The Three Root Causes of Poor Material Discharge and Bin Hang-ups


Mr Jamil Bundalli (Project Manager - Kamengo)

A storage bin suffering from intermittent discharge and hang-ups can be a terrible source of frustration and unforeseen operating costs. Understanding the scientific principles that underpin good bin and feeder design for difficult flowing cohesive materials, such as ore concentrates, is key to knowing how to resolve troublesome storage and feed systems. Starting in the 1980s, Kamengo led an extensive research program examining why bins plug, in particular when handling difficult flowing fibrous and cohesive materials such as potash, wet rock phosphate, ore concentrates, FGD gypsum, and coal. What the researchers discovered surprised them. This presentation will review the key findings from Kamengo’s research. In particular, it will review the three root causes of intermittent discharge and bin plugging, which are: 1) incorrect bin geometry; 2) compaction of the stored material by the discharge feeder; and, 3) uneven withdrawal of material by the discharge feeder. The presentation will use two case studies to illustrate how the outcomes of Kamengo’s research were applied in the design of new equipment as well as the retrofit of equipment suffering from chronic plugging. The presentation will look at the storage and feed system handling sticky, wet cobalt-hydroxide filter cake at a copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The presentation will also look at the hull design of two self-unloading ships, which are purpose-built to carry difficult flowing cargoes, including wet iron ore fines, coal, potash and rock gypsum. About Kamengo Kamengo specializes in the design and supply of storage and feed equipment for difficult flowing materials. Kamengo staff spent 15 years researching the reasons why bins plug. The research showed that bin plugging is caused by poor bin geometry, compaction of the stored material by the feeder, and uneven discharge from the storage bin. To resolve these issues, Kamengo applies a deliberate, scientifically grounded approach that uses the flow properties of the stored material to design storage bins that can self-empty under gravity. Further, Kamengo has developed a unique feeder that resolves many of the shortcomings of conventional feeders, allowing us to deliver reliable equipment for handling even the most difficult flowing material.
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