There are several solutions, but most have drawbacks. Air cannons and vibrators, for example, are noisy, can structurally damage the container, and are ineffective against wet and sticky materials. Fluidizers are only effective over a small radius and must be installed inside the bin. Live bottom dischargers are costly, especially for retrofits, maintenance-intensive, and don't work well with sticky and wet powders. The Airsweep from Myrlen Inc., Coral Gables, Fla. (airsweeps.com), uses a high-velocity air pulse sent along the container wall to dislodge up to an 8-ft diameter of material. The system operates independently or can be controlled as part of a larger automated process. It is said to readily retrofit on existing containers and installs on the outside, so container capacity is not affected. It uses little compressed air (2.4 ft3/pulse) and operates at temperatures to 900°F and above.
Keeping the material flowing
Companies that store and use large quantities of powder or granular materials often have problems with it sticking, clumping, and not flowing properly, especially when it is kept in large bins.