Stored material often gets stuck during extrusion for use, causing an erratic flow. To counter the occurrence of clogs and the irregular flow of material from storage containers and bins, flow aids are highly recommended. Although primarily designed to increase flow for stored material, flow aids can also be used for continuous and conveyor material flow processes. This article discusses the three major types of flow aids currently in the market that you can consider.
1. Pneumatic Flow Aids
These flow aids include air cannons, air discharges and air pads, which work by using high-pressure air to break up material blocking in the hoppers. This enables the material to flow continuously with minimal build-up, especially after the material has been left to rest before use. One thing to note is that while air cannons are efficient at stimulating flow for material that does not clump, they are known to be less effective on material that consolidates after rest. Air pads and nozzles work by focusing a jet of high pressure on the material build-up blocking flow.
2. Mechanical Flow Aids
The most popular type of flow aids in use, mechanical flow aids are attached to the body of the storage container or chute. They deliver vibration to the walls of the container with the material, promoting continuous flow or unplugging blocked material flow. Mechanical flow aids are also effective at helping to clean out chutes that are regularly emptied between material refills. A downside to using this type of flow aids is that they can be fairly noisy as they involve moving parts. When poorly attached to the sides of the containing bin, excessive rattling can cause structural damage to the equipment.
3. Chemical Flow Aids
Due to the varying chemical composition of stored material, there exists a wide range of chemical flow aids to make rejuvenation of material flow an easy process. These flow aids work by separating individual material units or particles to prevent clumping and ultimately blocking of the containing chute. Most chemical flow aids are powder-based, although some are supplied in liquid form. These flow aids work by improving the ability of the material to be easily extruded even after long periods of storage. Qualities that chemical flow aids promote include moisture removal, material particles coating and antifreeze. Such characteristics make it possible to achieve regular material flow from materials that have been in the storage for a while.