Using flow-aid devices to create combined-flow silos
Incorporating a flow-aid device [or devices] into a silo designed according to mass-flow theory produces a combined-flow silo. Including the flow-aid device in the silo's design -- rather than adding the device to the silo after flow problems develop -- can provide several economic benefits, including increasing the silo's live capacity and allowing it to store more types of material. This article first describes material flow patterns and silo design, then discusses combined-flow silos. The last section describes how to select a flow-aid device for a combined-flow silo.
Mass-flow theory is used both to design new silos [containers approximately 5 tons or larger for storing bulk solid materials] and to solve flow problems in existing silos. Flow-aid devices, such as vibrators and aerators, are generally added to existing silos to solve flow problems. However, applying both mass-flow theory and flow-aid devices at the design stage can produce an optimized silo design -- called combined flow -- that combines mass flow with flow-aid-induced flow. A combined-flow silo can conserve capital, maximize the silo's available storage space, and provide greater live capacity than funnel-flow or mass-flow silos.