If you have grain in a silo and it doesn't seem to be flowing out of the cone as quickly and easily as it should, it may be time to invest in a flow aid. Wondering which type is right for you? Take a look at these three options:
1. Pneumatic Hammer
If you've ever banged on your silo cone and noticed an improvement in the speed of the grain's flow, a pneumatic hammer may be the answer. Essentially, these flow aids hit the side of the silo so that the material inside the silo is jostled and thus moves more freely.
The benefit of a pneumatic hammer is that you can weld it onto the outside of your silo without emptying it. This is great if you need a flow aid but don't have time to empty your silo or wait until next season. The downside of pneumatic hammers, however, is that over time, they can wear down the seams or metal on your silo.
2. Air Cannon
An air cannon works a bit like a pneumatic hammer. However, instead of encouraging the flow of grain by transferring mechanical energy into the silo, they work by injecting air into the silo. This jostles the grain and helps to get it flowing. Air cannons work the best if the centre column of your grain is falling through the cone, but the grain around that area is staying lodged in the silo and resisting flowing out. To check if this is the case, you will need to look into one of the windows on your hopper while the cone's valve is open so you can see the flow.
Like pneumatic hammers, air cannons can be mounted on the outside of the silo without emptying it, but they don't stress your silo's joints or metal in the same way that a pneumatic hammer may. Air cannons also work for odd-shaped silos such as rectangular silos.
3. Fluidisation Pads
Instead of injecting air into the grain whilst it's falling, fluidisation pads work preventatively. They essentially stir air into the grain whilst it's being stored, improving how it eventually flows. This is especially useful if you are working with a high-moisture item such as silage.
Unfortunately, to install fluidisation pads, the silo needs to be emptied as they are installed on the inside, situated in a ring around the interior of your silo's cones. As a result, this is a great option if you are preparing for next season but don't have any grain stored yet.