The process of unloading and loading hopper railcars can present many challenges depending on the material being handled, as well as environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. In colder environments materials can begin to freeze together, which can make material adhere to the railcar walls and create clumps of material larger than the railcar discharge opening. Similarly, in hot, humid environments, hygroscopic material can begin to clump together causing difficult unloading operations. These circumstances can lead to poor material flow for some materials, leading to bridging or rat holing during railcar unloading.

When customers reach out to Wm. Neundorfer & Company regarding their railcar unloading application, there are three different types of railcar vibrators/shakers that we recommend depending on the customer’s specific application. These solutions include:

  • Hopper Car Portable Railcar Vibrators
  • Railside Railcar Shakers
  • Overhead Railcar Shakers

In this article we will review each of these pieces of equipment and how they improve the railcar unloading process.

Hopper Car Portable Railcar Vibrators

Category:

Light Duty to Medium Duty

How it works:

The Hopper Car Portable Railcar Vibrator (HCP) is a pneumatic piston vibrator designed to fit into the dovetail brackets found at the discharge pocket of hopper railcars. When activated, the HCP vibrator moves back and forth within the bracket. This movement allows the HCP vibrator to utilize its full mass to create a hammer like impact within the bracket. This force is transferred through the hopper wall and into the material, where it breaks up material bridging and rat holing, allowing the material to flow freely.

When To Choose:

HCP Vibrators are well suited for applications where the material being unloaded is fairly free flowing. They are also ideal when the flow issues are mainly concentrated in the hoppers of the railcar or arise occasionally.

Where its Used:

Agriculture, Energy, Cement, Chemicals, Plastics, Food & Beverage

Rail Hopper Car Portable (HCP) Vibrator

Railside Railcar Shakers

Category:

Medium Duty to Heavy Duty

How it works:

The Railside Railcar Shaker can be driven by either a pneumatic piston vibrator or electric vibratory drives to create the vibration necessary to get material flowing. It is installed adjacent to the rail site at the unloading station and bolted securely to a foundation. When a railcar is positioned at the unloading area, the shaker extends and lays its contact beam against the side sill of the railcar. When the shaker is activated, it produces a linear vibration that is imparted into the material. This breaks up any bridging, rat holing, or clinging material and enables quicker, complete unloading of the railcar.

When To Choose:

Railside Car Shakers excel in assisting the unloading of moderately difficult materials. This equipment has the power to exert influence over the entire car, and greatly reduces labor requirements for railcar unloading.

Where its Used:

Power, Mining, Refining, Chemicals, Grain, Feed

Rail Side Railcar Shaker

Overhead Railcar Shakers

Category:

Heavy Duty to Extreme Duty

How it works:

The Overhead Railcar Shaker is designed for use on open-top hopper railcars. The Overhead Railcar Shaker is lowered and positioned atop the car, where its two feet make contact with the top rail of railcar. When the exciter drive that powers the shaker is energized, it lifts the shaker’s 10,000 lbs. mass off the top rails and drops back down in continuous, quick succession. This creates a vibration response in the railcar walls, which is transferred to the material, causing it to release and flow.

When to choose:

Overhead Railcar Shakers are best utilized in applications with high volume and materials with very difficult flow characteristics. Overhead Railcar Shakers are also the preferred aid for railcar unloading in very demanding environments and/or critical processes.

Where its Used:

Aggregates, Power, Mining, Refining

Rail Overhead Railcar Shaker

These are the three types of railcar shakers that Wm. Neundorfer & Co. recommends to provide reliable and safe railcar unloading. If you have any questions about the capabilities or benefits of any of this specialized vibratory equipment, contact Wm. Neundorfer & Co. today.