When it comes to preventing flow problems within the confines of a silo, there are two main problems which need to be considered. The two types of silo problems that most operators encounter are known as arching and ratholing.
Arching is defined as when an obstruction in the shape of an arch forms in front of the hopper and creates a blockage. This can be created by mechanically blocking the hopper or by blocking it when the free-flowing material contains too much moisture and sticks together.
The other type of flow problem is known as ratholing. This is characterized by a flow only taking place in a flow channel typically located above the outlet. If the material below this is too moist, the flow channel will empty and then all subsequent flowing will stop.
Poor flow occurs when silos discharging material become clogged. This can be corrected by a number of different ways, including using a fluidizer. When dealing with silos that pour in a mass flow pattern, it is crucial that the outlet of the hopper be the proper size so that adequate flow can occur.
Another way to ensure that proper material flow occurs is by enlarging the flow hole. While this may seem obvious upon a suggestion, there are actually many silo operators who do not take this simple solution into consideration. The free flowing material is essential in keeping the silo operating as it should.
As you can see there are some great ways to ensure that the silo and its material will be kept functioning just as it should. A failure to ensure free-flowing materials means that the silo may become completely useless in its intended purpose. By keeping the silo free-flowing, you are ensuring its continued operation for many years to come.