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Dewatered Nickel Laterite Tailings Truck Load-Out Bins

Dewatered Nickel Laterite Tailings Truck Load-Out Bins 

When a large nickel mine located in the South Pacific purchased two side-by-side truck load bins to handle a sticky, high-moisture content dewatered tailings, the mine chose Kamengo to design and deliver both the storage bins and Feeders because of our expertise, special equipment and long history of designing storage and feed arrangements handling very sticky and cohesive bulk solids.

 

The formula for designing a reliable truck load out system handling a cohesive material is to pair a correctly designed storage bin with a feeder that withdraws material evenly from its entire opening. The storage bin geometry, including bin shape and angle of sloping walls, must be chosen such that the stored material will discharge in a mass flow or a first-in, first-out discharge pattern. Further, the storage bin should discharge via a sufficiently wide and long opening, such that the material cannot bridge over the feeder. Finally, the feeder must withdraw material evenly from the full length and width of the bin discharge opening otherwise the whole bin/feeder arrangement will be susceptible to chronic rat holing.

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Kamengo’s Approach and Solution

Prior to starting equipment design, Kamengo conducted material flow testing using a sample of the dewatered nickel laterite. The testing includes a series of bench-scale tests that are used to derive the minimum geometry (angle of sloping walls, sloping wall material, discharge opening) required to reliably discharge a bulk solid. The standard that Kamengo uses, is that if the feeder were removed from the storage bin, it should completely self-empty with only the aid of gravity. If it cannot self-empty, then there is something wrong with the geometry of the storage bin.

 

To confirm both the geometry and suitability of the Kamengo Feeder, Kamengo conducted at-scale pilot testing. The testing included increasing the moisture content of the bulk solid until it was saturated to test the Feeder’s ability to discharge out-of-spec material.

 

In total Kamengo delivered two truck load out storage bins. Each storage bin is paired with a Kamengo Feeder. The strength of the Kamengo Feeder is that it withdraws material evenly from the entire width and length of the bin discharge opening. This is necessary when handling a difficult flowing material. A second advantage of the Kamengo Feeder is that it discharges over the length of the truck bed, allowing the truck to be filled without having to index it forward.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Concentrate Filter Cake Truck Load-Out Bin

Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Concentrate Filter Cake Truck Load-Out Bin  (A)

 

This case study is an example of a Kamengo truck load out bin discharging cohesive PGM filter cake into trucks. What makes this application challenging is that the filter cake will be stored in the storage bin for up to 72 hours and the material gains significant strength at rest. To overcome the shear strength of the bulk solid, the Feeder is discharging from a 10-foot (3m) wide bin opening. This installation went into service in 2020.

The Challenge and Kamengo’s Solution

Kamengo was chosen to deliver two truck load-out storage bins with feeders handling platinum group metals (PGM) concentrate filter cake. Each installation serves a different mine site. Each truck load-out arrangement includes a mass flow storage bin and Kamengo Feeder fitted with an integrated dust control system. Each storage bin is handling a PGM concentrate filter cake, and receives material directly from the filter press. Filter cake is expected to be stored in the storage bin up to 72 hours. To ensure material will not bridge over the Feeder, Kamengo delivered a 10-foot (3m) wide Kamengo Feeder. An advantage of choosing a Kamengo solution, is that the Kamengo Feeder handles loads very efficiently. As a result, a wide Kamengo Feeder is close to a tenth of the cost of an equally wide apron Feeder.

 

Both storage bins are located in a building. To minimize dusting, prior to discharging material into a truck, a Kamengo loading deck with a shroud lowers from the Kamengo Feeder over the truck bed. A dust control system holds the area within the shroud at a slight negative pressure. Air in the truck bed that is displaced by the falling filter cake is circulated first through self-cleaning filters, then through HEPA filters before being expelled into the building. Once the Feeder has completed a set number of strokes, equating the target discharge volume, the loading deck automatically raises.

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Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

Lithium Carbonate Precipitate Dryer Metering Bin

Lithium Carbonate Precipitate Dryer Metering Bin

When a new Lithium mine located in South America purchased a metering bin to feed lithium carbonate precipitate from its centrifuge discharge to deliver an even feed to its dryer, the mine chose Kamengo to design and deliver both the storage bin and Kamengo Feeder. Kamengo has a long history of designing storage and feed equipment handling cohesive materials.

 

The formula for designing a reliable metering bin handling a cohesive material is to pair a correctly designed storage bin with a feeder that withdraws material evenly from its entire opening. The storage bin geometry, including bin shape and angle of sloping walls, must be chosen such that the stored material will discharge in a mass flow or a first-in, first-out discharge pattern. Further, the storage bin should discharge via a sufficiently wide and long opening, such that the material cannot bridge over the feeder. Finally, the feeder must withdraw material evenly from the full length and width of the bin discharge opening otherwise the whole bin/feeder arrangement will be susceptible to chronic rat holing.

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Kamengo’s Approach and Solution

Prior to starting equipment design, Kamengo conducted material flow testing using a sample of the lithium carbonate precipitate. The testing includes a series of bench-scale tests that are used to derive the minimum geometry required to reliably discharge the bulk solid as well as make decisions on the internal geometry of the Kamengo Feeder. The standard that Kamengo uses, is that if the feeder were removed from the storage bin, it should completely self-empty with only the aid of gravity. If it cannot self-empty, then there is something wrong with the geometry of the storage bin.

 

In total Kamengo’s scope of supply included the hopper, Kamengo Feeder and discharge chute. The strength of the Kamengo Feeder is that it withdraws material evenly from the entire width and length of the bin discharge opening. This is necessary when handling a difficult flowing material. A second advantage of the Kamengo Feeder is that it delivers a very consistent feed which is necessary when feeding a bulk solid into a dryer.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

Cobalt-Hydroxide Filter Cake Dryer Feeder

Cobalt-Hydroxide Filter Cake Dryer Feeder 

 

This case study is an example of two Kamengo metering bins receiving cobalt hydroxide filter cake from a filter press and metering the wet cake to a dryer. This installation went into service in 2014. In 2019, the mine purchased an additional three Feeders.

The Challenge

Prior to the retrofit, the mine was discharging cobalt hydroxide filter cake from a filter press into a 60-degree plane flow hopper that necked down to an 18” screw feeder. This metering bin suffered from chronic plugging that was particularly disruptive to the mine operation. The filter press was expected to discharge in 3 minutes, however, to keep the level of material in the storage bin to a minimum, mine operators manual emptied the filter press plate by plate. This exhaustive process took three hours to empty to the filter press.

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Why the Current Storage and Feed Arrangement is Suffering from Chronic Bridging and Inconsistent Discharge

The existing screw feeder metering bin was suffering from chronic plugging for three reasons:

 

  1. Poor bin geometry. The sloping walls and discharge opening of the existing hopper above the screw feeder were insufficient to produce a reliable mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern. First, the sloping walls were too shallow. As a result, material could not slide along the hopper walls, but would instead try to slip within itself in a funnel flow, or first-in, last-out discharge pattern. Second, the discharge opening was to narrow. The narrower the opening, the less strength a material requires to form a stable arch that gravity cannot reliably break.
  2. The conveying action of the screw feeder, which is shearing material from the storage bin, was compacting the stored filter cake against the front of the bin wall. As the filter cake compacts, it gains significant shear strength. With enough compaction, the filter cake gains sufficient shear strength to bridge over the Feeder.
  3. The screw feeder had a propensity to withdraw material from the rear of the bin. This selective withdrawal of material, in addition to shallow sloping walls, induced a funnel flow, or first-in, last-out discharge pattern in the bin. In principle, there is nothing wrong with funnel flow as long as the effective opening of the bin exceeds the bulk solid’s piping dimension (or distance over which the bulk solid can form a stable rat-hole). Unfortunately, the piping dimension for cobalt hydroxide filter cake is quite large – in fact, it is larger than the metering bin. To handle cobalt hydroxide filter cake reliably without hang-ups it must be discharged in mass flow, or a first-in, first-out discharge pattern. To do so, the Feeder must withdraw material evenly from the hopper’s full discharge outlet.

Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to fix this cobalt hydroxide filter cake metering bin was to replace the storage hopper with a hopper with steeper hopper walls and a wide and long opening. The steeper hopper walls were required to promote a mass flow discharge, where material slides along the hopper walls. The wide and long discharge opening was required to ensure the material cannot bridge over the Feeder. By correcting the geometry of the storage bin, if one were to remove the feeder, the hopper would now self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern. To ensure the entire hopper and feeder arrangement is reliable, Kamengo paired the new hopper with a Kamengo Feeder. The value and necessity of the Kamengo Feeder is that it withdraws material evenly from the entire discharge opening of the storage hopper. By definition, to achieve mass flow, the bulk solid must descend the storage bin as a single body with all the stored material in motion, and the only way to achieve this is for the feeder to withdraw material evenly from its entire opening. If the Feeder withdraws material selectively from the bin discharge outlet, sections of material in the bin will be stagnant and funnel flow will ensue.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

Zinc Oxide Filter Cake Metering Bin

Zinc Oxide Filter Cake Metering Bin

 

This is an example of a zinc oxide filter cake metering bin that is suffering from chronic bridging.

The Existing Hopper and Why it is Suffering from Chronic Plugging and Inconsistent Discharge

The existing storage and feed arrangement consists of pyramid hoppers that converge to square openings. Under the pyramid hoppers is a variable pitch twin-screw feeder. Filter cake falls through breaker bars into the hoppers, from where it is metered by the screw feeder.

 

In summary, the pyramid hoppers are suffering from chronic plugging because the pyramid hoppers, with four sloping sides converging to a small opening combined with the uneven withdrawal by the screw feeder is inducing a funnel flow 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.

 

Further, the shearing action of the screw feeder below the pyramid hoppers is driving the filter cake against the discharge end of each hopper wall, compacting material at the discharge outlet. This compaction is problematic because it builds strength in the material. The more strength a bulk solid has, the wider the opening it can bridge over. As a result, the shearing and compacting action of the screw feeder is contributing to poor discharge from the existing hoppers. In addition, the compaction by the screw feeder is resulting in high loads being transferred to the screw feeder, which may result in high wear and motor tripping.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to fixing this problem bin has two parts. The first half of the solution is to replace the existing six pyramid hoppers with a single plane flow hopper with steep sloping walls and a wide discharge opening. Doing so fixes the geometry of the hopper 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. The second half of the solution is to pair the new long hopper 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 hopper. If the Feeder instead withdrew material unevenly, a funnel flow discharge pattern would ensue (regardless of the bin geometry), and rat-holing and bridging would occur.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

Zinc Concentrate Bagging Bin

Zinc Concentrate Bagging Bin 

 

This is an example of a bagging bin designed specifically to handle difficult flowing cohesive materials such as zinc concentrate and cobalt hydroxide filter cake.

Why Conventional Bagging Hoppers Suffer from Chronic Plugging and Inconsistent Discharge

Standard bagging bins use small or narrow hoppers discharged using a range of feeders include screw feeders, vibratory feeders, and rotary feeders.

 

In summary, standard bagging systems suffer from chronic plugging when handling difficult flowing cohesive materials for two reasons: 1) incorrect bin geometry, including poor choice of bin shape, too small openings, and improper choice of sloping wall angles; and 2) the feeder behavior promotes a funnel flow discharge pattern. Funnel flow (which is a first-in, last-out discharge pattern) can be made to work with large bins with large discharge outlets. 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.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to a reliable bagging bin that is capable of handling difficult flowing cohesive materials has two parts. The first half of the solution is to choose a bin with correct geometry. Kamengo typically recommends a plane flow hopper shape with a wide and long discharge opening. A plane flow hopper only converges in one plane at a time, and is vertical in the opposite plane. The plane flow hopper is the most conservative hopper shape. The purpose of using a conservative bin shape with a long and wide discharge outlet is to employ a geometry where if the Feeder were removed, the entire bin would self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern.

 

The second half of the solution is to pair the plane flow hopper with a fully effective feeder such as a Kamengo Feeder. A fully effective feeder is one that withdraws material evenly from its entire opening, which by definition is necessary to actually achieve a mass flow discharge pattern in the hopper, which is necessary when handling a difficult flowing, cohesive bulk solid.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please visit KamengoU.

Soda Ash Tall Metering Bin

Soda Ash Tall Metering Bin 

 

This is an example of a tall 2,500 cu-ft (70 cu-m) storage bin designed specifically to handle soda ash.

Why Soda Ash is a Difficult Flowing Material and Why Conventional Conical Storage Bins are Inappropriate for the Material.

Soda ash’s granular nature gives it the look and feel of an easy flowing material. However, wall friction testing of the material by Kamengo reveals that a poor choice in bin shape, liner and sloping wall angles will result in: 1) inconsistent discharge; 2) flooding of conveyors; 3) hang-ups; and/or 4) chronic caking and lumping. This is because if any of the above are incorrect, a funnel flow discharge pattern in the storage bin would be induced.

 

Funnel flow is a first-in, last-out flow pattern where material sluffs from the top down through a core in the storage bin. The challenge with funnel flow is that the majority of material in the storage bin remains stagnant during discharge. The problem is that stagnant material is permitted the opportunity to gain strength as it compacts under its own weight, which promotes caking. Further, as the material gains strength, it is able to bridge over wider openings, eventually leading to stable rat-holes and bridging. The alternative to funnel flow is mass flow. In contrast to funnel flow, mass flow is a first-in, first-out discharge pattern where all of the material in the storage bin is in motion during discharge.

 

For a Soda Ash silo, which typically has a relatively large storage volume for the given discharge rate, mass flow is preferred for several reasons. To reduce caking and prevent the stored soda ash from developing the strength needed to form a stable rat-hole, it is preferable for 100% of the stored material to move downwards over the course of a 24 hour period, and not just a small section of stored soda ash that lies within a core over the bin opening. Second, because it can take up to a month to empty a soda ash bin and it may never actually be permitted to fully empty. If the bin is emptying in a funnel flow discharge pattern, sections of soda ash will never leave the bin and simply be permitted to harden and become un-flowable. Third, soda ash is a relatively fine material, and if a stable rat-hole forms and collapses, the material would fluidize and mix with air, causing it to rush from the bin, which would introduce an engulfing hazard around the bin.

 

Standard soda ash bins are conical shape and discharge from a small opening. Typically, the angle of the cone is too shallow to produce a mass flow discharge pattern, and hence these bins discharge in funnel flow.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to a reliable soda ash bin that provides a very controlled discharge has two parts.

 

The first half of the solution is to discard the standard cone and replace it with plane flow hoppers with lined and sufficiently steep hopper walls needed to produce a mass flow discharge pattern. The plane flow hopper is the most conservative hopper shape. The purpose of using a conservative bin shape with a long and wide discharge outlet is to employ a geometry where if the Feeder were removed, the entire bin would self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern.

 

The second half of the solution is to pair the plane flow hopper with a fully-effective feeder, which withdraws material evenly from its entire opening. A fully effective feeder is, by definition, necessary to actually achieve a mass flow discharge pattern in the hopper, which is necessary when handling a difficult flowing fibrous bulk solid.

 

Kamengo’s solution employs a Kamengo Feeder with a wide and long 3-foot by 10-foot opening. Of critical importance, the Kamengo Feeder withdraws material evenly across both its entire length and width. The result is that the stored material is withdrawn evenly from the full discharge outlet of the soda ash bin. An even withdrawal of material is absolutely required to achieve a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge. The Feeder delivers batches of soda ash to a screw conveyor below, which in turn, provides a final metering into the process.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please visit KamengoU.

ROM Coal Ore Truck Load-Out Bin

ROM Coal Ore Truck Load-Out Bin

 

This is an example of a 53,000 ft3 (1,500 m3) ROM Coal Ore Truck Load-Out Bin.

Why Conventional Truck Load-Out Bins Suffer from Chronic Bridging and Uncontrolled Discharge

A standard ROM truck load out bin consists of a large conical hopper and silo that is discharged using a very large clamshell gate. Unfortunately, these systems suffer from chronic bridging and flooding from collapsing rat-holes.

 

In summary, a conical hopper is satisfactory bin shape as long as the discharge opening is large and that the hopper is discharged evenly from its entire opening. The challenge with a clamshell gate is that it operates partially open in order to control the flow of discharge. When the opening is not fully live, bridging and the formation of rat-holes should be expected.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to a ROM truck load out bin has two parts.

 

The first part is to choose a bin shape that promotes reliable discharge. Kamengo’s preferred method for a tall, large storage bin handling a moderately difficult flowing material is to use “expanded flow”. Expanded flow uses a combination of mass flow and funnel flow, and is typically the most cost-effective bin shape for a tall and very large storage bin.

 

With expanded flow the bottom of the bin discharges in mass flow and the top of the bin discharges in funnel flow. The benefit of expanded flow is that one is able to benefit from the advantages of both flow patterns while minimizing their drawbacks. The expanded flow hopper shown combines a chisel hopper with a funnel flow cone and circular silo. A benefit of this arrangement is that bin wall loads are handled efficiently, reducing the overall cost of the bin.

 

The second half of the solution is to pair the expanded flow bin with a fully-effective feeder – that is a feeder that withdraws material evenly from its entire infeed opening. This is necessary to achieve mass flow in the lower portion of the bin, and to avoid the formation of rat-holes, which are particularly dangerous for large truck load-out bins. By definition, to achieve mass flow, where the stored material comes down as a single body, the feeder must withdraw material evenly from its entire opening. If the Feeder withdraws material selectively from the bin discharge outlet, sections of material in the bin will be stagnant and rat-holes will form.

 

A great example of a fully-effective feeder is the Kamengo Feeder. In addition to being fully-effective, the Feeder offers consistent metering, and can be made as wide as needed and as long as wanted. As a result, the Kamengo Feeder offers valuable advantages when designing for a difficult flowing material.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

ROM Ore Metering Bin

ROM Ore Metering Bin

 

This is an example of a rock ore bin handling a mix of large particles and fines 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.

The Existing Storage and Feed Arrangement and Why it is Suffering from Chronic Plugging and Inconsistent Discharge

The existing bin consists of a narrow 6.5-foot diameter ore pass leading to a short hopper and an apron feeder.

 

In summary, the bin is suffering from chronic plugging because the apron feeder is withdrawing material preferentially from rear of the hopper, which is inducing a funnel flow discharge pattern that is extending up into the ore pass. 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.

 

The alternative to a funnel flow discharge pattern is mass flow. Mass flow is a first-in, first-out discharge pattern where 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 hopper walls. In contrast, with funnel flow, material is stagnant along the hopper walls. When the feeder withdraws material preferentially from one side of the hopper, then material is not permitted to withdraw evenly from the entire discharge outlet of the storage bin. The result is stagnant material along the bin walls and a funnel flow discharge pattern.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to fixing this problem bin has two parts.

 

The first half of the solution is to discard the existing hopper and replace it with a plane flow hopper with sufficiently steep hopper walls needed to produce a mass flow discharge pattern. The plane flow hopper is the most conservative hopper shape. The purpose of using a conservative bin shape with a long and wide discharge outlet is to employ a geometry where if the Feeder were removed, the entire bin would self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern.

 

The second half of the solution is to pair the plane flow hopper with a fully-effective feeder, which withdraws material evenly from its entire opening. A fully effective feeder is, by definition, necessary to actually achieve a mass flow discharge pattern in the hopper, which is necessary when handling a difficult flowing rock ore that contains a mix of large particles and fines.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry. 

ROM Ore Railcar Unloading Bin

ROM Ore Railcar Unloading Bin

 

This is an example of a series of rail car unloading hoppers designed to handle large particle as well as difficult flowing cohesive materials.

Conventional Unloading Bins and Why they Suffer from Chronic Plugging and Inconsistent Discharge

A standard railcar unloader uses a series of pyramid hoppers that converge to a small opening that use any of slide gates, basket gates, vibrators or clamshells to control discharge.

 

In summary, a pyramid hopper with a small opening is a terrible choice of bin shape for handling difficult flowing cohesive materials. The bin shape promotes a funnel flow discharge pattern. Funnel flow (which is a first-in, last-out discharge pattern) can be made to work with large bins with large discharge outlets. 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.

 

Further, Feeders that operate partially open to control the flow of discharge and do not withdraw material from the full discharge outlet of the hopper all the time are dangerous, because this behavior further promotes a funnel flow discharge pattern and the formation of stable arches and ratholes. A reliable Feeder is “fully effective”, where it withdraws material evenly from the full discharge outlet of the storage above it.

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Kamengo’s Solution

The solution to a reliable railcar unloading hopper that is capable of handling both large particles as well as difficult flowing cohesive materials has two parts. The first half of the solution is to use a plane flow hopper shape with a wide and long discharge opening. A plane flow hopper only converges in one plane at a time, and is vertical in the opposite plane. The plane flow hopper is the most conservative hopper shape. The purpose of using a conservative bin shape with a long and wide discharge outlet is to employ a geometry where if the Feeder were removed, the entire bin would self-empty with gravity in a mass flow or first-in, first-out discharge pattern.

 

The second half of the solution is to pair the plane flow hoppers with a Kamengo Feeder. The value of the Kamengo Feeder is that it withdraws material evenly from its entire opening, which by definition is necessary to actually achieve a mass flow discharge pattern in the hopper, which is necessary when handling a difficult flowing bulk solid. A further advantage of the Kamengo Feeder is its low profile, which helps to save height and related civil costs.

Learn More

To learn more about the physics of storage bin and feeder design as well as the root causes of bin plugging, please download our white paper entitled: The Design of Reliable Storage Bins and Feeders for the Mining Industry.