Food Service Supplies and Equipment: Buying, Cleaning and Repairing

Factors to Consider When Buying an Industrial Air Cannon

Air cannons are flow aid equipment used in industries to ensure continued flow of materials. Materials can get stuck to each other so that they form a bridge across the length of a bin or silo and slow down the flow of the product. An air cannon can be fitted to the side of a silo, bin, or rail car to blast these materials with a shot of pressurized air, so they separate and begin flowing again. If you are looking for a good air cannon for industrial use, there are various factors you should consider.

Types of material blockage

When you go shopping for an air cannon, you will be asked about the kind of material blockage that occurs in your bin, silo, or rail track. Material blockage usually occurs in the form of bridging, ratholing, and arching.

•    Bridging occurs when materials clump together across the width of the silo or rail track, so that they create a bridge-like barrier. The barrier prevents material above it from flowing.

•    Ratholing occurs when material sticks to the side of the bin and creates a void or dead storage area. Although this does not prevent flow, the rate of flow is significantly decreased.

•    Arching is where material sticks at the near the dispenser or above the sloping section of the silo preventing further flow.

For bridging, you will want a cannon which allows a wide dispersal of air to reach the width of that bridge. Ratholing and arching problems require a smaller section of air, but with greater pressure to break the concentration of material in a particular area.

Weight and capacity of material

The pressure of the air dispensed by an air cannon is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Heavier material such as stone chips, raw coal, and pebbles require an air cannon with high PSI. However, for lighter materials such as cereals, a cannon with lower PSI will be suitable. To get the best value from your air cannon, you should purchase one with adjustable PSI. That way, the equipment will be versatile to production changes.

Material of pressure vessel

The pressure vessel is the part of the cannon that exerts air into the silo or rail truck. It is ideal to choose a pressure vessel with a durable and quality material such as steel. Material such as plastic may be affordable, but you will be forced to replace the pressure vessel often.

Consider these factors when choosing an industrial air cannon so that you get the right equipment that's high-quality and durable.