What are the most common dry bulk material handling issues?
In contrast to liquid and gases – which in the absence of pressure drops, do not significantly fluctuate in volumetric density – the bulk density of dry material is a constantly changing figure. This means that factors such as temperature, humidity and pressure can have a significant impact on the flow properties of dry bulk materials, especially powders.
Unless your dry bulk loading equipment is designed to adapt to these changes, material flow and storage problems, such as those listed below are likely to occur as a result of dry material buildup.
Dry Bulk Material Blockages & Buildup
Material buildup occurs when the inner walls of dry bulk material loading equipment are either not smooth or not steep enough, causing friction to impede the ability of the material to slide down the machines inner walls. In this event, particles are instead forced to slide against each other, causing them to combine and the material to become cakey.
In this state, the flow rate of dry bulk materials is severely decreased, as the materials become viscous and compact together to form stagnant buildup. Furthermore, if the material builds up within the machines outlet, buildup can not only impede flow, but block it entirely. This could result in huge production losses and expensive downtime for your business.
Dry Bulk Material Contamination
Given that it’s the job of dry bulk material equipment to not only store, but often to process and blend dry bulk materials, it is therefore paramount that machinery is always efficiently cleaned beforehand. If stagnated materials and buildup are not thoroughly removed from vessels before they’re loaded again, there is a risk of new materials becoming contaminated by the stagnated material.
Even the smallest inconsistency as a result of material contamination, could affect the resultant quality of your product, potentially affecting it’s size, colour and even taste. A decrease in the quality and uniformity of your product, could ultimately result in your product becoming unusable.
In severe cases of material buildup and blockages, where issues such as ratholing and material bridging develop, severe strain can be placed upon the inner walls of equipment, as a result of a rise in pressure. Not only will this structural stress leave your machinery susceptible to wear and tear, but if materials are able to build up and expand within small cracks, in response to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, it is more than likely that expensive damage will follow.