Many bulk materials, especially fine powders, are cohesive and do not flow consistently out of the hopper during feeding. Such poor flow properties can lead to the formation of ratholes or even material bridges, making it difficult to accurately deliver these materials to the process. A rathole is a narrow vertical tunnel from the top of the material bed in the hopper to the discharge device of the feeder. Although some material may continue to flow through the rathole, the discharge rate of the feeder is reduced considerably and bulk material may adhere to the hopper. Material bridges similarly restrict the flow of material. Since bridges lack even the vertical tunnel of a rathole, the material flow tends to be completely blocked.
The ActiFlowTM system applies gentle vibrations to the hopper wall, hereby carefully activating the bulk material with an optimized amplitude and frequency. The ActiFlow control module constantly communicates with the KCM feeder controller to maintain an optimal material flow in the hopper and ensure high feeding accuracy. Filter algorithms effectively filter out extraneous vibrations, thus ensuring an exact weight signal at all times – even when the ActiFlow’s bulk material activation is at its maximum. The ActiFlow device is mounted to the outside of the hopper wall, with no product contact. ActiFlow eliminates headroom concerns, reduces cleaning and product changeover time and in turn lowers overall production labor cost. ActiFlow is available in a pharma version and also for ATEX environments.