indications were that this was the ideal solution. Spiroflow’s aero-mechanical conveyor was installed in March 2007 and has performed to Keeling & Walker’s satisfaction ever since.

Aero mechanical conveyor inside a factory

Keeling & Walker – Pioneers in Tin Oxide Innovations

Keeling & Walker Ltd and its sister company Thermox Performance Materials Ltd operate from the same site in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Between them, they offer more than 50 tin oxide-based materials for use in ceramics, electrical, electronics, and advanced technology applications. 

They are based in Stoke, as their origins were in the supply of materials for the local ceramics industry. Although that industry has declined, the company has successfully developed tin oxide products for new applications as well as expanded to service the ceramics industry globally. To learn more about Keeling & Walker, you can visit their website.

Today, a staggering 95% of their production is exported – which is great news for the British economy! High-purity tin is sourced from commodity markets around the world and transformed into oxides of many varieties and grades by both thermal and chemical processes. Keeling & Walker’s tin oxides find applications in numerous production industries. Their tin oxides are used in:

  • Ceramic colors and glazes,
  • Electrodes for glass melting,
  • Electrical contact materials,
  • Electrical and electronic components,
  • Brake pads and polishing materials,
  • Sputtering targets,
  • Anti-static coatings,
  • Fillers for plastics,
  • Transparent electrically conductive materials for displays,
  • Infrared-reflective coatings for energy-efficient glass,
  • Catalysis and gas detection,
  • Medical applications.

The Company Continues to Evolve and Invest in Their Operations

Over the last two years, Keeling & Walker have invested heavily in improving the efficiency of their production processes to remain competitive in their global market. Martyn Pedley set about upgrading the packaging lines to reduce their labor-intensive nature and eliminate dust in the atmosphere. To do this, additional industrial conveyor systems were required to transfer tin oxide from the reverse-jet filter hoppers, where it is collected after undergoing the thermal process, to the storage hoppers above the packing machines.

Spiroflow Was the Automatic Choice for Providing New Conveyor Technologies 

According to Martyn Pedley, “Spiroflow aero-mechanical conveyors were my automatic choice, I didn’t look elsewhere based on the performance of the unit installed in March 2007, the service that I received at that time, and the after-sales service I have enjoyed since. There was a minor teething problem with the first conveyor. A Spiroflow service engineer not only remedied that very quickly, he even took the trouble to stop by a few days later to check that all was still well.” Mr. Pedley continues, “The fact that the conveyors are totally enclosed has made a massive difference to the cleanliness of our factory.”

Keeling & Walker bought another Spiroflow aero-mechanical conveyor in February 2008 and then two more in September 2008. The original conveyor is 3 m long and operates vertically. The other three are 5 meters long and operate at around 50 degrees to the horizontal. Spiroflow’s aero-mechanical conveyors can operate at any angle from horizontal to vertical – without any change in performance. The industrial conveyor systems at Keeling & Walker operate 24/7.

Aero-mechanical conveyor in a production facility

Contact Us at Spiroflow and Start Your Journey to Better Conveying

Embark on a journey to revolutionize your conveying processes with Spiroflow. As leaders in the material handling industry, we offer outstanding conveying solutions that enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and elevate productivity. Our expert team of conveyor manufacturers is dedicated to understanding your unique challenges and crafting tailored systems that align with your goals. 

From innovative conveying technologies to comprehensive process solutions, Spiroflow is your partner in achieving operational excellence. Contact us today to explore how our cutting-edge equipment and unparalleled expertise can transform your business operations. Let’s start your journey to better conveying together. 


Why Did Keeling & Walker Choose Spiroflow Aero-Mechanical Conveyors?

Keeling & Walker opted for Spiroflow aero-mechanical conveyors due to their ability to efficiently handle abrasive and difficult-to-manage tin oxide. After experiencing issues with a bucket elevator, they sought a reliable solution that could eliminate fugitive emissions and reduce maintenance costs, finding Spiroflow’s conveyor technologies to meet these needs perfectly.

How Did Spiroflow’s Technology Stand Out for Keeling & Walker?

Spiroflow’s technology stood out for its capacity to prevent tin oxide from smearing and building up within the conveyor system, a problem identified with flexible screw conveyors during trials. The aero-mechanical conveyor provided an ideal, maintenance-friendly solution, ensuring operational efficiency and product handling integrity.

What Were the Operational Benefits of Using Spiroflow Conveyors?

The operational benefits of using Spiroflow’s industrial conveyor systems included enhanced efficiency, cleanliness in the factory environment due to the enclosed system, and a significant reduction in maintenance costs. These factors contributed to a satisfactory performance that met Keeling & Walker’s strict requirements.

How Has Keeling & Walker Production Benefited From Spiroflow’s Solutions?

Keeling & Walker production has greatly benefited from Spiroflow’s conveying solutions through improved handling of tin oxide, leading to a cleaner work environment and more efficient production processes. The reliability and performance of Spiroflow’s conveyors have supported the company’s global market competitiveness and operational excellence.

Why Should Other Companies Consider Spiroflow for Their Conveying Needs?

Companies facing challenges with handling abrasive or difficult materials should consider Spiroflow for their conveying needs due to its proven track record of delivering effective, efficient, and reliable conveyor solutions. Spiroflow’s expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction ensure tailored solutions that meet specific operational requirements, enhancing productivity and environmental standards.