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Technical Information 14

Ferroalloy Storage Bin Design

This Technical information sheet describes a ferroalloy storage bin designed to minimise segrega-
tion effects of alloys during processing in the foundry. Segregation may cause erratic variations in
alloy performances and recoveries when used in cast iron production.

How Do Alloys Segregate?

Ferroalloys are often shipped in big-bag packaging. These are provided in a variety of styles and
sizes. When alloy is filled into bags, segregation tend to occur which causes more coarse particles
to concentrate along the periphery of the bag and fine particles in the centre. This phenomenon is
shown schematically in Figure 1. As alloys are subject to the motions involved with transportation,
the finer sizes may also tend to segregate to the bottom of the bag. This effect can be magnified
when alloy is removed from the top of the big-bag, with the last material being rich in finer sizes.
This is shown schematically in Figure 2.

When alloy is discharged from the bottom of the bag using a discharge spout built into the bag, or
from a hopper knife located in the centre of the bag, it is possible that further segregation of sizes
may occur. This is illustrated in Figure 3. In this case the finer sizes tend to discharge first and the
coarser sizes later. If alloy is discharged into another container, such as a bottom discharge
hopper, the same effect shown in Figure 1 will be repeated, only the effect will be magnified.

Red bands indicate coarser alloy and blue bands indicate finer sizes in Figures 1 through 3.

Figure 1: Segregation phenomena Figure 2: Finer sizes may segregate Figure 3: Bottom discharge causing
occurring during filling of big-bag to the bottom of the package. This finer material to discharge first and the
giving coarser particles along the effect can be magnified when alloy is coarser material last.
periphery of the big-bag and finer removed from the top, and the last
particles in the centre. material will be rich in finer sizes.

Alloy handling to minimise segregation

It is recommended that bottom discharge steel bins be used to store and dispense MgFeSi alloys.
Figure 4, side view, shows the re-blending effect during big-bag discharge that can be gained by
using multiple knives in the top of the bin. These are placed midway between the centre and the
side of the bag, in both side and end view directions. This makes 5 knives in total, which open 5
discharge holes in the bottom of the big-bag when lowered onto the knives by a crane or a forklift
truck. Figure 4, front view, shows how alloy can be further re-blended by using a rake to pull alloy
out across the full length of the discharge trough. The re-blended material falls into a container,
which sits on a scale below the trough. This requires considerably less effort than shovelling alloy
from a bin discharge trough, whilst minimising spillage and segregation.

Elkem ASA, Foundry Products © Copyright Elkem ASA

Postal address Office address Telephone Web Revision
P.O.Box 5211 Majorstuen Hoffsveien 65B +47 22 45 01 00 www.foundry.elkem.com No. 2.11
NO-0302 Oslo Oslo Telefax Org. no. 20.01.2005
Norway +47 22 45 01 52 NO 911 382 008 MVA
Technical Information 14 2

Figure 4: Re-blending bin discharge. Side view (left), front view (right).

Figures 5 and 6 shows photos of a ferroalloy bin designed to minimize segregation effects.

Figure 5: Upper picture shows example of bin design Figure 6: Upper picture showing discharge opening. Lower
for minimised segregation. Dimensions are approx. left picture showing a big-bag being lowered into the hopper.
1250mm wide and 2000mm high. Capacity is Note that knives will open the bag and eliminate the need for
approximately 1500 kg MgFeSi. the operator to open bottom discharge spout while the bag is
Lower picture shows knives for cutting open the bottom suspended.
of the big-bags. Lower right picture shows operator raking alloy out of the
trough. Each stroke should be the full length of the trough.