The move comes as a result of legislation changes made by the European Commission in February 2020, in classifying titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a suspected carcinogen (cat 2) by inhalation. The regulation becomes official on 1 October 2021, meaning that businesses handling TiO2 will need to upgrade the containment of their processes, so that their operators are protected. Even products containing as little as 1% TiO2 will need to be included.
TiO2 is an inert inorganic compound that is used as a white pigment in many industrial applications. These applications include the manufacture of paints, coatings, printing inks and wall coverings where TiO2 plays a critical role in providing essential product properties: whiteness, covering power, brightness, stability and durability of colour that cannot be achieved with other raw materials. TiO2 is also used in many other consumer products such as foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Handling TiO2 in a production environment can often be problematic, particularly in conveying, where due to its cohesive properties, equipment such as screw conveyors can stall and ultimately fail. Dust and containment is also a major consideration.
Spiroflow regularly provides solutions for the safe and efficient handling of TiO2 through either their flexible screw or aero-mechanical conveyors. A flexible screw conveyor, having only one moving part – the spiral – makes it ideal for conveying TiO2. The pro-screw in the tube will move round in a spiral formation, the flat-leading edge and closer gap tolerance between the tube and the screw both assisting in reducing the product residue and smearing in the conveying tube, thereby limiting halts in production.
Spiroflow’s aeromechanical conveyor creates an airstream that moves the product up the tubes along with high-speed discs and a rope. TiO2 is conveyed in the air stream created by the rope and discs in the tube where the product is handled gently. This conveyor is a great choice for conveying TiO2 because any dust created during conveying will be all contained within the conveyor itself. This conveyor is contained, runs quietly, and with minimal energy, which also makes it a superior choice for conveying larger volumes of TiO2.
“As material handling specialists, we have always understood the need to test materials and to offer a proven solution to the customer,” said Jeannette Carter, a regional sales manager at Spiroflow with a NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. “With many years of experience, we’ve trialed and developed products to ensure the smooth running of difficult cohesive materials such as titanium dioxide, resulting in us developing our flexible screw conveyor, which prevents the smearing and potential buildup of material in the conveying tube. Typically, we’d still select the aero-mechanical conveyor when presented with applications, but use the pro-screw in a steel tube as a metering device to offer a guaranteed solution. Containment in delivery, either from a bulk bag or sack tip, is a major consideration and one we handle on a daily basis.”