Bin activators and discharge aids are solids feeder valves with integral vibrators to promote material flow and prevent material bridging. They are used to promote the steady flow of granular or powdered materials from storage bins, hoppers, or silos. Bin activators and discharge are made of stainless steel or carbon steel and mount directly to material handling equipment. Most products include a unitized vibrator or gyrator that moves dry material toward a narrow opening on a first-in, first-out basis. Cone-shaped, dish-shaped, or multi-sloped baffles promote mass flow and reduce particle segregation. To prevent slippage or leakage, a heavy-duty sleeve can be attached with steel clamps or bolts. In some cases, vibratory bin activators and discharge aids are used in conjunction with aerators or bin fluidizers, devices which inject air along an internal area of the bin to break up bridges or arches in bulk material.
Product specifications for bin activators and discharge aids include materials of construction, number of baffles, baffle shape, outer diameter (OD), inner diameter (ID), and mounting style. Outlet sizes are based on the required flow rate or connections to downstream equipment. Bin activators with unitized vibrators or gyrators carry specifications for motor speed, power, force, and voltage. Motor speed measures the speed of the rotating element and is typically expressed in revolutions per minute (rpm). Power, the motor output rating, sometimes reflects nominal rather than exact values. For motorized vibrators or gyrators, force represents the centrifugal force generated by the rotating eccentric mass. For piston-based devices, force is added by the reciprocation. For both types of bin activators and discharge aids, force is typically measured in pounds (lbs).
Bin activators and discharge aids include air cannons, bin aeration systems, bin activator systems, and bin vibrators. Air cannons use large pressurized blasts over a short time period to help move the material. Bin activators are cone or funnel-shaped systems that use vibrators and a cone/funnel attachment. They may also include a cone-shaped baffle. Bin vibrators are industrial vibrators that can be attached to the exterior of a bin, hopper, or silo to help with the movement of material. Other types of bin activators and discharge aids are also available.
Bin activators and discharge aids differ in terms of features, approvals and certifications. Some products are washdown-capable or rated for sanitary applications such as food processing and beverage bottling. Others provide explosion-proof housing or intrinsically safe (IS) wiring for hazardous areas or potentially explosive environments. Bin activators and discharge aids with abrasion-resistant surface coatings and adjustable nozzles are also available. Suppliers usually indicate whether a bin activator complies with standards from organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
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