Limestone Surge Bin Retrofit
This is an example of a limestone bin that is suffering from chronic bridging. It is a good example of an instance where the behavior of the Feeder is inducing rat-holing and bridging despite the fact that the bin is constructed with correct geometry.
The Existing Storage and Feed Arrangement and Why it is Suffering from Chronic Plugging and Inconsistent Discharge
The existing bin consists of several stacked chisel hoppers, and is discharged using a slide gate that opens from the middle outwards. To control the discharge onto the conveyor below, the slide gate opening is incrementally adjusted. Unfortunately, the system suffers from chronic rat-holing and bridging.
In summary, the bin is suffering from chronic plugging because when the slide gate is only partially open it induces a funnel flow discharge pattern despite the fact that the geometry of the storage bin is correct, where if the slide gate were removed, the bin would self-empty in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern. Funnel flow (which is a first-in, last-out discharge pattern) can be made to work with a large discharge outlet. However, when the discharge outlet is small, gravity is insufficient to overcome the strength of the bulk solid at the discharge outlet, and hence chronic bridging and rat-holing is expected.
As noted, the storage bin is designed to discharge in a mass flow, or first-in, first-out discharge pattern. The definition of mass flow is that during discharge, the entire mass of stored material comes down as a single body (single mass). To achieve this, material must discharge evenly from the entire discharge outlet of the storage bin. The tell-tale sign that you have mass flow is that material is sliding down the bin walls. In contrast, with funnel flow, material is stagnant along the hopper walls. When the slide gate is only partially open, then material is not permitted to withdraw evenly from the entire discharge outlet of the storage bin because the slide gate has limited the “live” opening. The result is stagnant material along the bin walls and a funnel flow discharge pattern.
The solution to fixing this problem bin is simple. Given that the bin geometry is correct, such that if the Feeder were removed, the entire bin would self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern, only the behavior of the Feeder needs to be fixed. In this case, the feeder must be fully effective, which means that it must withdraw material evenly from its entire opening. The attached solution pairs the bin with a Kamengo Feeder. The reason for doing so is that the Kamengo Feeder withdraws material evenly from its entire opening, which by definition is necessary to actually achieve a mass flow discharge pattern in the bin.
To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please visit KamengoU.