The evolution of the Fuller-Kinyon® Pump

Published 18 April 2018

The Fuller-Kinyon® Pump is celebrating its centenary this year. On this occasion, ICR interviews FLSmidth to discover more about the history of the pump.

ICR: What is the Fuller-Kinyon® Pump?
The Fuller-Kinyon Pump acts as a line charger. Dry pulverised, free-flowing materials are mixed with air in the pump discharge housing, assuming a flowing, liquid-like condition. In this fluidised condition, the pulverised materials can move through a pipeline as a relatively dense column, and at low velocity by kinetic energy of expanding compressed air and the displacement of the material into the pipeline by the pump itself.

Alonzo G Kinyon, inventor of the Fuller-Kinyon® pump

ICR: What can you tell us about Alonzo Kinyon, the inventor of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump?
With the first prototype Fuller-Kinyon Pump built in 1918, the special pneumatic conveying system was adopted a year later by Alonzo G Kinyon of the Fuller-Lehigh Co. Keen to address safety issues, Alonzo Kinyon had developed practical methods of burning pulverised coal in boilers and furnaces. In several states, legislation threatened the prevailing application of burning pulverised coal, because of the extreme hazards associated with mechanical conveyors. The Fuller-Kinyon Pump was invented for the specific purpose of eliminating the fire and explosion hazard in the conveying of pulverised fuels. The risks of dust explosion were tragically demonstrated when an explosion killed seven men – unbelievably including Mr Kinyon’s only son – just as they were attempting to improve safety by replacing a mechanical system with the Fuller-Kinyon Pump in a steel plant in Ohio.
On 2 June 1926, the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, acting through its committee on science and the arts, awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal to Alonzo G Kinyon for his new and important improvements in the art of conveying pulverised materials.
ICR: What would cement producers do to move dry powder before this invention?
Prior to the development of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump and the pneumatic conveying of powdered materials through a pipe, the materials would be transferred from point to point using mechanical means. Equipment such as belt conveyors, screw conveyors and bucket elevators were used to move the product through horizontal and vertical distances. Although these modes of conveying are still used today, they are maintenance intensive and can create a dusty atmosphere in the areas of use. The Fuller-Kinyon pump system provided a more flexible means of moving pulverised products around a plant in a dust free environment.
ICR: How did cement plant layouts change in the 1930s as a result of the impact of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump?
I am not sure plant layouts changed with the introduction of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump. The pump provided a means to better transport various products around the plant in a dust-free environment. Also, since the conveying was carried out through pipe, it was easy to adapt the conveying to existing plant layouts where using the mechanical methods would prove difficult. After the 1930s, the cement industry started changing its production methods from a wet process to a dry process. This meant that the raw materials were handled as a wet slurry mixture. The advent of the dry process meant the raw materials would be handled as dry powders. The Fuller-Kinyon Pump was a perfect means to handle these dry powdered materials in the newer cement production process.
ICR: What was the pump’s importance in the building of the Hoover Dam in 1936?
Once the contractors began producing concrete for the dam, they needed a constant supply of cement to produce the concrete. The government purchased cement in multiple contracts of 281,000t quantities. The cement was shipped in bulk to a cement blending plant, situated on the south side of the aggregate bins at the high level mixing plant. The cement was unloaded and conveyed to the storage silos of the blending plant by Fuller-Kinyon pumps.
ICR: How have alternative fuels given this product a new lease of life?
I would not necessarily say that alternative fuels produced a new lease of life for the pump. The Fuller-Kinyon Pump did, however, improve the method of handling pulverised fuels for firing of kilns, preheaters and dryers for the cement industry. In many plant locations the coal mills were not located near the firing points. That made it necessary to double-handle the fuel to the direct firing system. The pump made it possible to transport the fuel long distances and feed directly to the burners in a pulsation-free method to promote steady flame profiles, which is extremely important for stable operation.
ICR: What have been the main generational changes to the Fuller-Kinyon Pump?
While there have been many changes to the Fuller-Kinyon Pump over the past 100 years, the last 40 years have been the most important changes with regard to improving the life of wear parts and reducing maintenance costs. These later changes are as follows:

Type M Fuller-Kinyon Pump

1976: Type 'M' Fuller-Kinyon Pump introduced
This is the current design standard of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump. It is a total redesign from earlier models. The earlier models used an overhung screw design, while the Type 'M' Fuller-Kinyon Pump supported the screw with a bearing on the drive and discharge end of the screw. This allowed the internal screw to operate with less vibration and could be operated with varying feed capacities without causing damage to the screw flights and barrel liners. The previous design relied on constant material feed to support the overhung screw within the barrel. With this design change the life of the internal wear parts was extended, reducing frequency of replacement.

Z-Flap conversion kit

1985: Z-Flap conversion kit
This conversion kit was produced as a means to provide a discharge end bearing for the earlier Type 'H' Pump design, eliminating the overhung screw design. As a result, installations using the older version Type 'H' Pump have the ability to improve the existing pumps without the need to replace them with the newer style. This change increased the life of the pump wear parts, reducing maintenance costs.

1989: pressurised bearings
Pressurisation was adopted to the bearing housings of the Type 'M' Pump and the discharge bearing of the 'Z' Flap Pump as a means to prevent material from migrating into the bearing cavity and causing premature bearing failure. This significantly reduced bearing failures, reducing maintenance costs and pump downtime.

Split pump screw design

1999: split pump screw design
Another key ingredient to reducing pump maintenance was the adoption of a split screw design. The two-piece design for the Type 'H' Pump and the three-piece design for the Type 'M' Pump were significant improvements. This allows the customer to replace only a portion of the pump screw faster and at a lower material cost. For the Type 'H' Pump, the split screw design allowed the reduction of spring tension of the graphite seal in the air-cooled seal assembly. This reduction of tension has extended the life of the graphite seal, again reducing operating cost for the customer.
The Pneu-Flap™ pneumatic flapper torque controller
The flapper valve located at the discharge of the pump acts as a non-return check valve, which helps maintain a material seal against the pressurised convey line. The Pneu-Flap™ replaces counterweights on the flapper valve arm, now providing a constant torque through the full range of motion of the flapper valve, maintaining a good material seal at all times between the pressurised convey line and the pump screw. Designed to be easily adjustable for specific operating conditions, the Pneu-Flap torque controller minimises component wear and improves performance by optimising the flapper valve torque.

Ful-Coat™ series Silver Carbide™ Pump Screw

The Ful-Coat™ series Silver Carbide™ Pump Screw
This new design is made to extend the screw life of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump. A tungsten carbide coating is applied for additional wear resistance. FLSmidth’s pump screw has 150 per cent more hardened flights, 33 per cent thicker side hard-facing and 100 per cent thicker face hard-facing than non-FLSmidth pump screws.
Fuller-Kinyon Auto-Lube lubrication system
This is the latest design improvement for the Fuller-Kinyon Pump. The Auto-Lube system is designed to automatically deliver the precise amount of lubrication required for each Fuller-Kinyon pump while monitoring the bearing temperatures. The bearings, seals and blowout lever shaft of the flapper valve are lubricated on an adjusted hourly interval. Due to its two-litre capacity of grease, the Fuller-Kinyon Auto-Lube system can deliver up to four months of continuous lubrication between refills, while continually monitoring bearing temperatures to prevent and reduce failures from improper lubrication.
ICR: How will FLSmidth celebrate the 100 years of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump?
FLS Pneumatic Transport will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Fuller-Kinyon Pump between 19-21 September. The celebration will include events in Lancaster and at the Manheim plant in Pennsylvania. Our goal is to have 100 customers in attendance, and there will be informative presentations, substantial equipment and service incentives, and of course, plenty of food and drink offered to stimulate interest.