A Texas ready-mix producer has embraced upgraded aeration of material silos at his 38 plants for more than 23 years with resulting savings of “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Ingram Ready-Mix with corporate offices in New Braunfels, TX, acting on the advice of Paul Montoya, founder of Concrete Plant Restoration, Saint Hedwig, TX, replaces air pads with Solimar disk type aerators in all of their plants. “I recommend that they replace cloth air pads anywhere in the batching process – silos, bins, hoppers,” reports Montoya, “If a customer knows about maintenance and the need to fluidize the material, they will appreciate modern aeration.”
“Our ultimate goal is a safe, maintenance-free operation with zero downtime at our plants,” explains Hayes, “The added productivity benefits and material savings are big plusses with modern aeration. And we haven’t had to replace the original Solimars we installed in 1992.”
Jerry Hayes, Ingram’s operations manager for their dry-mix plants grouped around Austin and south, says, “We really needed to load the trucks faster because the air pads would clog requiring plant operators to crank up the air pressure in the fly ash and cement silos.” Hayes reports that the switch to the silicone disk aerators immediately increased efficiency by loading faster, “We get two more trucks loaded per hour after switching out the air pads for Solimar units, which makes for a fast return on our investment.” Multiplied by the 400 hundred trucks in their fleet, the productivity increase is big.
The Solimar disk provides uniform flow and discharge. The silicone rubber disk provides directional air flow and gently vibrates the silo wall to prevent bridging, rat holing and compacting in storage bins and silos. The aerators do not require maintenance averting confined space entry and expensive downtime to remove accumulated material. Installation is through air pad openings with the company’s EZ-IN kit that utilizes existing air lines. A typical installation requires 18 aerators in a plant at a total cost of $2300 according to Montoya.
Hayes sees additional benefits including more accurate batching and reduced downtime for maintenance, “We used to have to remove the contents of the silo to a trailer, replace the air pads and transfer the material back in while the trucks sat idle for a day or two. That’s no way to make money in the ready-mix business.” Montoya claims that weigh-ups are faster and more accurate, “Even if you are saving only one to two percent in material, the savings add up.”