Understanding the 3 Main Types of Flow Aids and Their Applications

Flow aids, as the term suggests, are systems installed to assist in the transportation of materials through containers or chutes. Besides, you can find them in conveyors as well as continuous flow process equipment. This post will discuss the three main types of flow aids and their applications. Continue reading the post to learn more:

Chemical Flow Aids

Various chemicals are useful flow aids and help in altering the flow of bulk materials. Such additives function by guarding the host particles against bonding together through surface-coating particles. Mostly, they are in powder forms like silicates, phosphates and stearates, and their effectiveness can be determined by running a strength test on lab samples. 

One consideration when using chemical flow aids is the compatibility with the material and processes involved. Besides, the additives and additional equipment costs required for the mixing process are of great essence. However, chemical flow aids should be your last resort when fixing flow problems. 

Mechanical Flow Aids

Most industrial processes use mechanical flow aids to achieve proper material flow. They work through the application of physical force – generated by mechanical vibrations – to the bin equipment. Consequently, vibrators exert constant pressure on containing materials via the equipment's walls. You can often find them mounted on the silo's hopper section or transfer chute walls. 

In some situations, mechanical flow aids help revive flow in a plugged silo, but most of the times they are less productive and can even worsen the flow problem. Moreover, vibrating dischargers can overcome various flow problems. But before using them, you must have a clear perception of the flow pattern and materials used to achieve the desired results. If the discharger isn't significantly large to conquer rat-holing, flow stoppage problems occur. 

Pneumatic Flow Aids 

These flow aids have air cannons that operate by releasing high-pressure capacities into the silo. This fast action leads to the creation of shock waves that force the arch to break. Furthermore, the location, size and number of air cannons you require depend on the silo's dimensions and material's cohesive strength. Most applications require more than one air cannon, while others require multi-level cannon installations. 

Proper installation and use of pneumatic flow aids helps spur efficient material flow. But there are certain instances where you need to redesign or replace existing equipment, too. It can be challenging to determine whether flow aids are deficient in various setups, and you may end up installing too many air cannons on a single bin. Hence, this is not an economical and efficient way to achieve decent flow. 

Final Thoughts

These are the three main types of flow aids you can use in your applications. Hopefully you now have a clear picture of what to choose when finding perfect industrial flow aids supplies for your processes.