How to Choose the Best Truck & Trailer Vibrator(s) Based on the Material You’re Hauling

Mike Stratis

Are you hauling a sticky material, such as DDG or soybean meal, in a hopper bottom trailer? Maybe carrying gravel or asphalt in a dump trailer? What about fertilizer in a v-body spreader?

The reason we ask this information when working with clients is because the material characteristics play a major role in determining the best type of vibrator to help quickly and safely unload the trailer. There is a big difference between unloading sticky DDG’s from a hopper bottom trailer compared to cleaning out the hopper bottom that was carrying whole potatoes or other free flowing materials like corn and wheat.

Another example that is common would be a dump trailer carrying free flowing gravel compared to moist asphalt. The trailer carrying gravel, a mostly free flowing material, usually can get away with a smaller vibrator simply because we only need to get the gravel flowing then let gravity help stockpile or unload. Meanwhile, the sticky asphalt presents a tougher challenge. A stronger vibrator, and often higher quantity of vibrators, is needed for this application.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to the type of material you’re hauling is:

  1. If the material is free flowing and all the vibrator needs to do is help clean out the trailer, we would only need trailer dimensions and wall thickness to properly size the vibrator required to get the job done.
  2. If the material is sticky and not free flowing, we will need to calculate the amount of material in the trailer itself, plus review dimensions and wall thickness to determine the best size and number of vibrators required for the process.

The old way of sizing a vibrator for a trailer was to only look at the dimensions of the trailer body. While this may work on occasion, there is a chance this method will lead to an oversized or undersized vibrator. As vibrator enthusiasts, we feel we would be doing the client a disservice if we don’t ask the proper questions to get correct information and properly specify the number and strength of vibrator needed for the trailer.

Here is a short list of questions that we would need to help you determine the vibrators required:

  1. What type and what are the dimensions of the trailer?
  2. What is the wall thickness of trailer and/or is there a liner installed?
  3. What are the material characteristics for your application?
  4. What type of power supply required? Air or 12/24VDC?

With these details, we’d be able to help keep your process (and materials) moving!

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