How to Select the Right Industrial Vibrator

March 26, 2019

The Act GroupConveyor Belt Resources

A quick how-to guide for selecting a material flow aid vibrator

The ACT Group has choosing the right rotary, piston or electric vibrator for your material handling needs almost down to an exact science. We have helped many industrial contractors find the solutions they need to prevent ratholing and other common flow problems. If you’re in the market for a railcar or hopper vibrator, consult our guide to narrow your selection process.

The purpose of an industrial vibrator is to keep fine and coarse materials flowing properly during manufacturing, loading and unloading processes. They are available in either mechanical (piston-driven) or electrical (rotary-style) formats. The size of the vibrator and how it is mounted makes a direct impact on how effective it is for your intended use.

The ACT Group is a proud supplier of Global Manufacturing products. You can count on us to be your source of all types of industrial vibrators from rotary electric to pneumatic or piston ball options.

Types of Industrial Vibrators, How They Operate, and Suggested Material Flow Aid

Electric Vibrators


Alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) in single- and three-phase options

The electric motor rotates shaft-mounted

unbalanced weights, and this reaction produces vibration

Best used with granular materials

Hydraulic Vibrators


Motor-driven options

These use an external motor to drive the shaft-

mounted unbalanced weights to create vibration

Best used with coarse materials

Pneumatic Rotary Vibrators


Ball, Turbine, and Roller options

The material rotates from the pneumatic turbine

operation or as a reaction to higher frequencies

Best used with granular materials

Linear Vibrators


Piston options

Motor-driven options

The rapidly-moving pistons create a linear

shock wave of energy to encourage material flow

Best used with coarse materials

Railcar Vibrators


Varies between Impacting, air-cushioned, hydraulic, pneumatic rotary, and clamp-on options

Uses a bracket to stay on the railcar and delivers an impacting blow to dislodge materials

Best used with granular materials

Examples of fine, granular flow materials:

  • Cement
  • Flour
  • Sand
  • Powders
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Examples of coarse flow materials:

  • Hulled rice
  • Grain or DDG
  • Wood chips
  • Gravel
  • Coal
  • Ores
  • Fertilizers
  • Rock salt

Wood chipper uses pneumatic rotary vibrator to pour shavings into storageGeneral functions and operational power aside, the density of the materials also determines the size of your industrial vibrator selection. It’s important to calculate an approximate weight to force ratio within your hopper or storage transfer element. The weighted amount within your hopper (ie. pounds of material per cubic feet) best determines how much force will be necessary to move the materials.

For example, we are providing a given rule* of normal being 90 pounds per cubic foot. Here are four possible scenarios with distinguishing factors:

  1. Free flowing materials with estimation of fewer than 90 pounds per cubic foot
  2. Sticky or high-moisture materials weighing more than 90 pounds per cubic foot
  3. Load heavier than 90 pounds per cubic foot but flows easily (new ratio: 1 lb. force/5 lb. material)
  4. Load lighter than 90 pounds per cubic foot with a tendency to bridge or cling in normal conditions (new ratio: 1 lb. force/8 lb. material)

*The ratios provided are pure estimates and should not to be an absolute rule for all industrial vibrator manufacturers. Here at the ACT Group, we’ve found these to be close to accurate in selecting Global Manufacturing vibrator sizes for many scenarios.

 When More Than One Industrial Vibrator is Necessary

Albeit rare, two or more material flow aids may be needed for certain applications. Here are two example scenarios for this need:

  1. The width of hopper diameter or length of largest hopper side is longer than 10 ft (3.05m)
  2. Amount of force needed to restore material flow exceeds the capacity of the selected vibrator

This is a great time for you to reach out to your ACT Group representative to discuss your needs and preferred industrial vibrator. We can help you determine if one or more of these are necessary for your application. In the event you do need a support tool, we can determine which one will give you the best results with your preferred choice from the Global Manufacturing line.