Bulk Equipment, Silos, Vibrators

Oli Vibrators: a silo’s best friend

Mark Thompson, managing director of Oli Vibrators, tells ABHR about a simple device that can get material moving again.

Mark Thompson, managing director of Oli Vibrators, tells ABHR about a simple device that can get material moving again.

There are plenty of ways that moisture can find its way into a silo. As the temperatures change, dew can form on the interior walls. A leak could let in rainwater. The material could have taken on more moisture than it should have during transport, loading or manufacture.

However, it happens, moisture can cause problems when it gets into a silo. Certain materials like cement and flour due to their very nature will begin to form blockages or restrict flow.

Mark Thompson, managing director of Oli Vibrators, said bridging, ratholing, caking, arching and more can lead to poor product flow.

“Unrestricted flow of materials is important to maximising productivity,” he told ABHR. “It’s also important for safety. If you’ve got bridging high up in a 30-tonne silo and then it’s suddenly let go, the forces could jeopardise the structural integrity of the silo, potentially leading to a collapse.”

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Unfortunately, one practice to get material flowing again is to strike the silo or hopper with a hammer or heavy piece of wood, to shake up the blockages. However, this not only does damage to the asset but can also increase the chances of flow problems by creating misshaped areas in the silo.

“Every time you hit a vessel with a hammer, it creates a potential hang-up point for the material. I’ve seen silos with ‘hammer rash’ where people have been constantly belting it. Seeing a bin or hopper with hammer rash is a sure sign there is an area in the process that needs addressing,” Thompson said.

Oli Vibrators has been involved in the industry for more than 55 years, providing a range of specialist vibrators and flow aids for the mining, quarrying, mineral processing, grain, animal feed, food processing, waste management and construction sectors.

Installing the right vibrator on a silo can return the correct flow, without putting workers or equipment at risk.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution when it comes selecting the right vibrator for the job, as specific materials respond differently to different amplitudes and frequencies.

Thompson said this is why the company works closely with its customers to learn as much as they can about their processes. The customer will often provide a checklist of important information, along with some technical drawings to get started.

Oli Vibrators’ team will work with customers to determine the characteristics of the product, such as bulk density, explosive risk, hygiene requirements, whether it is hydroscopic, the vessel it is being stored in, and more.

With that information, the company’s engineers will usually find a solution that will work for the customer within 24 to 48 hours.

“Our objective is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with their customers, who are a key influence in shaping the company’s business model. Meeting the customers’ needs is a priority, achieving a trustful partnership is the reward,” he said.

“Excellent customer service is critical at OLI. The company guarantees order processing within 24 hours, as customers worldwide can enjoy access to the same high-quality products and services.

“With its skilled competence and valuable knowledge of the industry, OLI is a credible expert when it comes to the assistance in finding the most suitable solution to each individual customer’s request.”

Oli Vibrators are built with heavy-duty ductile cast iron with high quality bearings and are IP66 rated to international standards. The company’s ‘Greased for Life’ option and extra heavy-duty range, ensure its equipment lasts for decades.

The business doesn’t just provide vibrators though. It has a range of bin and silo aerators that have been developed for the bulk storage of dry, fine, and granular powders. The VBS Aerator is used extensively throughout the food, chemical and grain processing industries worldwide.

The VBS and VBSI aerator range are low air consumption, require no maintenance and are compact in design. The advanced one-way directional air flow boosts powder discharge from internal or external silo’s, hoppers, or bins. Its Tramontana design maximises unloading efficiency thanks to its unique shape.

Thompson said the company is a keen advocate for innovative research and development in a highly competitive global market.

“The company’s research and development department focuses on the development of cutting-edge technologies towards advanced solutions,” he said.

“Products smaller in size and lighter in weight — yet higher in performance and lower in energy consumption — are the tangible result of Oli’s constant commitment to offering the best deal on the market.”

Oli Vibrators has supported Australian industry for over 20 years.

Thompson said the company’s staff have worked with silos for years and have evolved their expertise to quickly find the right tool for the job.

The team also prides itself on its after sales support. Oli Vibrator’s mission statement is ‘when you need it, where you need it’, so it keeps a large stock of spares on hand. Each product also comes with a two-year warranty, which includes full replacement or repair of the product.

“Our customers work in industries where minutes matter. That’s why we offer around the clock support,” Thompson said.

“If a process fails in a production line in the middle of the night, we can get a solution sent over to get everything working again by morning.” 

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