Tuesday 30th Nov, 2021

Picking the right industrial vibrator

Mark Thompson, General Manager of Oli Vibrators, shares some of the tips and tricks for choosing the right industrial vibrator.

Mark Thompson, General Manager of Oli Vibrators, shares some of the tips and tricks for choosing the right industrial vibrator.


Cement dust tends to compact under its own weight when stored. This poses a problem for bulk handlers, as compacted cement does not flow easily, slowing production to a halt.

Industrial vibrators are a helpful tool in this situation, working to reduce friction between the material and the container wall, shaking it off and encouraging it to flow.

Mark Thompson, General Manager of Oli Vibrators, says vibration is an effective method of improving flow, efficiency and safety.

“Vibrators are used on hoppers, bins, feeders, chutes, and conveyors for all sorts of reasons. Some people want to improve the flow rate of material, while others use them to compact flour into bags or compact boxes,” he says.

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“One of the things we focus on is increasing productivity with vibration. When things get hung up, either from ratholing or bridging, it can be dangerous to just bang the container with a hammer.

“This is dangerous, to both the worker and the asset. Not only is it bad for your bones to be swinging around a large hammer constantly, but it’s also not good for your hearing. Some hoppers are also elevated, meaning you’ll have people working at heights with heavy objects – a recipe for disaster.”

Oli Vibrators works with customers across the bulk handling sector. Thompson says one day they might be installing a vibrator to help move jellybeans and the next day set up equipment to handle 300 tonnes of rock after it has gone through a crusher.

To do this, the company works closely with the customer to understand the application the vibrators will be used in. Factors like the type of material, its bulk density, moisture content, the volume required of the application, and what it is being installed onto. Oli Vibrators encourages the customer to provide drawings and specifications to help its engineers find the right solution to the flow problem.

Different materials will often have different requirements. Sugar, for example, is hydroscopic and sucks in moisture from the air causing bridging and hang-ups where plastics aren’t. For wet products, vibrators are available with a higher frequency and lower amplitude.

Another example is ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilisers and explosives. It compacts under its own weight and is made up of small spheres. Vibration is used to move the product out of vessels and into hoppers. Trucks in particular face issues transporting the product, as the material is compacts in transit.

Thompson says for this material, a number of additional factors need to be taken into consideration – namely the explosion risk.

“Oli Vibrators have three ranges of safety – standard, increased safety and explosion-proof. The latter uses heavy duty seals and built-in explosion chambers to ensure that if there is an ignition, it is confined to the motor itself and does not escape,” he says.

The company’s product range is rated at a T4 Temperature Rating and are manufactured in Italy. All of its products conform to international standards and are IECEx and IP66 rated. Oli It can supply vibrators the offer three kilograms of force to 26,000.

Each comes with a two-year warranty and are made from high-quality materials to ensure they can handle heavy duty applications. As part of the warranty, Oli Vibrators provides full replacement or repair of the product, including internal and electrical componentry.

Thompson says the manufacturing process for the vibrators uses state-of-the-art technology and testing.

“We claim to have a price to performance ratio that is second to none,” he says. “It’s part of our goal to remain affordable and available.”

“We keep a lot of stock on the shelf. Our customers have a limited timeframe to work in, and the equipment as soon as possible. If a business has a hang up and isn’t able to get its product out of a silo or hopper, we can be there straight away.”

This availability is driven, in part, by Oli Vibrator’s 22 different subsidiaries around the world. Stock can be shared across the company’s different branches to provide any items in needed that are sold out locally.

“The vibrator market is competitive, so we rely on our high-quality products, technical expertise and the ability to provide all the specifications an engineer could possibly want,” Thompson says.

“We’ve got all that along with a global network to back us up and specialisation in vibratory equipment.”