If you have to manage the discharge of material from bulk containers into conveyance systems, you might have faced some struggle. It’s not uncommon for dry solids to flow out of hoppers or silos sporadically, making it difficult to measure a regular quantity of material. If your product has been sitting idle for a while, it might also be lumpy in places, making it challenging to move.

Bin Activators are the answers to this problem. They were developed first in 1960 and make it possible to control material flow rates and minimise bridging and rat-holing. How? Bin activators essentially vibrate granular materials to break them apart and maintain a consistent flow.

Bin activators are used in various industrial applications to facilitate the discharge of powders and grains, such as animal feed. They assist in transporting material smoothly and efficiently from a silo or hopper into a supply stream.

Here we’ll discuss the design and operation of Bin Activators.

The Design of Bin Activators

Bin activators consist of a tapered, vibrated cone. This is suspended beneath the bin where the material is stored. The outer cone of the activator is fixed firmly in the bin. The entire unit vibrates horizontally and relieves the weight of the material in the lower sections through the cone baffle.

This pushes the material to all sides, stopping it from bridging or rat-holing. Dry materials instead flow freely around the baffle towards the outlet. The vibration prevents the product from clumping together and sustains a consistent flow out of the hopper.

The Benefits of Bin Activators:

  • You can control the flow of material more easily
  • Even the flow of complex material is promoted and made easier
  • Vibrating blades in the Bin activator minimise bridging
  • You can effectively shut off material from the supply stream
  • Bin activators can be controlled manually, pneumatically or with electric controls
  • Designs are available in carbon steel or stainless steel
  • Prevent rat-holding, bridging and flushing of stored product
  • Minimise the degradation of the product
  • Keep a consistent bulk density, which allows for more consistent metering and weighing.
  • Save vertical space. Bin Activators fit seamlessly onto silos and hoppers without interrupting usable plant space.
  • Bin Activators aren’t very noisy.
  • They are thoroughly dust-tight, allowing for a contamination-free environment.
  • Interface directly with a feeder for effortless transport
  • Bin activators can help restart the material flow when materials have been standing idle for a while and might have solidified and clogged in places.
  • Available in a wide range of diameters plus different outlet sizes

Bin activators are used in the following industries:

  • Rice milling
  • Power plants
  • Salt processing
  • Rubber processing
  • Beverage processing
  • Sugar processing
  • Coal plants
  • Animal feed and grain
  • Plastic industries
  • Chemical plants

Depending on the industry, Bin operators can be fashioned with different specifications. Bin activators in the chemical industry often require explosion-proof motors, self-cleaning design and corrosion-resistant materials. Agricultural uses benefit from steeper cones that offer deeper penetration of the bulk material because the product is lighter and more springy.

In the food or dairy industries, the construction material must be FDA compliant and offer smooth, stainless steel construction. And for coal processing, the design should resist abrasion and withstand high temperatures.

Operating Bin Activators

The bin activator is fitted beneath a silo or hopper, where it shuts off the material effectively and limits the outlet diameter. This allows for better control over the released product, as it is funnelled into one narrower stream. This offers a more favourable outlet that can be controlled more efficiently and avoids stresses in the outlet region.

During operation, one or two electric vibrators fitted to the unit ensure consistent gyratory motion and allow the bulk of the material to flow through unhindered. The vibration breaks the forces of cohesion. Particles that might otherwise have bonded together remain broken apart.

From there, the bin activator usually moves the product onto a feeder or conveyor.

Once set up, bin activators are easy to operate and don’t require much maintenance or attention. They can continuously feed material into the process stream without a worker’s manual activation. They also need little maintenance attention.