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Publication numberUS3929261 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 30, 1975
Filing dateFeb 4, 1974
Priority dateFeb 4, 1974
Publication numberUS 3929261 A, US 3929261A, US-A-3929261, US3929261 A, US3929261A
InventorsKeith F Solimar
Original AssigneeButler Manufacturing Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aeration device and method for assisting discharge of material from containers
US 3929261 A
Abstract
An aeration device and method for assisting discharge of material from containers, comprising a cone shaped support adapted to be affixed to a wall of a container and to extend into the interior of the container, said device having an air inlet at one end thereof adapted to be connected to a source of air exteriorly of the container and an air outlet at the other end thereof interiorly of the container, a flexible, cone shaped flap shaped complementary to the support and secured thereon in close fitting relationship therewith closing said air outlet interiorly of the container, and having an open, large diameter end adjacent the container wall free of attachment to said support for flexing movement thereof toward and away from the support to close and open said air outlet, whereby flow of air through said support and outwardly through said outlet induces flexation of said large diameter end of said flap away from said support and flow of air toward the container wall and into material stored in the container to aerate the material, said flap being caused to flutter or vibrate by air flowing therepast to prevent bridging of the material in the container and to insure substantially complete removal of the material from the container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Solimar Dec. 30, 1975 [75] Inventor: Keith F. Solimar, New Brighton,

Minn.

[73] Assignee: Butler Manufacturing Company,

Kansas City, Mo.

22 Filed: Feb. 4, 1974 21 Appl.No.:439,530

[52] U.S. CI. 222/195; 302/53; 259/DIG. 17 [51] Int. CI. B65G 3/12 [58] Field of Search 222/193, 195, 196, 202,

222/216, 200, 198, 226; 302/52, 53; 259/3646, DIG. 17, DIG. 43; 137/525, 525.3

OTHER PUBLICATIONS Airnetics, Incorporated, Bulletin No. 104, Sept. 1972.

Primary Examiner Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examinerl-l. Grant Skaggs Attorney, Agent, or FirmShoemaker and Mattare [57] ABSTRACT An aeration device and method for assisting discharge of material from containers, comprising a cone shaped support adapted to be affixed to a wall of a container and to extend into the interior of the container, said device having an air inlet at one end thereof adapted to be connected to a source of air exteriorly of the container and an air outlet at the other end thereof interiorly of the container, a flexible, cone shaped flap shaped complementary to the support and secured thereon in close fitting relationship therewith closing said air outlet interiorly of the container, and having an open, large diameter end adjacent the container wall free of attachment to said support for flexing movement thereof toward and away from the support to close and open said air outlet, whereby flow of air through said support and outwardly through said outlet induces flexation of said large diameter end of said flap away from said support and flow of air toward the container wall and into material stored in the container to aerate the material, said flap being caused to flutter or vibrate by air flowing therepast to prevent bridging of the material in the container and to insure substantially complete removal of the material from the container.

6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures FIGS.

US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 FIG .5.

Sheet 2 of 2 AERATION DEVICE AND METHOD FOR ASSISTING DISCHARGE OF MATERIAL FROM CONTAINERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a device and method for introduction of air into dry bulk material to fluidize or condition the material for efficient pneumatic transfer. The device can also be used to introduce air into liquid slurry solutions to keep solids in suspension and provide unloading pressures for the slurry solutions.

The device of the invention is used in pneumatic trailer tanks, rail cars, storage tanks and the like and functions as a check valve when used in relation to dry and liquid product storage.

Various devices are known in the prior art for introducing air into containers to aerate material stored in the containers. However, such devices are either porous, and thus not capable of functioning as a check valve, or they do not vibrate and do not cause as efficient aeration of the material as does the present invention.

The present invention is a device for use in dry bulk trailers, rail cars, storage tanks and the like for effectively introducing air into the container or vessel to condition the material therein (pellets, pebbles, powders, etc.) to aid in the discharge thereof, and the device of the invention may equally as well be used with slurry solutions or liquids to maintain the same properly mixed. The aeration devices of the present invention are positioned in the container or hopper wall at a predetermined height above the outlet from the container or hopper, depending on the characteristics of the material stored therein and the number of devices used, and they provide an excellent unloading rate, with substantially 100% fluidization efficiency at all times, with no back pressure buildup with time.

In the present invention, a flexible, cone shaped member is secured on a complementary shaped support within the container and air is caused to flow into the support and outwardly through openings beneath the cone shaped member to cause the cone shaped member to flutter or vibrate, which in turn causes the adjacent hopper wall or surface to vibrate, and this vibration effects substantially complete removal of material from the container or hopper and also prevents bridging of material in the container or hopper. The vibration effect increases as the level of product in the container falls to a position near the aeration devices or as a bridge develops in the product above the aeration devices. The cone shape of the aeration device of the present invention enables an optimum air flowback pressure curve to be obtained for most effective uniform aeration. Moreover, the material of the flexible cone shaped member does not absorb product dust and moisture and permits interior washing of the hopper without necessitating drying of the cone. The cone will not take a permanent set or lose its elasticity and is not subject to deterioration or product back flow, and will not retard product flow off the hopper wall. Further, with the present invention, condition of the cone can be quickly visually ascertained and it can be removed and replaced in a hopper in a matter of minutes without requiring tools. Still further, the aeration device of the invention is easily interchangeable on hoppers with conical bottoms, and the flexible cone is 2 the only part requiring replacement, thus reducing parts inventory. With the aeration device of the present invention, a

' mechanically controlled air flow back pressure relationship can be established, and it is not necessary to depend on a fabric weave andporosity and the like, which can vary. Moreover, with the present invention air is directed towards the container surface to move and aerate the material therein with much greater efficiency than prior art devices, and the aeration device of the present invention is not susceptible to clogging, as is fabric.

Further, the present invention serves as a positive check valve to prevent product backup and plugging, whether the product is dry, a slurry or a liquid, and the aeration device of the present invention may be easily cleaned, checked and replaced, and the flexible, cone shaped flap of the invention is held in place by the natural resiliency of the material positioned over the conically shaped support member, and no clamps or other securing devices are needed. The fluttering or vibration of the flexible, cone shaped member or flap develops a sonic and vibration effect during certain critical phases of material transfer, thus improving the flow and cleaning out of material from the container.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide an aeration device which functions as a check valve against backflow of product and which can be located in the best position for efficient transfer of product, and wherein the device directs air towardl the container wall for most efflcient aeration of the material stored in the container, and the cone shaped flap of the present invention vibrates during certain critical phases of unloading of material from the container to insure substantially complete removal" of material from the container and to prevent bridging of material in the container.

Another object of the invention is to provide a method of assisting the discharge of material from a container wherein air is discharged toward an inner surface of the container and into the material to fluidize the material, and inducing vibration in the container upon the occurrence of certain conditions to eliminate bridging of the material inthe: container and to insure thorough clean out of material from the container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION. OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view, with portions broken away, of a hopper having aeration devices according to the present invention mounted therein.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, exploded, sectional view of the aeration device of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an assembled sectional view of the device of FIG. 2, taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIGS. 5-8 are diagrammatic views of various stages of discharge of a dry bulk material from a container.

FIGS. 9 and 10 are diagrammatic views of various stages of discharge of a slurry solution from a container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals indicate like parts throughout the several views, a hopper or container H has a conically shaped bottom B with a-discharge opening at its lower end leading into a discharge control valve V which controls discharge of material from the hopper into a transversely extending discharge line L. A plurality of aeration devices 10, in accordance with the invention, are mounted to the conical bottom B of the hopper H above the discharge opening 0 in the hopper and spaced substantially equadistantly around the bottom. An air supply conduit C is connected with each aeration device and with a main supply hose or conduit S connected with a suitable source of air under pressure (not shown).

Each aeration device 10 comprises a valve member 11 secured adjacent the inner surface of the bottom of the hopper, and each valve member 11 includes a generally arrow shaped, hollow body or support 12 having a substantially conically shaped portion 13 with a diametrically enlarged base or end wall 14 at one end thereof, and a reduced diameter, cylindrical extension 15 at the other end thereof. A plurality of radially extending openings 16 extend through the wall of conical portion 13 for flow of air from the body 12 to the interior of the hopper H. A radially outwardly extending flange 17 is formed on the end of the cylindrical extension 15 of body 12, and a cylindrical, axially extending projection or extension 18 is ,on the other end or base of the body 12 and extends outwardly through an opening 0' in the side of the bottom B of hopper H. The extension 18 has a bore 19 extending axially therethrough, and a plurality of inlet openings 20 extend through the side of extension 18 for flow of air from the conduit C and into the hollow interior of the body 12. The lower end of extension 18 is closed at 21 and is internally threaded at 22. 1 j A substantially conically shaped, flexible valve flap 23 has a substantially conically shaped side wall 24 disposed in close fitting, overlying relationshipto the outer surface of conical portion 13 of body 12,.and closes the openings 16 through the side of body 12. The valve flap 23 has a relatively large, open lower end 25, which is adaptedto flex toward and away from the side of portion 13 of body 12 to control flow of air through the openings 16, as indicated in phantom line FIG. 3, for example. The valve flap 23 has a relatively short, cylindrical extension26 on the other end thereof, with a radially inwardly projecting flange 27 in the open end ofextension 26 said flange 27 being engaged behind the radially outwardly extending flange 17 of body 12, to securely position and retain the valve flap 23 in position on the body 12.

A substantially cup shaped, hollow valve retainer and inlet fitting 28 is positioned on the outside of bottom B of hopper H, and has a closed end 29 with an axially extending opening 30 ,therethrough, and an open end 31, and a slightly concave annular end surface 32. A radially extending inlet nipple or fitting 33 projects from one side of the retainer 29 and has a bore .34 therethrough for flow of air from the conduit C to the interior of container 29 and thence into the extension 18 of body l2 and through the interior of the body and outwardly through the openings 16 to the interior of the hopper H. An annular sealing gasket 35 is disposed between the end surface 32 of retainer 29 and the outer surface of the bottom B of hopper H to seal the inlet fitting and retainer 28 relative to the hopper around the opening 0'.

-A valve fastener 36 has an elongate shaft threaded externally at 37 and slidably received through opening 30 in the valve retainer and inlet fitting 28 and thread- 4 ably engaged in the internally threaded portion 22 of body 12 tosecurely draw the body 12 toward the inner surfaceofbottom B of hopper H and to thus clamp the bottomm B between the end 14 of body 12 and the sealing gasket and end surface of valve retainer and inlet fitting 28 to securely and accurately position the aeration devices 10 in the hopper. A handle 38 is connected with the shaft 36 to rotate the shaft to selectively fasten and release the body 12 and valve retainer and inlet fitting 28.

In one specific embodiment of an aeration device in accordance with the invention, the generally arrow shaped body 12 has an overall length of approximately 6 inches, and an overall or maximum diameter of approximately 4 inches. The conical portion 13 of the body is inclined at an angle of approximately 33 relative to the axis and the body 12 has a wall thickness of approximately 3/16 of an inch.

In FIGS. 5-8, various stages of operation of the device are illustrated. In FIG. 5, a container or hopper H is filled with a dry bulk material M and has a plurality of aeration devices 10, in accordance with the invention, secured in the bottom B thereof. A supply conduit S is connected with a suitable source of air under pressure (not shown) and with the conduits C connected with the respective aeration devices 10. The bottom of hopper H is connected with the discharge line L and the flow of material from the hopper to the discharge line L is controlled by valve V. A conduit Cl is also connected with the supply conduit S and with the top of hopper H above the material therein and flow of air through this conduit is controlled by a valve V1. A valve V2 is also connected in the line L to control flow 'of air from the source to the discharge line L. As seen in FIG. 5, valves V1 and V2 are closed, and valve V is closed, and air is flowing from the supply conduit S through the conduits C and through the aeration devices 10 and into the material M in the hopper H. The

cone shaped aeration devices cause the air to flow first toward the hopper sides and then into the material to effectively and efficiently aerate the material M.

In FIG. 6, valves V and V2 are opened and material is flowing from the hopper into the discharge line L. The material is maintainedin a thoroughly fluidized condition by the flow of air through the aeration devices 10.

In FIG. 7, the material M is substantially depleted and the level of the material is slightly above the level of the aeration devices 10. When the material has reached approximately this level in the hopper H, the flexible valve flaps 23 are caused to vibrate by the flow of air from therebeneath and the vibration of the flaps induces vibration of the bottom B of the hopper H, thus resulting in substantially complete removal of the material M from the hopper without any of the material clinging to the hopper sides. This vibration effect also effectively prevents any bridging of material in the hopper during discharge of the material therefrom.

The hopper is seen in FIG. 8 completely empty of material and the flow of air through the aeration devices is inducing vibration in the bottom of the hopper to effect complete cleanout of material from the hopper.

In FIG. 9 and- FIG. 10, use of the invention with a slurry solution is diagrammatically illustrated, and in FIG. 9, the device is shown at rest and the heavy particles P in the slurry solution have settled out to the bottom of the hopper.

In FIG. 10, air is caused to flow from a suitable source through the conduits C and aeration devices into the slurry solution in the hopper to thoroughly mix the particles with the liquid of the slurry.

Flow of material from the hopper l-l may be aided by opening the valve V1 and causing flow of pressurized air from the source S through conduit C to the hopper on top of the material therein, if desired, or flow of material or slurry from the hopper may be accomplished by gravity or suction pump or other suitable means, as desired.

The aeration device of the present invention may be quickly and easily mounted in existing installations, as for example, in the devices disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,152,842 and 3,343,888, or it may be provided in new installations, and the device may be manufactured from any suitable materials, such as plastic, metal, and the like.

Further, the device is quiet and efficient in operation, and use of the device of the invention results in unloading of containers in a much shorter time than heretofor possible, with resultant savings in time and money.

As this invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof, the present embodiment is therefore illustrative and not restirctive, since the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims rather than by the description preceding them, and all changes that fall within the metes and bounds of the claims or that form their functional as well as conjointly cooperative equivalents are, therefore, intended to be embraced by those claims.

I claim:

1. An aeration device for assisting discharge of material from containers, comprising a cone shaped support means having a small diameter end and a large diameter end and adapted to be affixed to a wall of a container with the large end thereof adjacent the interior of the container wall and the small diameter end extending into the interior of the container, said support means having an air inlet adjacent the large diameter end thereof adapted to be connected to a source of air exteriorly of the container, and an air outlet interiorly of the container, a flexible, cone shaped flap correspondingly shaped to the support and having a small diameter end fixed on the small diameter end of the support means and extending in close fitting relationship to the support means and closing said air outlet, the large diameter end of the flap disposed adjacent the container wall when the device is in operative position and said large diameter end of the flap being free of attachment to said support means for flexing movement thereof toward and away from the support means to close and open said air outlet, whereby when said device is used, flow of air through said support means and outwardly through said outlet induces flexation of said large diameter end of said flap away from said support means and flow of air outwardly relative to the axis of the support and toward the container wall and into material stored in the container to aerate the material, the flexibility of said flap being such that it is caused to flutter or vibrate by air flowing therepast to agitate material in the container and prevent bridging of the material in the container and to insure substantially complete removal of the material from the container.

2. An aeration device as in claim 1, wherein said aeration device is mounted in a bottom of a container, and said support means comprises a hollow, substantially arrow shaped body having a generally conically shaped portion with an inner end projecting into the interior of the container and a diametrically enlarged base end engaged with an inner surface portion of the bottom of the container, an axially projecting extension on the base end and extended through an opening in the bottom of the container to exteriorly of the container, and fastening means on the outside of the container engaged with the support means to securely maintain the support means against the inner surface of the bottom of the container.

3. An aeration device as in claim 2, wherein a radially enlarged annular flange is on the inner end of the body and said flexible flap has a small diameter end resiliently engaged behind the flange on the body to retain the flap in position on the body.

4. An aeration device as in claim 2, wherein said fastening means includes a cup shaped housing engaged against the outer surface of the bottom of the container and in surrounding relation to the extension on the body, an inlet fitting on the cup shaped member for attachment thereto of a suitable source of air under pressure, and a threaded fastener extended through an opening in the cup shaped member into threaded engagement with the extension of the body to draw the extension and cup shaped member toward one another on opposite sides of the bottom of the container to securely position the aeration device in the container.

5. An aeration device as in claim 2, wherein a plural ity of said aeration devices are mounted in the bottom of the container in equally spaced relationship to one another.

6. An aeration device as in claim 2, wherein said body has a short cylindrical extension at the inner end thereof with a radially outward extending annular flange on the end of the extension, said flexible flap having a small diameter end with a short cylindrical portion disposed in snug fitting surrounding relation to the cylindrical portion of the body and resiliently engaged behind said flange to maintain said flap in position on said body.

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Referenced by
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US4016994 *Sep 16, 1975Apr 12, 1977Wurster Wilfred AMobile vacuum and pneumatic unit
US4030755 *Dec 31, 1975Jun 21, 1977Union Industrielle Et D'entrepriseMethod and apparatus for fluidifying powderous substances
US4057155 *Nov 4, 1976Nov 8, 1977Procor LimitedRailroad car
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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/195, 366/349, 406/137
International ClassificationB65G53/04, B65D88/00, B65G53/22, B65D88/70
Cooperative ClassificationB65G53/22, B65D88/706
European ClassificationB65D88/70C, B65G53/22
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 11, 1994ASAssignment
Owner name: BUTLER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, MISSOURI
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CERTAIN BANKS AND MORGAN GUARANTY TRUST COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:007052/0953
Effective date: 19940624
Aug 28, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: MORGAN GUARANTY TRUST COMPANY OF NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BUTLER MANUFACTURING COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:005252/0023
Effective date: 19890824
Sep 29, 1986AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: ACF INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED, 3301 RIDER TRAIL SOU
Effective date: 19860916
Owner name: NORTH AMERICAN CAR CORPORATION, A DE. CORP.
Sep 29, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: ACF INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED, 3301 RIDER TRAIL SOU
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:NORTH AMERICAN CAR CORPORATION, A DE. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004612/0368
Effective date: 19860916
Aug 15, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: MOBIL OIL CORPORATION, A NY CORP.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CLOUD, WAYNE B.;REEL/FRAME:004170/0554
Effective date: 19830808
Aug 15, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: CLOUD, WAYNE B.
Owner name: MOBIL OIL CORPORATION, A NY CORP.
Effective date: 19830808
Jan 9, 1981AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: BUTLER MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Effective date: 19801231
Owner name: NORTH AMERICAN CAR CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DEL.
Jan 9, 1981ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BUTLER MANUFACTURING COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:003826/0274
Owner name: NORTH AMERICAN CAR CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DEL., S
Effective date: 19801231