AZO Publishes Free Guide Detailing Discharge Aids for Bulk Material Handling

Gus Carrington

Gus Carrington About The Author

Dec 7, 2021

Sometimes we all need a little help to get where we’re going. In the bulk material handling world, assistance in this pursuit is given to ingredients by discharge aids. Also known as “flow aids,” these are tools that come in a variety of shapes and sizes to help move various materials.

Deciding which aid can and should be used in your pneumatic conveying system can be tricky, but a new guide from AZO seeks to help material handlers in a plethora of different industries determine how to solve flow issues with the right addition to the factory floor. No matter how robust and expertly-crafted a material handling system may be, “Flow and Functionality: Determining The Proper Discharge Aids for Your Bulk Material Handling Process” could be the saving grace that leads your materials to flow properly.

General manager of AZO Inc. Chuck Kerwin said that in the more than 40 years of bulk material handling that AZO has helped facilitate, those at the company have “seen it all,” when it comes to selecting the correct flow aid for the job.

“Companies should start thinking about discharge aids before they actually need them,” Kerwin said. “Everyone should know something about them, in a general sort of way at least. When you realize you need help, you then have some general idea where to start.”

Topics covered in this free offering include conditioning by three different means: delumping, dehumidification and aeration. Some other topics include the types of flow agents that can be utilized as discharge aids, utilizing vibration as a discharge aid and how hopper geometry ultimately shapes a conveying system.

“In order to decide what discharge aids fit an operation, manufacturers should first determine the root cause of the problem,” Kerwin said. “Develop a set of possible solutions based on the realities of the real world.”

More questions to ask when continuing to assess these problems include: Is the problem area accessible? Does the problem area include a scale or a moving piece of equipment? What is the cost to install and to operate? Is there a possible solution upstream from the problem area that might be easier to get to?

“Companies might be surprised to learn that it is easier and cheaper to install a flow aid during  construction, assuming the worst-case scenario rather than hoping for the best and dealing with a problem after start-up,” he said.

AZO, Inc. engineers, builds and installs components and complete systems for bulk material handling requirements. A wholly-owned subsidiary of AZO GmbH, the company supports U.S. customers with technical support from its Memphis location and rapid parts delivery. AZO equipment is used in companies ranging from small, family-owned businesses through the world’s best known industrial and consumer products companies. More info about our company, as well as common questions related to the world of ingredient handling, can be answered on our company blog at