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Flow Issues

Poor flow of assets in storage structures is troublesome for businesses, and there are several causes of it. Funnel flow can occur in several ways due to stagnant material caking up and sticking to storage structure walls. Often, with regular silo inspection and maintenance, when necessary, flow issues don’t have to cause long-term slowdown of assets. Industrial Access Bulk Materials can help with any flow issue you may be encountering with any of our various solutions.

Arching in silo needing clean out

Below are two common types of flow issues:


Arching or bridging occurs when material becomes stuck together in the silo or vessel. Over time, this creates an arch-shaped blockage some way up from the silo discharge. Any material above the arch cannot flow. This type of flow issue can result in a complete blockage of material if attention isn’t given to it. It can also cause long-term damage to the silo if neglected due to the extreme pressure it places on the silo walls.


Ratholing occurs then there is excess build up on the walls of a storage structure which creates a thin and restricted passageway for materials to flow down the vessel. The material forms a narrow passageway above the feed auger or outlet, while the remaining materials on the sides of the passageway are stationary and can begin caking to the storage structure walls. This is important to avoid for business owners as many materials get lost or wasted when this blockage occurs.

Why do these happen?

There are several potential causes for blockages like arching or ratholing. Bad flow out can be due to too small of a discharge angle, too small of a discharge outlet, or improperly installed discharging aids. Weather or moisture content can also influence how well materials flow within your storage structure.

grain bridging in silo solutions

How can it be fixed?

These root causes can sometimes be fixed by design modifications, but these are usually costly endeavors or sometimes they may not be possible. If possible for your storage structure, bin activators can be installed to help the flow of assets. Note that this method does not work well if the bulk material is a powder that can compact easily. Another method to improve flow is to fluidize the materials. Fluidizing pads can be installed to silo cones and blast air into the base of the hopper. This must be in dry conditions and works best in small to medium-sized storage structures.

Silo Cleanout Services

Luckily, if adding additional pieces to your storage structures doesn’t work for you, we have several silo cleanout methods to get you back to regular business. Industrial Access Bulk Materials is trained and equipped to handle any buildup, flow issue, or blockage you may encounter. No issue is too severe for us to handle. We have several different resources and methods to get your silo flowing back to how it should be. Industrial Access Bulk Materials possesses over 14 different tools and methodologies to empty your bulk storage vessel quickly and efficiently. Our team of experts will be able to assess your structure and create a customized solution to get the job done.

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