Long before the days of clocks or watches, time was told through the use of the hourglass, a device in which sand would flow through a small opening at a set rate to let the user know how much time had passed. If the sand would clog at the opening, accurately gauging the passage of time would be compromised. In ancient times, that could cause chaos, or at least make a lot of people late.
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “What does this history lesson have to do with today’s over-the-road transport-truck industry?”
As it turns out, quite a bit. You see, dry bulk transport trailers are emptied via the same principle as the old hourglass: a commodity, pulled by gravity, exits the transport tank through an opening. Also like the hourglass, if the opening gets clogged, the time it takes to unload the transport – whether measured by clock, watch, hourglass or even sundial – is lengthened, which can wreak havoc on unloading rates and strict delivery schedules.
This understanding is important because recent industry studies are indicating that more and more trucking companies in the United States are offering dry bulk transport options to their customers. In fact, dry bulk transport has experienced annual growth rates of 5% or more in recent years. With the over-the-road trucking industry moving nearly 80% of goods and raw materials in the food, chemical and building-material industries, this is a significant chunk of the market.
The commodities moved in dry bulk transport consist of a diverse portfolio of dry, finely granulated, pourable goods. These materials can range from sugar, grain, flour and starch to cement, fly ash, sand and plastic pellets.
While most of these materials are loaded into the transport tank from the top, they are unloaded through the bottom via a gravity-drop, pneumatic conveying process. The concern for the shipper is that no matter how fine the material being unloaded is, there is a chance it can get caught in the bottom outlet, which will delay the unloading process.
To ensure that the bottom unloading of all dry bulk products can be completed reliably and on time, Civacon has built a complete portfolio of bottom-unloading equipment that is dedicated to use in dry bulk trailer applications, including:
- Aeration Systems: SureFlo aerators have increased air flow for faster unloading times and the elimination of bridging and rat-holing at the bottom outlet, occurrences that can cause the load to become caught.
- Hopper Tees: A variety of designs, including quick-access and swing open styles, that have been created to improve ground clearance and reduce cleaning times, resulting in optimized unloading times.
- Swing Check Valves: Designed to create maximum flow of air with minimal pressure drop. Spherical design also reduces turbulence in the air stream, which reduces backpressure, heat buildup and wear and tear on the valve.
- Quick-Release Couplers: Eliminates coupler freezeup through the use of oil-impregnated bronze bushings at critical hinge points. An absence of void areas in the gasket also prevents contamination.
- Butterfly Valves: Resilient-seated butterfly valves have three stem seals that create an absolute seal for external/internal vacuum and pressure service.
- Pressure Relief Valves: Oversized exhaust holes prevent clogging during dry bulk discharge. Tamper-proof O-ring seals on the valve seat ensure a tight seal with easy replacement.
For more information on Civacon and its complete portfolio of transport-truck loading/unloading equipment and systems, please visit civacon.com.