The Importance of Proper Installation of Industrial Vibrators

Mike Stratis

“If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it again?” – John Wooden, former UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach and Presidential Medal of Freedom award winner.

We have a few frequently asked questions in regards to bin vibrators and many of them revolve around how to get the unit installed. Here is the down and dirty:

  1. Determine the best location of the piston vibrator. Keep in mind, sometimes multiple vibrators are necessary for proper material flow out of bins and hoppers. It comes down to the diameter of the bin or hopper. If the hopper diameter is less and 8 ft. wide, only 1 vibratory unit is necessary. For medium sized hopper that fall within the 8-15 ft. width, 2 units will get the job done. Lastly, large hoppers and bin with a diameter greater than 15 ft. require 3 vibrators.For multiple vibrator unit installs, placement is key. Mount the vibrator to the hopper wall 1/3 the distance from the discharge to the top of the sloped wall. Should a second vibrator be necessary, it should be mounted opposite and approximately 1/4 way up the sloped wall. For large hopper applications requiring three vibrators, mount the third vibrator 1/2 way up the sloped wall.

    The rule of thumb is that a correctly sized vibrator will have an approximate 5ft. radius of influence on material and structure, but when in doubt as to where to install your vibrator, think about where your problem point is and make sure vibration gets to it.

  2. Stitch weld the mounting channel or stiffener plate to the bin wall. Leave the corners on the mounting medium (channel or plate) free of weld. To see why, check out Craig Macklin’s blog titled, “Vibrators Don’t Damage Equipment, Wrong Installations Do.” 
  3. Use the grade 5 fasteners provided by CVC. Tighten them down. The VMS, VMSAC and SI series offer the 4-bolt pattern. This may take an extra few minutes but it offers twice the support compared to 2-bolt pattern units.
  4. Thread the provided port protector or muffler included with the pneumatic vibrator into the exhaust port. Securely tighten.
  5. Loop the safety cable through the hole in the casting as a precautionary measure. Always put safety first!

Now that the vibrator is properly installed, next topic is the air that is powering the unit.

  1. Is the air hose providing enough air to the piston vibrator? Check with a Cleveland Vibrator representative to determine the best NPT fitting and ID of the hose to prevent “choking” of vibrator.
  2. Is the valve (solenoid, ball, etc.) clean and working properly? Keep in mind, we recommend having the valve that is specifically for the vibrator operation installed within 10 ft. of the unit.
  3. Is the FRL (filter, regulator & lubricator) before the valve? Just like what we suggest
    for the vibrator, the filtered, regulated and lubricated air into the valve will help with the longevity of this component as well. (See illustration on right for reference)
  4. Does the air go through a filter-regulator-lubricator (FRL) prior to reaching the vibrator? We suggest having the FRL installed between the plant air line and the valve that is specifically for the vibrator. The FRL should be within 10ft of the unit itself.
    1. Step 1: Filter the air
    2. Step 2: Regulate to 20-80 psi
    3. Step 3: Use Vibra-Lube or a similar 10W/NR lubricant. We recommend 1-2 drops per minute of operation for piston vibrators 2” or less in diameter. 2-3 drops per minute of operation for 3” and larger diameter piston vibrators.

Performing routine maintenance checks of the vibrator and it’s working parts is key to success.

Similar to how the grounds crew at Augusta National maintain the golf course every year at the Masters (you know I always love a good golf analogy), the facilities and operators that follow the proper installation procedure will reap the benefits of a long lasting pneumatic piston vibrator. We certainly understand that not all plant environments are perfect for equipment but if the time is taken to install the air vibrator correctly, the return on investment can certainly be noticed. After spending the time and money on purchasing a material flow aid, sure to follow the steps to keep it running like a well oiled machined.

If these quick tips do not solve the question you have, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are always here to help!

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One Response to The Importance of Proper Installation of Industrial Vibrators
  1. Will Fawkes Reply

    That quote by John Wooden is great and seems especially applicable. I appreciate your advice on the installation of industrial vibrators. As you say, I want my pneumatic vibrator to last as long as is possible since it’s quite the investment, so your tips seem especially helpful. I hope to see great results from following your advice. Thanks.

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