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Air Knockers Aid Product Flow, Eliminate Hopper Damage

September 29, 2016
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Air knocker on hoppers
Air knocker on hoppers
1300 SI air knocker
1300 SI air knocker

Hammering away with a large piece of wood to get sticky seeds flowing through hoppers became a futile and somewhat dangerous job at Ebberts Field Seeds. The Covington, Ohio-based company fills quick turnaround seed orders over a four-state area, so finding an efficient and safe way to free up product flow from hoppers became a priority.
    
Ebberts originated in the early 1940s, was incorporated in 1963, and provides farmers the choices they need to maximize their farm’s profit potential. Ebberts does this by selecting only the top seed genetics best suited for its 150-mile market radius, which includes Ohio, northern Kentucky, eastern Indiana, and parts of West Virginia.
    
Processing the best seeds gives corn, soybean, and wheat varieties a competitive edge against larger national brands that must select genetics to cover a much broader geography. “We start taking seed orders in December and run our equipment all winter for spring delivery,” said Mark Brandt, maintenance director at Ebberts. “We have retail outlets in Covington and Decatur, IN, and also rely on a dealer network to deliver the seeds to farmers throughout our market area.”
    
Ebberts sells seeds in 50-lb paper bags and will typically handle up to 200,000 bags (or units) during the course of the growing season. Corn, soybean, and wheat are grown locally, and the seeds are harvested and delivered to the Covington processing facility. Contaminants and low-quality seeds are removed using shaker screens before seed treatment is applied, according to Brandt.
    
Treatment includes adding a fungicide or insecticide that causes the seeds to become damp during the application process. Thus, when the seeds are elevated into a hopper, they retain some moisture and are prone to sticking inside the hopper. The old method to free up product flow was to hammer the side of the hopper with a 6-ft piece of wood until Brandt decided a better solution was warranted.
    
“I figured there had to be something better out there and came across the Cleveland Vibrator website,” he said. “There was a YouTube video on their single impact air knocker and we eventually installed them on two of our hoppers. Now we have product that flows freely out of the hoppers and into the 50-lb bags.”
    
Ebberts installed the 1300 SI model with a lever-controlled manual valve. This allows Ebberts workers to flick the lever a few times to knock the hoppers and free up seed flow. Single impactors, or “air knockers,” act most like a hammer and are most effective for sticky materials because they are less likely than continuous vibration to cause packing in bins and hoppers.
    
“The seeds would settle and compact in the hopper bottoms because they were a little damp and our guys were spending time banging on the outside of the hoppers,” Brandt recalled. “Now, they pull the handle for a few seconds and the CVC air knocker gets the product flowing quickly. Now we can run 8:00 to 5:00 every day during our peak season with very little downtime.”
    
“We are using less manpower and getting better results with the CVC vibrators,” Brandt said. “They have performed better than expected and are very low maintenance units. This allows us to process our different seed varieties faster and get them out to farmers for the planting season.”
 
Benefits of the 1300 single impact air knocker include:

•    One-piece, ductile iron housing and spring-less design ensure long effective live
•    Use of ported exhaust reduces noise levels while pneumatic power allows for operation in hazardous areas
•    Dual diameter piston allows for mounting at any angle on bins, chutes, and hoppers handling
•    Mounting fasteners and a gasket for quick set-up are included

From its corporate headquarters in Cleveland, OH, and in partnership with HK Technologies in Salem, OH, the Cleveland Vibrator Co. has met the challenges of more than 15,000 customers around the globe in a range of industries since 1923. The company’s product line includes air-piston, rotary electric, electromagnetic, turbine, and ball vibrators, as well as a variety of fabricated feeders, vibratory screeners, ultrasonic screeners, vibratory conveyors, and vibratory tables used for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty industrial applications. For more information, call 800-221-3298 or visit www.clevelandvibrator.com.

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Cleveland Vibrator Co.