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Ratholing

Ratholing is a common flow issue in storage structures. To ensure issues don’t persist or escalate, it’s important to fix the issue as soon as possible when discovered. Regular maintenance can also help to prevent ratholing in storage structures. If you’re currently experiencing ratholing or want to learn more about preventative measures to avoid it, call Industrial Access Bulk Materials.

silo ratholing solutions

What is ratholing?

Ratholing occurs then there is excess build up on the walls of a storage structure, so much so that there is 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 in the storage structure are stationary and can begin caking to the walls. This is important to avoid for business owners as many materials get lost or wasted when this blockage occurs.

How is it caused?

Several contributing factors can lead to ratholing in your storage structure. Sometimes it traces back to hopper design; if the pitch isn’t accurately calculated when it is designed, then flow issues are more likely to happen. This can be fixed but may cost a lot of money and cause you to lose assets currently in the affected storage structure.

Additional factors, such as vibration, conditioning screws, and fluidizing nozzles can also contribute to the flow of assets and the likelihood of materials becoming ratholed inside. Vibrations are often used to assist in the flow of chemicals or other bulk materials, but it could be doing too little or too much and cause issues. Screw feeders can also be used in storage structures, but it often requires a second conditioning screw so if this isn’t properly installed, issues could stem from this.

How can it be fixed?

If you’re currently experiencing ratholing in your storage structure, there are several methods that Industrial Access Bulk Materials can use to solve the problem. Several solutions can be added to the actual design of the storage structure to improve flow, such as vibration, air fluidizing nozzles, and bin activators on the discharge cone. This helps to prevent bridging and ratholing in storage structures.

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