Pipeline Transport - A Division of Magplane Technology
Technology designs and fabricates pipeline transport systems using
the linear synchronous motor technology developed for the Magplane
system. Typical applications for pipeline transport range from
priority mail packages to ore transport. A typical ore application
would have an underground pair of 60 cm diameter pipes for outbound
and returning capsules, and typically carry 10 millions tons per
year over a distance of 50 km.
Electromagnetic drives for pipeline systems are intended to replace
pneumatic capsules. Pneumatic
capsule pipelines have a long history, and there are several large
scale systems in current use. Conventional pneumatic systems use
external blowers to move the column of air together with the
capsules in the pipe. Full-diameter valves are used to control the
injection, removal and subsequent return of capsules. Various
practical limits constrain the throughput of these systems and limit
their cost effectiveness.
use of electromagnetic drives can greatly improve on the constraints
which limit throughput in pneumatic systems, and can result in cost
effective systems able to compete with truck and rail transport.
Underground pipe transport can also relieve the environmental impact
of conventional transport, and result in faster delivery in
overcrowded metropolitan regions.
Magplane's development of capsule pipeline systems was initiated by
the desire of the Florida Phosphate Industry to find a cost
effective way to reduce the environmental impact of conventional
transportation of their very large quantities of material. That
industry projects, for example, as many as 30 million tons per year
of finished product flowing to the Port of Tampa from the mining
areas some 50 km out from the port. Trucks carry the bulk of current
production, and place a burden on the already stretched feeder and
highway infrastructure in the region. A 50 km pipeline from the
mining region to the port would be a potential solution, but would
need to be sufficiently cost effective relative to more conventional
transportation to result in a satisfactory return on capital.
Economic studies have been promising and have resulted in a
willingness of the phosphate industry to undertake a significant R&D
Since beginning the phosphate application work, Magplane has also
received serious expressions of interest from a large mining company
for the transport of ore from deep mines to their surface mills, and
from a large cement company seeking a viable alternative for their
more difficult long-length conveyor belt applications.
demonstration project which uses a linear synchronous motor to move
vehicles has been constructed at the IMC-Agrico Company in Lakeland,
FL. The demonstration utilizes 200 m of 60 cm diameter cylindrical
cast "waste water" fiberglass tube, and includes a 60 m long
accelerator/decelerator section, a switch, and load and unload
stations. The test vehicle traverses back and forth at a peak speed
of 65 km/hr. The 1.8 m long wheelbase vehicle uses six-wheel
assemblies at each end of a rotating hopper, and has a payload
capacity of 270 kg. The vehicle carries an array of neodymium-iron
boron permanent magnets which interact with the linear motor mounted
on the outside of the tube to provide propulsion, and with external
coils to provide an electromagnetic switch function.
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