For a lot of companies, storing bulk solids is a vital part of the manufacturing or distribution process. Often, powder or ground material is kept in large containers before being combined with other materials or moved into much smaller containers before being sold on elsewhere. While it frequently makes sense to keep the dry powder in large containers, this method of storage isn't without its problems. If you have ever worked with bulk solids in any capacity, then you will be well aware that they don't always flow well from one container to the next. When you can't maintain a steady flow of the material, then there are always delays while you try to restart the flow.
How can you deal with flow problems
When your material won't flow in the way that you wish, there are two common ways of dealing with the problem. You can try pounding on the side of the container nearest to the blockage in the hope of dislodging the stuck piece and restarting the flow. Alternatively, you could try climbing into the container and poking the material, but this is potentially very dangerous and can also lead to contamination issues. Fortunately, a far better option is available. Why not use flow aids instead?
What are flow aids?
Flow aids are used to facilitate the movement of dry materials from one location to another. They are available in three varieties. You could purchase pneumatic flow aids, chemical flow aids and mechanical flow aids. Pneumatic air cannons and air pads are possibly the most common type of flow aids. These flow aids use blasts of air to dislodge stuck particles and maintain a steady flow of material. Chemical flow aids include magnesium stearate and similar chemicals which help the material flow by reacting with it. Another common type of flow aid is agitation or vibration. This mechanical type of flow aid uses constant movement to stop a build-up of material occurring at any single location.
Every material moves a little differently, so you will need to work with your engineering department to identify the most suitable flow aids for your situation. Your local supplier may also be able to advise you on the materials with which their flow aids are most commonly used. Flow aids are the most effective way to ensure that you can maintain a regular, even flow of material from every container on your site.