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Safe isolation of stored bulk materials – from lump iron ore to spodumene fines

Safe isolation of stored bulk material in hoppers, bins and beneath stockpiles is an essential requirement when protecting maintenance personnel working below from the risk of flowing or falling material.

Safe isolation of stored bulk material in hoppers, bins and beneath stockpiles is an essential requirement when protecting maintenance personnel working below from the risk of flowing or falling material.

To avoid the need to fully empty and clean bins or hoppers when carrying out downstream maintenance, many sites are electing to install bin isolation gates which can be closed when maintenance is required, saving considerable cost and downtime.

Installing a bin isolation gate might seem straight forward, but there is a vast array of styles and features which must be considered to ensure a bin isolation gate will reliably open and close under the bulk solids stored above.  The design must cater very carefully for the properties of the bulk material (cohesiveness, lump size, temperature, abrasiveness) whilst also ensuring unobstructed mass flow to the downstream feeder when open.

Features such as wear resistant digging horns, inlet wear liner kits and outboard support rails are common and designs incorporating maintenance locking pins, side mounted cylinders, dual over-lapping plates, chamfered chevron shaped knife gate plates and reverse cylinder ‘picture frame’ style designs are all available to meet the unique needs specific to the application.

The wrong isolation gate design can lead to unreliable operation and unnecessary and costly downtime due to product leakage, excessive wear, interruptions to flow or even inability of the gate to fully open or close when required.

Originally tailored for Western Australia’s iron ore sector, Bulk Handling Technologies (BHT) has been supplying a range of versatile, heavy duty bin isolation gates which are easily customisable to suit the size of the bin or hopper opening.  BHT Bin Isolation Gates can provide isolation for any bulk material whether it is a cohesive, fine powder or filter cake or a highly abrasive iron ore or spodumene product.

BHT Bin Isolation Gates are designed to cater for ‘first-fill’ head loads and allow the bin to be filled while the gate is closed.  This allows the downstream feeder to be isolated from first fill loads, reducing initial power requirements and also provides additional time for downstream maintenance activities as the upstream circuit can be re-started with product delivered to the bin.

Available as single plate or dual overlapping plate designs for long outlets, BHT can supply hydraulic bin isolation gates in sizes ranging from small 1000mm square units, up to massive 12m long by 3m wide dual plate units, fitted with multiple high pressure hydraulic cylinders.

Most BHT Bin Isolation Gates are supplied complete with a shared hydraulic power unit and Operator Control Station (Electric or Hydraulic Lever).  Almost all gates are customised for the application and duty and components and electrical panels can be selected and designed in accordance with the project or site preferences.

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