Common Rotary Airlock Valve Problems

Common Rotary Airlock Valve Problems

In an industrial working environment, proper machine maintenance is always necessary. Good maintenance practices will help ensure a safe and efficient work environment for your team and your gear. That’s why it’s important to know the ins and outs of your machines, including common rotary airlock valve problems.

Air Leaks

There are two different types of leaks that can occur in a rotary airlock valve—clearance and displacement. Clearance leakage occurs when excessive air escapes through the blade-to-headplate/blade-to-housing clearances. Displacement leakage occurs when excessive air pockets build up in the machine’s rotary pockets as material passes through. Luckily, the solutions for these can be quite simple. Installing flexible seal strips can prevent clearance leakages from happening. Likewise, installing housing or headplate vents can help reduce the effects of displacement leakage. If you’ve taken these steps and leakage still occurs, then you may need to disassemble and replace parts of the rotary valve that are worn or broken.


Materials can become jammed between the rotor blades and headplate for various reasons. For instance, the issue can be as simple as installing a valve that isn’t properly sized for the materials moving through its system. Problems can often also be as simple as someone dropping a tool or object inside the machine on accident, maybe without even noticing. Changing temperatures can also affect the material inside, which in turn can have a negative effect on the machine. Once you pinpoint which issue is plaguing your machine, fixing it should be pretty simple.

Strange Noises

An assumption about industrial machines is that they are all very loud. However, rotary airlock valves tend to remain quiet when they operate, though it can make occasional noises when starting. There are some cases where strange sounds can point to a bigger problem. These problems include materials building up on the headplates or warping from materials passing through with higher temperatures than anticipated. The solution to these issues is similar to the previous step; find out which aspect of the valve isn’t working and replace or alter it to work better with the material you’re dealing with. That simple rule of thumb tends to apply to these common issues—simply find the right gear for the material your operation deals with regularly.

Common rotary airlock valve problems are common for a reason—they can happen to even the most prepared companies. Now that you’re outfitted with the knowledge of the problems that can occur, you can properly seek a solution when it happens to your equipment. So much thought goes into choosing and maintaining every piece of industrial equipment that it’s easy to get mixed up and choose the wrong component for your machines. Luckily, at DoverMEI, we’ll help you find and install the essential components of an industrial vacuum blower, as well as a bevy of other industrial equipment.