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Agitator Hoppers

Agitator Hopper for Bulk Material Conveyance and Conditioning

Ensuring Reliable Introduction of Properly Conditioned Bulk Materials

National Bulk Equipment agitator hopper systems are specifically engineered for bulk material processing applications where downstream production or packaging operations are highly dependent on consistent introduction of properly conditioned, accurately supplied bulk material.

Where infeed challenges such as bridging or ratholing are impediments to repeatable material supply, agitator hopper systems from NBE function as a vital stage in the processing sequence. National Bulk Equipment agitator hoppers are engineered to leverage our structural specifications with our controls and automation architecture to create an integrated infrastructure that improves operator interaction with the system, provides more comprehensive and actionable performance data, and reduces total cost of ownership.

Features and Integration:

Standard Build Details

Application Selections

NBE engineers go beyond broadly specified drive components to deliver an application-specific system for each process that utilizes rugged componentry, optimized for torque, duty cycle, and efficiency. This approach results in a longer-lasting, higher-performing agitator.

Agitator Type

Multiple agitator configurations are available to meet processing throughput needs, even with the most challenging materials. Agitators elements are configured with heavy duty bearing assemblies, and additional application-specific engineering features like optional air-purge shaft seals to meet customer requirements.

  • Agitator Hopper with Z-paddle Agitator DesignZ Paddle: The NBE Z-paddle features an innovative configuration that utilizes opposing, angled tines that sweep through material and move it from the sides of the hopper toward the middle discharge trough. The design of the Z-paddle is superior to straight bars or rounded tines, which move through material, but do not direct it away from the sides of the hopper, often leaving parts of each batch unconditioned. NBE engineers optimize the length and angle of the Z-paddle to the specific needs of each application and material consistency.
  • Agitator Hopper with Plow Agitator DesignPlow: Plow-style agitators are specified for extremely sluggish, dense, or incompressible materials. In these particularly challenging situations, traditional tine and arm designs may be unable to effectively agitate hopper contents. Plow-style elements cut into the material and spread particles with even pressure, gently moving them toward the inlet trough.
  • Agitator Hopper with Ribbon-style Agitator DesignRibbon: Helical ribbon blenders are an effective method to promote flow in hard-to-convey fine powders or granules, even when material levels in the hopper are low. Heavy-duty opposing ribbons are placed along a horizontal shaft, moving material both axially and radially throughout the hopper. Even at low speed, this motion completely conditions the batch, ensuring downstream operations have a reliable material input. Final speed, flight angle, and any additional agitation aids can be specified through material testing.

Auger Size

Offering multiple screw sizes allows National Bulk Equipment application engineers to properly specify screw diameters to the individual requirements of each customer process. With standard sizes ranging from 6” to over 24”, and category-leading standard build specification, a high degree of control can be applied to match specific material flow characteristics and processing conditions.

Optional Features

Whether a fully integrated and automated system or a stand-alone unit, National Bulk Equipment agitator hopper systems contribute effectively and efficiently to our customers' process operations because every NBE agitator hopper project is engineered-to-application. This method allows each project to fit the specific requirements of each process, from downstream requirements to regulatory demands.

  • Agitator Hopper ExtensionsHopper Extensions: Optional extensions can be added to straight-walled agitator hoppers that increase capacity in high-volume or large batch operations. Level sensors, view windows, and other accessories are available to increase functionality and integration with control and monitoring systems.
  • Agitator Hopper with Bolt-on CoverBolt-on Cover: A bolted carbon or 304 stainless steel bolt-on cover reduces dusting and the introduction of unwanted debris into the hopper. Covers include a 10” dia. x 3” high inlet (centered) and a 3” dia. x 3” high dust port.
  • Quick Release Cover: Quick release clamps and two lifting handles make hopper-top access easy. Quick release covers include a 10” dia. x 3” high inlet (centered) and a 3” dia. x 3” high dust port.
  • Hinged Cover: Hinged covers include a lifting handle and manual prop rod, and can be specified in painted carbon steel or 304 stainless.
  • Pneumatically Actuated Covers: For agitator hoppers where easy access to the top of the unit is necessary, pneumatically actuated covers can improve operator ergonomics and eliminate overhead cranes or other equipment to lift and secure them. Gas-spring or active pneumatic actuation systems are available depending on cover and hopper size.
  • Auger Through Housing Drop Down Door: Swing-down, hinged sections allow easy access to the entire length of the discharge trough for cleanout and inspection, without having to remove the entire unit or disassemble core agitator components.
  • Top Cover Access Door: Where a top cover is utilized, a gasketed access door can be provided to allow access without removing the entire cover. Available with an optional view window, all access doors include safety cutoff switches, which are wired and integrated at the factory.
  • Agitator Hopper with Explosion MitigationExplosion Mitigation: NBE agitator hoppers are commonly designed for compliance with Class I customer specification for explosive or ignitable mixtures. In addition to selecting the correct drive system, NBE engineers can also integrate additional sensing systems and protected controls enclosures, where applicable, with the standard equipment for additional monitoring.
  • Agitator Hopper with Level SensorsLevel Sensors: High and low level sensors are available to ensure proper material quantities are being maintained within the hopper. NBE level sensors ship configured with the standard controls package, and can be paired with a customized control architecture to ensure integration with existing plant systems like automated batching systems, or downstream process monitoring software.
  • Agitator Hopper Load CellsLoad Cells: Load cells for loss-in-weight infeed or other integrated processes can be specified for NBE agitator hoppers. Most designs incorporate adjustable mounts that can be easily trimmed for the best overall scale performance. Additionally, the load cells are mounted in a manner that does not weigh the entire machine. This results in increased scale accuracy as the load cells transmit weight loss information to the digital scale controller mounted to the main control enclosure.
  • Agitator Hopper Material View WindowView Windows: View windows give operators access to monitor the agitation and discharge process without opening the hopper or taking a material sample, reducing the opportunity for errant dusts and other particulate matter to be introduced into or to exit the hopper.
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