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Overland Ready Mix Sand and Gravel, York, Nebraska, is a large ready mix operation with several locations that distributes concrete throughout central Nebraska.
Inconsistent cement flow from Overland’s storage bins was slowing the company’s batching operation. Overland uses two 180-ton silos for cement that gravity feeds into scales for weighing. Ball-type aeration pads previously installed in the silos failed to even out the cement flow. When pressurized, the rubber boots would often get dislodged and allow backflow of material into the aeration blowers, resulting in significant downtime. Overland also tried cloth-style aeration pads, but they did not markedly improve the sluggish flow of cement and plugged up requiring additional downtime.
Merlyn Hanson, President of Overland Ready Mix, decided to try Cyclonaire Corporation’s VibraPad Aerators after seeing literature and sample pads. The unique VibraPad design not only aerates the material but also creates vibration between the pad’s boot and the silo wall. Simultaneous aeration and vibration provide a very effective flow aid that can be used with all types of dry products. VibraPad Aerators also feature a built-in check valve to prevent material backflow into the air source. Installation is simple, whether new or retrofit. Two Overland employees removed the existing aerators and installed the VibraPad units. For this application, they were able to use the existing blowers. No special plumbing or tools were needed.
With pads installed, operators simply turn on the blowers whenever a bridge develops in the material and for 30 seconds just before feeding cement into the scales. Overland’s Plant Manager reported, “We have cut our batch preparation time in half. VibraPad Aerators paid for themselves just by eliminating flow-related downtime. My concerns about output have been put to rest by these simple devices.” Overland has since installed VibraPad Aerators in its fly ash silos and has plans for additional applications.