In an environment where product mixture is critical and rapidly failing sweep elbows were causing expensive downtime and EPA fines, Al Husni had to do something.

Husni is maintenance manager at ACRO Extrusion Corporation, a Wilmington, DE plant that produces vinyl window systems and extrusions. PVC resin runs from ACRO’s outdoor silos to the plant’s mixing room at a rate of as much as 34,000 pounds per day, and the abrasive product was causing the system’s sweep elbows to fail as often as every two to three weeks. Cleanup and repair was time-consuming and expensive, and any material released to the air or the ground required documentation and was subject to federal fines. 297

Frequent shutdowns weren’t the only inconvenience caused by failing sweep elbows at Montgomery County’s North Incinerator plant. They also created a cleanup nightmare every time the finely powdered limestone they were conveying exploded into the air like so much talcum powder.

The plant, which serves the Dayton area, also faced hefty downtime expenses if it stayed shut down too long, Plant Manager Dave Martin said.

Powdered limestone must be injected into the plant’s three incinerators to meet EPA air pollution control standards for sulfur dioxide emissions. The pneumatic conveying system used in this process contained long-radius sweep elbows. But these elbows proved unable to withstand the lime’s abrasive action. 288

HammerTek’s Smart Elbow deflection elbow handles a hopeless situation like just another day on the job.

Chromalloy’s Drilling Division produces ground barite (barium sulfate) at a plant in Houston, Texas. Barite is an abrasive material that was causing premature wear and plugging problems with the conventional elbows being used to transport it pneumatically from the plant’s grinding mills to its storage tanks. 279

HammerTek’s Smart Elbow® deflection elbows work so well because they don’t allow product to impact and erode their walls. No matter the product — from highly abrasive crushed granite to seemingly harmless sawdust — all have the ability, under high speed and pressure, to erode sweep elbows.

Time and again, the stainless steel elbows in the pneumatic conveying systems at the Pet Foods Division of Quaker Oats in Rockbridge, Ill., were wearing out prematurely — sometimes in less than three months. 272

Miaja Cornelius
A company that produces pipe was having some troubles of its own before HammerTek’s Smart Elbow® deflection elbow solved their problem.

Rensselaer Plastics Co. of Rensselaer, Ind., produces PVC piping products for the plumbing trade, with annual sales in the $40 million range. One process at the plant uses a pneumatic conveying system to transfer resin and pellets from storage hoppers to pipe extruders, and therein lay the plant’s Achilles Heel.


Miaja Cornelius
Like many other industries that need to move abrasive product through pneumatic lines, Essroc Materials Inc. has solved a lot of its plugging and wear headaches with HammerTek’s Smart Elbow deflection elbow technology.

Essroc, formerly Coplay Cement, is a wet-process cement plant in Frederick, Md., that produces 350,000 to 400,000 tons of cement annually using two 400-foot rotary cement kilns. 245

Mario Rezendes had a problem — until he discovered HammerTek’s Smart Elbow deflection elbow.

Rezendes, maintenance supervisor at Northwood Pulp and Timber Ltd. in Prince George, British Columbia, was facing a problem common in the pulp and paper industry: Moving product through bends in pneumatic lines where friction causes failure, leaks and downtime. 232

HammerTek’s patented Smart Elbow deflection elbow has proven itself as the smart solution for abrasive issues in pneumatic lines conveying products like oats, lime and wood particulates. But what about an intensely abrasive product like granite dust?

Western Paving Corp., a division of Western Mobil, has to move granite dust from one area to another in its manufacturing process. Granite dust from the kiln is collected and pneumatically conveyed to a point where it is combined with oil and returned to the mix. This compound then functions as a binding agent that is essential to the entire operation. 225

The ability of HammerTek’s patented Smart Elbow deflection elbows to eliminate elbow wear due to abrasive impact and friction has made a major impact on downtime at a high-volume municipal wastewater treatment facility serving the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

As the primary wastewater treatment facility for the city of Alexandria and Fairfax County, Va., the Alexandria Sanitation Authority’s sewage plant operates 24 hours a day with a volume that can exceed 80 million gallons per day. For pH control, the operation uses a half-million pounds of pelletized lime per month, conveyed from trucks to 70-foot silos via twin four-inch lines. 219

One of the benefits of HammerTek’s patented Smart Elbow deflection elbow design is the reduction in friction and heat that results from keeping material from contacting the walls of its pipe elbows.

Getting rid of that friction has done nothing but good for Schmalbach-Lubeca’sBlythewood,South Carolinalocation. One of the company’s 63 plants worldwide producing millions of plastic beverage bottles daily, ­the Blythewood plant was using long-radius elbows to convey PET Poly Pellets from rail car to silo, and from silo to molding. 213

If an elephant truly can be eaten “one bite at a time,” then it stands to reason that something as light and fluffy as a dried oat can — eventually — blast a hole through a cast-iron pipe elbow.

As long as that elbow isn’t a HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbow.

Prior to 1985, National Oats of Cedar Rapids, IA, had been conveying oats for its oat cereal and oat flour from its outdoor storage tanks to its indoor blending vessels the old-fashioned way: using an 8-inch pipeline with ceramic sweep elbows everywhere that line turned. 206

Frequent shutdowns weren’t the only inconvenience caused by failing sweep elbows at Montgomery County’s North Incinerator plant. They also created a cleanup nightmare every time the finely powdered limestone they were conveying exploded into the air like so much talcum powder.  To read the full Case Study click here.


Greg Sosenheimer’s maintenance problems were starting to grate on his nerves almost as much as his product was wearing down the pipe elbows in use at his Ft. Wayne, IN plant. You can read the full case study here.


Close to five years after HammerTek did a case study on the 120 Smart Elbow deflection elbows installed at RheTech, Inc., we checked in with them to find out how the 120 elbows were holding up. RheTech is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of proprietary thermoplastic polyolefin alloys and compounds which are sold to the transportation and consumer durable goods markets. RheTech uses additives such as minerals and fiber reinforcements in their products, which are highly abrasive. Gary Wright, Director of Plant Engineering, told us that after almost six years of operation, no elbows have worn out or been replaced. For the full case study, click here.


At PECO Energy Company’s Eddystone facility, standard type 316L stainless pipe elbows frequently wore out, creating a wide range of costly problems. The Philadelphia-area power plant was experiencing magnesium oxide leaks from the bottom and top of their stainless-steel elbows in the line that releases pressure from the system. A hole would appear every four to six months due to wear in the elbow, releasing a mass of MgO dust throughout the plant. While an obvious environmental safety concern, the powdery material also caused expensive cleanup and repairs — about $4000 a year in labor alone. For the full case study, click here.


The pulp and paper industry is no stranger to the problems that result from the demands that wood chips and dust put on conveying systems. That’s why when a engineers at a British Columbian sawmill designed their new pneumatic conveying system, they were sure to specify a manufacturing elbow that could withstand the abrasive nature of cedar by-products without plugging. For the full case study, click here.


Smart Elbow deflection elbows can offer benefits beyond solving manufacturing problems. When Miller Brewing Company needed a space-saving design solution, they found the elbows solved their predicament and saved them money in the process.


When the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority (UOSA) experienced a blowout, it caused not only costly and time-consuming downtime and cleanup, but also health risks and safety concerns. Thanks to the Smart Elbow deflection elbow from HammerTek Corp., the wastewater treatment plant hasn’t had an elbow failure again since installation. Click here to read the full case study.


HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbows reduce the costly headaches of manufacturing plug-ups. Read how we solved this problem for Fiberglas Canada by reading the full case study here.


RheTech, Inc. was all too familiar with worn out elbows in their plant.

When Gary Wright, Director of Plant Engineering, had one of the Smart Elbow deflection elbows they had installed a year earlier pulled to check for wear and tear, he assumed it would require considerable repair, if not replacement. “After one year in service, we could still see the casting marks,” said Wright. “By now, we would have been through four or five sweep elbows and 12 rolls of duct tape.” He added, “We’re impressed.”

Five years later, we checked back with RheTech to see how the Smart Elbow units were holding up. None of the 170 Smart Elbow deflection elbows installed had worn out or been replaced since the installation six years earlier. 137