Actionable Sales Information for VIBCO Partners

  • [INFOGRAPHIC] 8 Amazing Facts About Concrete

    by [user not found] | Sep 18, 2015

    Concrete is one of the world's most used building materials and the history of concrete is a decorated one. Here are 8 amazing facts about concrete:


    1. Reinforced Concrete Was "Laughed Down" At First

    Ernest L. Ransome, an English engineer, is credited as the inventor of rebar and the idea of structurally reinforced concrete. 

    While seen as a necessity in construction today, in Ransome’s 1912 book, “Reinforced Concrete Buildings,” Ransome makes note of how his idea was “laughed down” by the Technical Society of California. 

    Soon after implementing his idea on the Alvord Lake Bridge, he left to the east coast feeling his idea would be better appreciated on the east coast.

    2. The World’s First Concrete Bridge is Still Standing

    Alvord Lake Bridge was built in 1889 in San Francisco, CA. This bridge was the first - and oldest - reinforced concrete bridge, and it still exists today, over one hundred years after it was built. The bridge is also one of the earliest uses of rebar to reinforce structures

    3. Portland Cement Isn’t Named After Portland, OR

    In 1824, Englishman Joseph Aspdin was awarded the patent for a substance he called Portland Cement. He called it such because it resembled the “oolithic limestone” - or Portland stone - of Portland, England.

    4. Thomas Edison Designed The First Concrete Homes

    In 1908, Thomas Edison designed and built the first concrete homes in Union, New Jersey.

    Edison’s idea was to make a house out of a single pour of concrete. He believed given the right mold, “stairs, mantels, ornamental ceilings and other interior decorations and fixtures” would form formed from the same pour.

    While the goal was efficiency in home building, the reality wasn’t. Historian Adam Goodheart wrote that “a builder had to buy at least $175,000 worth of material before pouring a single home.” Adjusted to 2015 dollars, that’s over 4 million dollars!

    5. The Ready Made Concrete Industry Is Massive

    As of 2015, the total sum value of all the ready mixed concrete that is produced by the concrete industry is estimated at $25 billion USD.

    6. Were The Giza Pyramids Built From Concrete?

    Scientists have debated whether the stones that created the Giza Pyramids were carved from stone or cast from a limestone and water mixture and hardened.

    In the 1980s French chemical engineer Joseph Davidovits argued that ancient Giza builders used pulverized limestone mixed with water and hardened the material in natural forms. In 2006, Drexel University researcher Michel Barsoum found a “small but significant” portion of the Giza blocks were cast from limestone.

    7. Before There Was Portland Cement, There Was Roman Concrete

    The Romans are credited as the first developed society to manufacture and construct buildings out of concrete. The Roman concrete was made from lime, volcanic sand and volcanic rocks.

    Scientists later found a ‘secret ingredient’ within the Roman concrete: stratlingite crystals. These crystals formed as a result of volcanic sand binding with limestone. The result was a material that prevented cracking by reinforcing interfacial zones.

    8. The Oldest Piece Of Concrete Was Found in Israel

    The earliest documented finding of concrete dates back to 12,000,000 B.C. in Israel. Israeli geologists in the 1960s unearthed and dated reactions between limestone and oil shale during a spontaneous combustion sometime in history.

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  • On the Job: Tappan Zee Bridge, New York

    by [user not found] | Aug 14, 2015

    vibco vibrators Tappan-Zee bridge project header image

    The Tappan Zee Bridge is in the middle of a massive reconstruction project and VIBCO is part of the job.

    A Short History of the Tappan Zee Bridge

    The first Tappan Zee Bridge was built from 1951 to 1953. The project cost approximately $8 million (about $61 million in today’s dollars) and was seen as an ambitious project to connect north New Jersey to New York City. Once completed, the new influx of commuter traffic that could easily travel from New York to New Jersey and vice versa spurred businesses and real estate developers to set up company branches and housing, providing commuters with ample new job opportunities.

    The newness of the Tappan Zee was short lived. By 1960, not even a decade after its completion, reports and studies on the bridge revealed that officials and contractor companies had cut corners. The bridge’s finish was beginning to deteriorate, other parts of the bridge were built well below acceptable building standard. Moreover, the original Tappan Zee was designed to be nonredundant, meaning that there was little to no support built into the bridge to help stabilize and secure it should a massive shot hit the bridge jeopardizing it’s structural integrity. For comparison, a suspension bridge’s cable supports are a form of redundancy in engineering.

    Since 2013, a brand new Tappan Zee Bridge has been under construction. Discussions about the project began back in 1999 and spanned almost a decade before any actions were taken. Almost “$88 million in taxpayer dollars was spent, 430 meetings were held, 150 concepts were considered” according to the project overview section of the Tappan Zee Bridge’s website. The project was stuck in a decade-long limbo.

    It wouldn’t be until 2011 when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with help of President Obama’s newly passed Design-Build legislation was the project finally able to leave the discussion room and finally begin construction.

    According to the Tappan Zee Bridge’s website, the project is:

    • Designed to last 100 years without major structural maintenance
    • Projected to cost 3.1 billion dollars over 5 years (April 2018 is the projected unveiling date)
    • Expected to meet or exceed environmental standards

    On the Job: VIBCO and the New Tappan Zee Bridge

    VIBCO began working with the Tappan Zee Bridge contracting company back in 2014. The Tappan Zee contractors contacted VIBCO to explore the idea of using external vibrators on the bridge's pillar and pylon construction.

    Prior to contacting VIBCO, the Tappan Zee Bridge contractors were using internal vibrators to consolidate their concrete pours and experienced a myriad of problems with the internal vibrators they were using. Among the recurring problems were:

    • Inconsistencies in consolidation from pour to pour
    • Voids and rock pockets
    • Unable to get in between the structure’s heavy rebar structure without getting damaged
    • Achieving a substandard finish

    Moreover, the internals weren’t long enough to reach the full length of the climbing forms.

    VIBCO supplied the Tappan Zee workers with our external electric vibrators on the bridge's 16 North and South Main Span Towers and for their pylon pours. The bridge was using OM Engineering climbing concrete forms.

    After the first use, all the problems mentioned above were no more. The vibrators mounted effortlessly onto the bridge’s climbing forms and once activated delivered the smooth, professional finish the contractors were looking for as well as the consistency from concrete pour to concrete pour.

    Earlier this month, we paid a visit at the request of the Tappan Zee contractors to the job site for some additional consultation.

    Here are some photos from the day's activities as well as some photos of our vibrators at work on the climbing forms.

    tappan zee -51 vibco vibrators crane shot

    tappan zee -109 vibco vibrators rebar shot

    tappan zee bridge rebuilding project vibco vibrators rebar shot 2

    tappan zee bridge rebuilding project vibco vibrators rebar shot 2

    tappan zee bridge rebuilding project vibco vibrators team shot

    Check out more VIBCO case studies, field stories and product applications under our On the Job section.

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  • On the Job: Green Concrete Home Project

    by [user not found] | Aug 04, 2015

    Last week, the VIBCO field team delivered a shipment of our US-700 vibrators to a job site in southern Rhode Island.

    The job site was a private residential home overlooking a small river. VIBCO began working with the owner and their construction service, Silviera Masonry LLC, back in March to equip the owner of the home his contracting company with the right external vibrators for the job. 

    This was the first green building project the owner embarked on. According to the owner, the residence is going to to be built out of a combination of concrete and Thermomass, a concrete insulation material. VIBCO was called on to supply the correct external vibrators to achieve the smooth, architectural finish and structural integrity that the owner and contractor group expects from the final build.

    As you can see from the photos below, the VIBCO vibrators gave the concrete a smooth, professional finish void of bugholes when it hardened and the forms were stripped away.

    This visit was particularly special because Rhode Island videographer, photographer, and friend of VIBCO Rob Ranney came along with his DJI Phantom 3 camera drone. Rob and his drone helped provide breathtaking cinema-quality footage of the job site and the surrounding landscape, adding a completely new dimension to this trip. A short clip of the forthcoming video of the whole job site is at the bottom of this post.

    While on site, we spoke with Joe Silveira from Silviera Masonry LLC and the general contractor for this job after we delivered his vibrators to him. We asked Joe how our vibrators were working for him, if he had any questions or concerns about our product, and if he could share some thoughts about his experience with VIBCO. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on film.

    Here's Joe's testimonial with his experience with VIBCO 's products:

    Here are some photos shots of the home-in-progress from that morning:

    silveieras masonry concrete finish vibco on the job

    silveieras masonry concrete finish vibco on the job 2 upshot

    silveieras masonry concrete finish vibco on the job stripped form

    silveieras masonry concrete finish vibco on the job close up

    silveieras masonry concrete finish vibco on the job over the hill shot

    The video teaser below showcases the entirety of the job site, the size of the house and the vastness of the area the house is situated in:

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  • Glowing, Grassy and Floating: 3 Must Know Concrete Technologies and Applications

    by [user not found] | Jul 27, 2015

    If you've seen concrete before, it was likely used for a sidewalk, a road, someones patio or maybe even a house.

    But in recent years concrete technology has become more advanced and the applications of concrete are becoming more and more diverse. Concrete is finding it's place in new and exciting applications and places. 

    Some companies around the world are exploring how to build concrete walls and forms that don't disrupt the environment. Others are figuring out ways to illuminate concrete, taking decorative concrete to a whole new level. And some are even making coffee machines, chairs and other furniture out of concrete and seeing fantastic results.

    In this post, we're going to explore some of the new concrete developments and applications that companies around the world are making happen.

    1. GrassConcrete's Environmentally Friendly Concrete Forms

    grassconcrete-grasscrete-application"Our belief lies in establishing better and more sustainable ways to build, where development need sits in harmony with our natural world."

    That quote comes from Bob Howden, the Managing Director of a concrete company in Yorkshire, the United Kingdom called GrassConcrete Limited.

    GrassConcrete Limited produces a number of environmentally-friendly concrete products for roads, roofs and walls including a product called GrassCrete. GrassCrete is a reinforced cellular concrete wherein grass can be grown from it's cavities.

    GrassCrete has been used mostly in urban settings. The lasting strength of concrete allows cars and vehicles to drive over it while the added greenery helps to break up the browns, greys and blacks of the city.

    As explained in this video from GrassConcrete Limited every new GrassCrete installation process begins with removing the top soil layer from the worksite. 

    Next, a sandline is put down replacing the top soil. Plastic star shaped forms are then laid down on top of the sand line. Once the top soil and seed are spread, grass will grow from these plastic forms.

    Next, rebar spacers are laid down in between the grid pattern of the plastic forms. Flowing concrete is laid down on top of the entire form and squeegeed around for an even surface. Once the concrete has hardened, the star-shapes are dug out and a layer of top soil is spread out on top followed by grass seeds.

    According to the above video, GrassCrete can be applied in many different areas and showcase many different benefits including: 

    • helping to improve natural water runoff and drainage
    • providing a better surface for heavy vehicles or emergency vehicles to park on during an emergency event
    • improving slope protection efforts 

    GrassCrete can also:

    • endure loads up to "40 tons gross vehicle weight"
    • reduce sub-base depths and
    • resist differential settlement damage and changes

    and can be applied to:

    • embankment and spill protection efforts
    • flood alleviation projects
    • reservoir lining construction

    GrassConcrete has used their technology all over the world. In one instance in Powys, UK, there was a problem with flooding. Grasscrete was used on the shoulders of the highway to help with drainage and maintaining run-off.

    In areas where an overt area of pavement may not be preferred, Grasscrete offers the perfect, low profile solution. While using concrete to maintain structure isn’t a new concept, the reworking of it’s traditional application is what makes this company’s products so useful.

    *The above images are from of GrassConcrete's website.

    2. Translucent Concrete with LUCEM, LiCrete and More

    Litracon-transparent-concreteWhen you think of concrete, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely not “light transmitting.”  Chances are, light transmitting wouldn’t be a thought that would enter your mind at all when thinking about concrete.  However, LUCEM LICHTBETON, a German company alongside Florack Bauunternehmung, LBM EFO, Luccon Lichtbeton and LiCrete has been on the forefront of translucent concrete technology, making impressive strides in this technology and carving out it's applications and uses.

    Translucent concrete, also known as light transmitting concrete, added a colorful, mesmerizing new dimension to the typical grey, opaque building material.  RWTH Aachen University, is one of the most noteworthy cases of using this luminescent concrete:

    When the concrete is not illuminated, it remains opaque like ordinary concrete.  But when the lights in the building are turned on the building exterior lights up with a brilliant spectrum of colors transforming the building from gray to a colorful work of art. 

    Translucent concrete works by using fiber optic cables embedded in concrete. According to one article:

    "Translucent concrete isn't exactly "see-through," but the new building material draws on optical fibers to transmit light through it while retaining the density that has literally made concrete the cornerstone of buildings around the world."

    The article goes on to elaborate exactly how the optical fibers creates the translucent effect:

    "The fiber strands, which attract and transmit both natural and artificial light, make up about 5 percent of a translucent concrete block's surface volume. The fibers are mixed with traditional concrete components -- water, sand and cement -- and are distributed evenly throughout the surface. Through the resulting translucent panels, a viewer can clearly see the outline of an object on the opposite side of the concrete. Despite this clarity, however, translucent concrete retains its stout, crack resistant, load-bearing quality.

    The light transmitting material is largely believed to have been invented by Hungarian architect Aron Losonczi, who began developing pre-fabricated translucent concrete blocks he called LiTraCon (light transmitting concrete) in 2004, just three years after graduating from Budapest's Technical University. Here, the manufacturer hand-molds large pieces of concrete, embedding thousands of strands of optic fiber in the material at the same time. The concrete is then cut into individual blocks (the smallest are about 48 x 14 inches, or 1.22 x .35 meters). The parallel fiber strands create two distinct grain-type surfaces: one bright and the other dark."

    3. Floating Concrete Docks with Bradford Marine

    floating concrete dock

    Concrete is not the most buoyant material, but with a little bit of additional engineering concrete can hold itself above water.

    Floating concrete docks provide a durable, lasting solution to marina owners and yacht users. Concrete takes a very long time to degrade in water, removing any possibility of a dock needing to get replaced as a result of rot or wear.

    As one manufacturer of floating concrete docks, Bradford Marine explains with regard to the manufacturing process:

    "Floating concrete dock flotation units consist of a fiber-reinforced concrete shell with a polystyrene foam core. Concrete is reinforced with galvanized steel wire mesh with use of galvanized reinforcing steel as an additional manufactured design. Reinforcing bars are provided at corners and along edges of the concrete shell."

    While the concrete itself is nothing out of the ordinary, Bradford Marine has designed a way to make the material more durable and sufficiently buoyant to be used in docking.

    Wrap Up

    These few applications are testimony to the realm of possibilities available when retooling old technology.  While concrete is still a building material as it was intended to be, its usages have expanded significantly.  The modifications mentioned above have given light to new subsets of the concrete industry--subsets that most likely wouldn’t have come into existence without someone asking questions allowing them to explore new options.  

    As you go about your day, challenge yourself to question each interaction you have, whether it be with a piece of technology or a person, and think about ways that these ordinary interactions could be rekindled into extraordinary ones.  You may think of a way to change something that would not only benefit you, but those around you! 

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  • Internal Vibrator Maintenance 101: Assembly, Disassembly and Proper Regular Maintenance of your VIBCO Internal Vibrator

    by [user not found] | Jul 20, 2015

    Having a properly working internal vibrator is essential to any job. No one wants to find out on the way to a job site or midway through a job that the internal vibrator you're using aren't working at full capacity or unable to perform within minutes of use.

    To achieve this long life, regular maintenance is required. Even the finest concrete vibrator are lost if the proper maintenance instruction is not followed.

    This post will help you develop regular maintenance schedule for your internal vibrator.

    In this post we're going to examine:

    • how to properly make sure your internal vibrator is working correctly and
    • how to safely disassemble and reassemble your vibrator

    How to Make Sure Your Internal Vibrator is Working Properly

    Before we get into disassembly let's first check and see how the vibrator parts are working.

    First, it's very important to check your vibrator shaft for any distortion or kinks. If any permanent bend or kink has developed in the shaft, the vibrator will not perform properly and the shaft will need to be replaced.

    Next, check to see if the vibrator is operating within its rates/amperage. To do this, connect the vibrator to an ammeter and activate the vibrator. The vibrator should pull the amperage that is marked on the nameplate, or less. If the amps do not drop below the nameplate rating after 15 seconds of running, the shaft and head will need servicing.

    Your vibrator should not be operated for more than 15 seconds without the vibrator head inserted into concrete.

    After the vibrator motor has been turned off and had a chance to cool, disconnect unit from the power supply. Check the brushes and make sure that they are not sticking and that you have sufficient brush length for continued operation.

    Finally, check the rear ventilation holes and make sure that they are clear of concrete or other grime that may accumulate there.

    Disassembling and Checking Your Internal Vibrator

    pull-out-shaft internal vibrator maintenanceNow we can begin the disassembly process. Your VIBCO internal vibrator was assembled at our factory in Wyoming, Rhode Island and was put together with Loctite Blue 242®, an adhesive for threads and bolts, so the elements would not loosen when the machine is vibrating. As a result, the vibrator might be difficult to take apart initially.

    locking internal vibrator power supply diagramTo disassemble your vibrator for an inspection and cleaning:

    1. Unlatch the shaft from the motor. This is accomplished by:

    • Locating the lever on top of the motor unit and

    • Pressing in the direction of the arrow on the lever and pull the shaft connector directly out of the motor unit.

    At this stage the removing the shaft should not give you too much resistance.

    2. Remove the shaft connector. This is accomplished by simply unscrewing it from the shaft.

    This may be done by hand, without tools, but on occasion it will be seated so tightly that a couple of adjustable wrenches may be required for disassembly.

    remove-connector internal vibrator repair

    Once the shaft connector (part #1A712) is removed from the shaft. Clean the threads of the shaft removing any remnants of the grease and Loctite® that may be there. Be sure to be on the lookout for wear on the vibrator head and shaft and lubricate the inner shaft after 40 hours of use.

    To lubricate the inner shaft of the vibrator:

    1. Pull the inner shaft out of the housing about half of the vibrator's length. If the vibrator has a 7 foot shaft, pull it out about 3 1/2 feet. Check for signs of wear such as frayed cable or small kinks. 
    1. Apply a liberal coating of grease (1/16th of an inch) to the exposed shaft. We recommend Flexi-Lube grease, available from VIBCO in 1 lb and 5 lb containers, but most good quality flexible shaft greases will work.
    1. Re-insert the shaft and re-clean the threads if necessary. Apply some Loctite Blue 242® or equivalent and tighten the shaft connector back onto the shaft.
    1. Open the release lever on the motor unit and re-insert the shaft connector.
    1. Move the lever into the locked position and you are ready to get back to work.

    If you need to check the motor while the shaft is removed, snap the motor 'on and off'. The motor should start quickly and run smoothly. This is a quick snap on and the off. The universal motor of you vibrator is not intended to be run at  high speed without a load attached.

    Wrap Up

    Vibrators are an essential tool when working with concrete. All the more reason to make sure that the internal vibrator you're using for the job is working as it should and delivering it's best.

    Developing a consistent maintenance schedule for your internal vibrator is the best thing you can do. Doing so will ensure that your vibrator will deliver the best performance time after time and save money on new parts and new equipment. Following these steps and these maintenance tips every 40 hours of use and operation will ensure just that.

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  • 3 Big Reasons to Invest in a Concrete Vibrator

    by [user not found] | Jul 02, 2015


    You only have a little bit of time and a little bit of money to make sure your concrete pour happens and happens correctly. Resources are valuable and finite and you're under a lot of pressure to make sure that this jobs gets done and gets done right.

    Should you worry about consolidating your concrete? Should you worry about buying a vibrator? After all, that's money that needs to be spent and time that needs to be invested choosing the right vibrator, learning how to mount the vibrator and then actually running it and running it properly.

    Why bother, right?

    Well,  here are 5 reasons why you should make the investment in an industrial concrete vibrator for your job - even if you're working quick and working on a budget.

    3 Reasons to Invest in a Concrete Vibrator For Your Next Job

    1.Your Final Product Will Last Longer Than Without Vibration

    When concrete is poured, that concrete mixture can have between 5 and 25 percent air worked into the material. If that concrete were laid down as is, the concrete will set riddled with air pockets and places for water and vegetation to seep in and ruin the final product.

    Vibration, whether external or internal, will prevent against:

    • Excessive entrapped air
    • Sand streaking
    • Cold joints
    • Subsidence cracking and more

    All this is to ensure the client is satisfied not just for the short term but for many years down the road.

    2. You Get Consistent Results Time After Time

    smooth concrete wall finishWorking with concrete is not a small affair. There are many organizations that need to be coordinated, people that need to be contacted and schedules that need to match to a tee.

    Moreover, the fact that concrete is being used means that the job is going to be a permanent one, or at least one that the end result is meant to be used extensively or expected to be visible to the public for years to come.

    Nothing can turn a job sour faster than having pillars, structures, molding or sidewalk pieces that come out uneven or non-uniform.

    With vibration, there is less human error in making the first piece look the same as the second, third, fourth and so on piece produced. Traits including appearance, strength and consistency are all uniform from product to product.

    3. The Learning Curve is Not as Extensive as You Might Think

    Unlike Europe where vibratory equipment operators must go through a certification process and months and months of guided training, the United States doesn't offer much in the way of guided training for workers. As a result, it's no small wonder why vibrators used on job sites are misused, under used or flat out used incorrectly causing a group of workers to wonder why they felt they should have bought this thing in the first place.

    With that reality, there are many resources to turn to to familiarize yourself with the basics of applying vibration properly. You, your team and your customer will surely notice how simple these best practices are to learn and apply quickly on the job site.

    Becoming familiar with vibratory technology and the best practices for using it are far from out of reach. Here are some resources from us as well as from around the Internet to help familiarize your team and yourself with industrial vibration and what vibration can do:

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  • Dust Explosion Prevention and Protection: What You Need to Know

    by [user not found] | Oct 08, 2014

    Dust is deadly.

    Since 1980, there have been more than 350 dust explosions that have killed more than 130 people in the United States alone.

    Even the most safety-conscious operations can experience a dust explosion event. Grain milling and processing operations are at risk, as are food, wood and chemical processing plants.

    Dust explosion prevention is a high priority. The National Fire Protection Agency publishes an annual guide to Combustible Dust that is an essential resource for all at-risk processing operations.

    VIBCO Vibrators can be part of the solution. We offer ATEX and Explosion-Proof electric vibrators, as well as a full range of pneumatic and hydraulic vibrators for combustible dust environments.

    Some key points to understand about combustible dust:

    1. What are dust explosions, and when do they occur?
    2. How to recognize dust hazards, and have good preparation and training in place, should an event occur.
    3. Where to find additional resources to help create a safer workplace.

    What Are Dust Explosions? When Do They Occur?


    A dust explosion is the rapid combustion of fine dust particles suspended in the air in an enclosed location.

    The fine material can be any kind of material. Grain mill dust, saw dust, food ingredients including flour and powdered milk and even mined materials including coal and magnesium all have extensive records associated with workplace explosions.

    The explosions are often very large, occur quickly and can be very destructive. In order for an explosion to occur, these 5 conditions must be met:

    • fuel
    • An ignition source and
    • Oxygen
    • Dispersion and
    • A confined, closed off space

    Industry experts have called these 5 components together the Explosion Pentagon (right)

    Why and how is dust combustible? Some key characteristics are:

    • Combustible by nature
    • Dry - less than 25% moisture content
    • Fine enough to go airborne
    • Suspended in the air in an explosive concentration
    • Contained or enclosed in a confined area

    Dust explosions are unique in that they can occur in 2 phases, a primary and a secondary and spread quickly. The primary event is triggered when dust that has been settling on a surface for a prolonged period of time is suddenly disturbed. The dust becomes airborne in the confined space. When exposed to an ignition source - something as small as a spark discharged from a piece of clothing - the dust will ignite causing the primary explosion. The secondary explosion is often larger and more dangerous. The primary explosion can become an ignition source for a larger neighboring area, resulting in a much larger explosion.

    primary and secondary grain explosion graphic

    Ignition sources are many and varied - some obvious, some not. The Forest Industry Task Force found that mechanical sparks are the leading ignition source of dust explosions. After that, the second most common cause is 'unknown', a statistical slice that can range from random chance to a cause that was unseen or unnoticed. Beyond those two cases, everything from static electricity to friction to fire to hot surfaces are potential ignition sources.

    Recognizing Dust Hazards, Preparation and Training

    aerodyne dangers of dust and dust explosion prevention infographic

    Grain Operations Safety is an important issue, and combustible dust explosions are a key part of that. Thousands of VIBCO vibrator users work in the feed and grain industry. We work to provide the best solutions for feed and grain to provide reliable, predictable and SAFE material flow and management.

    All workers who are involved with milling and grain processing should be trained to identify risk-factors, mitigation procedures, and prevention/response to dust explosions.

    Dust-heavy areas should have a ventilation system installed such as wall or ceiling fans that can provide additional air circulation and assist dust control and movement.

    Hot Work Programs are special programs where work that generates heat or sparks are located in a designated area far away from floating dust or areas prone to explosion.

    OSHA provides an comprehensive guide on how train your workforce to prevent dust explosions around grain.

    Here are some of the points. Download the complete guide 

    • Maintain a rigorous housekeeping and sanitation program inside the grain elevator structure. Keep grain dust cleaned up in all working areas of the elevator
    • Implement a weekly or bi-weekly bearing lubrication program based on the manufacturer's specifications
    • Use a food grade mineral oil spray system on grain during transfer and load out
    • Install bearing temperature monitors on leg boot, head and knee pulley shafts, on horizontal drag head and boot bearings and on belt conveyor drive and idler bearings
    • Install belt rub sensors inside bucket elevator leg castings to detect belt misalignment to
    •  prevent friction heating.

    Additionally, identify areas that produce dust and look for ways to isolate and/or contain that area from the rest of the working environment. This is especially crucial if this particular area is difficult to clean.

    BE PREPARED!  Make sure all your facilities are equipped with a fire extinguisher and other fire suppressing equipment.  

    Below are a few additional resources to consider:

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  • VIBCO Meets the Sons of Liberty

    by [user not found] | Aug 19, 2014

    When you think of Rhode Island, you probably think of lobster, beaches, Buddy Cianci, squid, Water Fire, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Art and Design.

    Probably not craft whiskey.  But you should.

    sons-of-liberty-spirits logoThe Sons of Liberty Spirits Co., is making a splash in the whiskey business. The company was started in 2009 by Mike Reppucci and manufactures in the Peacedale Mill Complex in beautiful (and quiet) Peacedale, RI.

    If the notion of craft whiskey in a small town in the smallest state in the union didn't capture your attention, try reading their website. Sons of Liberty hits hard with a company message that speaks strongly towards their mission of innovation in whiskey and spirits:

    "We started with a couple questions: "Why is no one distilling single malt whiskies from the beers we love?" and "Why are there so many seasonal beers, but no seasonal whiskies?" With a spirit for innovation, we set out to create a line of whiskies the world had never seen."

    Quite a mission!

    Now, if that didn't grab you, check out the long list of accolades that Sons of Liberty has racked up in a very short time. The team has been featured in countless news publications all over Rhode Island and New England and taken home prestigious awards including a "World's Best" award this past March for their pumpkin flavored whiskey, presented by Whiskey Magazine.

    With a great product and excellent recognition, Sons of Liberty is on a rapid upswing. Managing growth is a "great problem to have", but it also means that processes and systems that  worked when the company was starting out aren't sufficient to meet today and tomorrow's production demands.

    "The Big Order" was in, and Sons of Liberty was in a jam to fulfill it on deadline.

    So what did they do? The whiskey guys called the VIBCO Vibrator Guys.

    Did they need vibrators? Nope.

    Did they have a big budget to bring in consultants? Nope.

    They needed a favor.  Fast.

    Mike Reppucci and his team heard that VIBCO is a leader in manufacturing and process excellence and that we regularly open our doors to help others learn.

    The challenge - Sons of Liberty needed(s) to operationalize many of the companies' day to day functions so they can shorten lead times while increasing capacity.

    Could VIBCO help Sons of Liberty? Would we?

    Of course we would. That's what good neighbors do… they help each other.  (And the whiskey is a pretty good incentive!)

    Just a couple of days after an initial conversation, a team of VIBCO workers including VIBCO President, Karl Wadensten, traveled a few miles down the road to the Sons of Liberty factory for a Gemba walk and fact finding tour. Bruce Hamilton from GBMP (and host of the famous Toast Kaizen lean training video) accompanied the team on the walk.

    vibco at sons of liberty spirits coThe VIBCO Team and Bruce Hamilton made it a priority to contextualize Lean concepts and tools to create a more complete picture of what it means to implement and maintain Lean. We emphasized that Lean is not just a set of tools but a mindset and a culture and that the tools shouldn't be used for the sake of using another tool to fix a problem. Lean is about active problem solving and developing a culture that exercises continuous, rational problem solving… and that many of these changes start from the ground up and are culturally rooted. If the culture of the organization doesn't allow for these kinds of continuous improvements, then the company cannot successfully use Lean to its full potential.

    Last week, Sons of Liberty hosted the Rhode Island gubernatorial town hall debate for this past week. They were kind enough to extend an invitation to the VIBCO team. When we arrived, Mike and Bruce and the whole Sons of Liberty Team excitedly shared that they had made huge gains based on the ideas generated during our visit there… and that fulfilling "The Big Order" was achievable - thanks to our help.

    Neighbors helping neighbors to create opportunity for all… we love that.

    A Bit of Rhode Island Politics for You

    The topic of the Gubernatorial Town Hall was the food and beverage industry in Rhode Island. Each of the candidates running for governor of the state of Rhode Island, Mr. Angel Taveras (D), Mr. Clay Pell (D), Mr. Todd Giroux (D), Ms. Gina Riamondo (D), Mr. Ken Block (R) and Mr. Allan Fung (R) participated.

    Here are the candidates moments before the town hall began:

    rhode island gubernatorial candidates town hall sons of liberty 2014

    The room was packed full of Rhode Island food and beverage business owners - from catering companies to bistros, sandwich shops to local small farm owners and local produce growers. All eager to hear from candidates on the topic of food and commerce in Rhode Island.

    As we sat and listened to each candidate's plans and ideas, we looked around and couldn’t imagine a better place to hold a town hall debate about food and drink than at the Sons of Liberty distillery. With the flood of press and achievements surrounding Sons of Liberty lately, the distillery is quickly becoming a major player in the Rhode Island food and beverage industry. Big things are happening with this small team of people through ingenuity, creativity and hard work.

    The Sons of Liberty story - from humble but dream-filled beginnings, through a challenging start-up, through early success and now the challenges of managing growth - is indicative of the path traveled by many food and beverage companies. It's one that candidates and elected officials should understand and follow.

    Rhode Island is uniquely positioned to leverage its strengths in this industry - a cultural culinary tradition, incredible talent, education partners like JWU, unique growing conditions, ample seafood resources, etc. - and creating job growth and opportunity via food and beverage is a key economic development opportunity.

    The whole VIBCO "Vibration Nation" looks forward to doing more work with Sons of Liberty, and will continue our commitment to sharing and learning with our neighbors to make Rhode Island Number One.

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  • Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips to Ensure Safety Around the Bin

    by [user not found] | Aug 11, 2014

    Here are 7 tips for helping to promote and enforce a safer workplace in the feed, grain and agriculture industry.

    An Unlikely Appearance on the 'Most Dangerous Workplaces' List

    In a 2012 article, Yahoo listed the Most Dangerous Workplaces and Industries in the US. The list was based on an analysis to determine which industries had the most "fatal occupational injuries" in the United States. Not surprisingly, Fishing, Mining, Roofing, and Law Enforcement were on the list. The one that struck us was the inclusion of Farming and Agriculture.

    Farming brings to mindo images of the American family and the heartland of the United States. We envision "amber waves of grain" and Chevy Trucks, of people rolling up their sleeves and working an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.

    The reality however isn't always so rosy. Farming involves using heavy machinery, transporting and storing massive amounts of corn, grain, feed, etc., working in and around silos, elevators, railcars, livestock and other hazards.

    One of the leading causes of death particularly in feed and grain is death by suffocation. According to OSHA:

    "Suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins. In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain stored in bins, and 26 died-the highest number on record, according to a report issued by Purdue University (PDF). Suffocation can occur when a worker becomes buried (engulfed) by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clear grain built up on the inside of a bin. Moving grain acts like "quicksand" and can bury a worker in seconds. "Bridged" grain and vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. The behavior and weight of the grain make it extremely difficult for a worker to get out of it without assistance.

    Grain bin safety is the subject of extensive measures and safety bulletins from a number of industry leaders, influencers, and outside groups including NationWide Insurance. Industry publications including Corn and Soybean Digest published 7 Tips for Grain Bin Safety and The National Grain and Feed Association even hold their own conferences focused entirely on safety in grain manufacturing and how to combat preventable, accidental deaths. Even entire websites including exist for the sole purpose of promoting awareness for this problem. More resources and organizations are listed below.

    Here's a curated list on Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips for a Safer Workplace

    Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips for a Safer Workplace

    1. Manage grain to prevent spoilage 

    spoiled grainPreventing conditions that would result in engulfment and suffocation is not difficult. In fact, many of prevention strategies are rooted in common sense and clear procedures.

    Key reasons why workers enter grain bins include cleaning out a grain bin, or addressing an issue with the grain itself. Issues include  spoiled grain (above) or clogged grain. Spoiled grain can take on many different forms.  The grain can form solid masses or crusts on top of or around the interior walls of the bin. Fixing these types of problems usually requires unloading the bin.

    Entering a grain bin is a dangerous condition!

    In the case of spoiled grain, grain can crust over and solidify forming vertical walls of grain (below) that are extremely fragile. Once the mass is disrupted, the grain can collapse on workers, engulfing them. Additionally, spoiled grain can plug augers and conveyors leading in and out of the bin. Assessing this kind of issue is just as important as dealing with spoiled grain and risks are no fewer.

    To reduce the likelihood of grain molding, spoiling and clogging up grain bin hardware:

    1. Make a point to check, maintain and clean up aeration equipment and generally keep it in optimal working order.
    2. Check the roof of the bin for leaks. Water plus a cool, damp environment is asking for mold generation.
    3. Be sure to keep grain at the correct moisture content and temperature.
    4. Aerate to cool grain quickly at the time of storage, remove the core of fines that is most prone to spoilage, and monitor for pests, off-odors, hot spots, and moisture content to help prevent spoilage. 

    2. Always have an outside observer with a quick method to contact emergency responders if necessary.

    A better solution is to work from outside the bin whenever possible. If there is a problem with the bin or grain with clumps or crusting over, use a pole or another device to poke and fix the problem rather than climb inside of the bin.

    The best solution is to prevent the conditions that would require someone to enter the bin or silo. VIBCO produces a number of products including the Air Cannon, large electric vibrator and a high frequency electric vibrator that solve most bin clog issues.

    3. Ensure that there’s adequate lighting inside of the area you're working in and have a written plan for training and rescue

    Lighting is key when working inside of this kind of environment. As small slips can quickly turn into a life or death situation, it's smart to make sure that the area you're working in is well lit and any areas where there is a chance to misstep or be caught off guard are in plain, unobstructed sight.

    4. There are 3 major ways to get trapped in a grain bin

    bridged grain graphicWhile suffocation by being overtaken by moving grain is certainly the way that makes the news the most often, there are in fact two other ways where workers can get trapped in a grain bin.

    The second way is the collapse of bridged grain. Bridged grain is when a layer of grain forms over a pocket of air. When enough weight is applied to the bridge, it will collapse and the worker will immediately be engulfed in grain. 

    The third way is by a collapse of a vertical wall of grain. When workers are cleaning out a bin, a vertical wall is likely to emerge.

    In all of these instances, the risk is that a large volume of grain will move suddenly. The best offense is a good defense. Make sure that your facility has a training guide and routinely reviews proper procedures and protocols for working around grain.vertical grain wall

    5.  Never enter a grain bin alone – always have an outside observer who can see you and hear you clearly

    Remember the buddy system that was used so much during elementary school field trips? Well, the same principle applies here as an adult working in agriculture. When working in a hazardous environment, working alone can easily be the biggest danger of all and certainly the most preventable.

    6. Label and lock your grain bins

    grain bin stop signThere is always the risk of someone wandering into your grain bin who is unaware of the hazardous conditions. Therefore, it's critical for the safety of others - friends, loved ones, other farmers, business people, etc. to know that grain bins are dangerous environments.

    Take steps to create a very eye grabbing, visual sign that explicitly states the hazards of the grain bin.

    Moreover, when the grain bin is not being used, lock access to the space up as to prevent unauthorized persons, bystanders and children from entering.

    7. Evaluate the atmosphere of the bin regularly and before entry

    Grain bins can accumulate toxic gases if not checked and aerated regularly.

    Use a gas meter or another properly calibrated and approved air quality indication tool specifically for the purpose of measuring the oxygen to other gas ratio in a given area. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and fumigants are some of the most common silent killers quietly accumulating in grain bins.

    Above all else, trust your nose and your gut judgment when assessing the air and oxygen quality in a grain bin. If the bin smells moldy or not 'fresh', assume that the bin needs to be aerated. Moreover, if the smell of mold is present, this is also a good indicator that there are likely to be grain verticals accumulating along the walls waiting to fall over and trap a worker.

    Here's a handy chart courtesy of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health to refer to when checking air quality:


    Do not enter if:

    Oxygen level

    < 19.5% or > 23.5%

    Carbon monoxide

    > 25 ppm

    Toxic gases:

    Hydrogen sulfide



    > 10 ppm

    > 0.3 ppm


    spoiled grain, chemicals, or smoldering, burning odors are detected


    Vision is obscured to < 5 feet

    Additional Power Players in Grain Safety

    You can never be too safe.

    Here are some additional resources and organizations that are making safety in the agricultural workplace their top priority. Each of these organizations also provides some helpful downloads, links and PDFs to walk away with:

    1. Occupational Safety & Health Administration

    2. Feed and Grain Associates of Illinois

    3. University of Illinois Agriculture Safety nad Health

    4. AgChat Foundation

    5. Farm Safety for Kids

    6. 15 Safety Tips from Ag Chat

    Go comment!
  • Top 5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Air Vibrator

    by [user not found] | Jul 22, 2014

    1. Follow VIBCO's Vibrator Mounting Instructions

    Make sure to follow all of the mounting and installation steps exactly as they are provided in the manual. One of the ways you can ensure a good mount is to select the correct mounting plate and channel for your bin. The following charts are a good 'rule of thumb' guides.  Read More about selecting the right channel/plate combination

    2. Use the right air line and make sure it's maintained

    Kinks, holes, and leaks in your air line will hurt the performance of all pneumatic equipment - including vibrators. Regularly inspect your air

    vibco bolting procedure

     lines as part of your normal maintenance and quickly address any issues.

    Do not use "T" style junctions with your VIBCO Pneumatic Vibrators. Best practice is to run separate, correctly-sized air lines for each unit in operation. Your instruction manual contains further information on air supply.

    3. Have enough air (CFM) at the right pressure (PSI)

    Make sure that you are providing your VIBCO air vibrators with correct PSI and CFM. The recommended PSI and CFM for your vibrator is indicated on the housing or on the shipping box. A general rule of thumb is that VIBCO units are intended for 40-80 PSI. Consult your manual for proper CFM. 

    Running pneumatic vibrators at high pressure can damage the unit. 

    Never hook your vibrators directly up to plant air.  VIBCO offers filter/regulators and other accessories to help you.

    vibco air-line-specs

    4. Check your vibrator mount

    vibco safety-cableMost VIBCO Air Vibrators are virtually maintenance free. Keep your vibrators running smoothly and extend their life by regularly inspecting your vibrator installation.

    1. Check that all mounting bolts are properly tightened, retighten as necessary
    2. Inspect mounting plate and channel welds for fatigue, cracks
    3. Inspect your safety cable to ensure that it is secured to the vibrator and to a secondary location

    5. Lubricate your ball vibrators and piston vibrators

    If you use piston and ball vibrators, then you MUST lubricate them. If maintaining good lubrication is a problem, consider using a VIBCO Turbine Vibrator instead.

    Make sure that your lubricator is functioning and is no more than 5 feet away from the vibrator. For best results, VIBCO recommends using the air oil tool. You may also use SAE 10 or lighter machine tool oil, Marvel Mystery oil or automatic transmission oil.

    - - - 

    Follow these simple rules to get years and years of top performance from your VIBCO Air Vibrators. Call us at 800-633-0032 to get help for your specific needs or use our Technical Support Request Form.

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  • Salt Supplies Are Dangerously Low

    by Linda Kleineberg | Feb 18, 2014

    An extremely active winter storm season has created widespread road salt supply problems. VIBCO has a product that can provide more efficient use of precious supplies.

    Cities and states are scrambling to arrange for deliveries in anticipation of more winter weather and everybody is looking for ways to stretch current supplies.  LISTEN TO THIS STORY FROM NPR RADIO ON THE SALT SUPPLY PROBLEM  full story at

    VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators Provide More Efficient Use of Road Salt Supplies

    Our SandBuster™ 12 Volt and 24 Volt Spreader Hopper Vibrators are mounted to spreader hoppers to promote steady, predictable flow of the salt and sand mix.

    We have all vibrator sizes available for immediate shipment to help with this season's salt shortages. We have customer service agents standing by at  800-633-0032 to help refer DOT, Public Works, and Owner/Operators to a dealer who can help. If your local dealer is out of stock, due to high demand, tell them that VIBCO has units available for same-day shipping

    First-time SandBuster Vibrator users should plan to take advantage of VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit program so that we can show you exactly how and where to install the vibrator on your truck.

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  • Improving Everyday at VIBCO

    by Linda Kleineberg | Nov 22, 2013

    Lean / Continuous Improvement Projects Underway at VIBCO

    Here are some photos of some very cool improvement projects underway at VIBCO Headquarters... The incredible VIBCO team keeps thinking, keeps trying, and keeps working to add value, remove waste and deliver to the pull of our customers.

    Suzy Achieves Her One-Piece-Flow Goal!

    Sue H. has been working toward her one-piece-flow assembly goal for VIBCO switch boxes for years - improving a little bit each day... it has been a true continuous improvement project. Congratulations to her on meeting this high goal. 

    Happy to Do It One Piece Flow

    Getting Visual on the Factory Floor

    (Gwendolyn Galsworth will be so delighted!)

    Keep Aisle Clear Lean Floor VIBCO Lean Floor Marking

    VIBCO Visual Floor Cardboard Crate VIBCO Visual Floor WIP GR-3200

    VIBCO Visual Floor Caution Weld Area VIBCO Visual Floor Barrel Truck Parking

    Whiteboard Training and Implementation Underway

    Management Whiteboard Training is one of the key elements of VIBCO's Encumbent Worker Training Grant from the Rhode Island Governor's Workforce Board. Tom Pesaturo of Exceeda Consulting is facilitated the training leading to management whiteboards in assembly.

    Assembly Management Whiteboards

  • What do Candy, Clay Refractories, Ice Control Trucks and Hoshin Kanri have in Common?

    by Edward Huff | Oct 29, 2013

    Quick Links

    Featured Product: Sell VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators This Month
    Industry Focus: Candy and Chewing Gum Manufacturers
    Industry Focus: Clay Refractories
    "Talk the Talk" Lean Word: Hoshin Kanri

    SandBuster Spreader Hopper Vibrators

    Featured Product: VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators

    See how VIBCO SandBuster Spreader Hopper Vibrators help keep Ice Control Operators safe and productive.

    Candy & Chewing Gum Manufacturing

    Clay Refractory Manufacturers

    "Talk the Talk" Lean Manufacturing Word of the Week: Hoshin Kanri

    Learn more about Hoshin Kanri at

    Also called policy deploymenthoshin planning, or simply hoshin (as in "FY12 Hoshin"), it is a strategic planning/strategic management methodology based on a concept popularized in Japan in the late 1950s by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa: "Each person is the expert in his or her own job, and Japanese TQC [Total Quality Control] is designed to use the collective thinking power of all employees to make their organization the best in its field." This is the fundamental principle of hoshin kanri. In Professor Ishikawa's words in his book What Is Total Quality Control?: "Top managers and middle managers must be bold enough to delegate as much authority as possible. That is the way to establish respect for humanity as your management philosophy. It is a management system in which all employees participate, from the top down and from the bottom up, and humanity is fully respected." Adaptations of the concept have since been developed by many others, among them Dr. Yoji Akao, that use a Deming cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to create goals, choose control points (measurable milestones), and link daily control activities to company strategy.[2]

    The discipline of hoshin kanri is intended to help an organization:

    • Focus on a shared goal.
    • Communicate that goal to all leaders.
    • Involve all leaders in planning to achieve the goal.
    • Hold participants accountable for achieving their part of the plan.

    It assumes daily controls and performance measures are in place: "With hoshin kanri... the daily crush of events and quarterly bottom-line pressures do not take precedence over strategic plans; rather, these short-term activities are determined and managed by the plans themselves."[3]

    In Japanese, hoshin means "compass needle" or "direction". Kanri means "management" or "control".[4] The name suggests how hoshin planning aligns an organization toward accomplishing a single goal.

    Learn more about VIBCO's Lean Manufacturing Program and Leadership

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  • Electric Vibrator Performance - 4 Things to Check

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 23, 2013

    An Electric vibrator is an engineered solution. It must be installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions to get maximum benefits and longest product life. 

    Improve Your Electric Vibrator Performance Today!

    If you have problems with the performance and operation of your electric vibrators, it's usually due to an easily fixable problem with the mount or installation. Please refer to our online manuals for complete instructions and best practices for VIBCO electric vibrators. 

    We can help you fix any of these electric vibrator issues...

    • Vibrator draws high amps and "kicks" the breaker
    • Vibrator "burns out" after a short time in operation
    • Performance or useful life of a replacement vibrator is significantly lower than previously installed equipment
    • Vibrator makes a humming noise, but does not run properly

    Installation Error is the Most Common Root Cause

    Answer the following questions to get to the root cause of your electric vibrator performance problem. Still stumped? Use our Virtual Van Visit program to diagnose and solve your vibrator problems.

    Is your electric vibrator mounted directly to the bin or hopper rather than to a mounting plate and channel iron?

    Mounting directly to the bin or hopper can cause the bin or hopper to crack, can cause damage to your vibrators, and can cause a high amperage draw. It is critical for electric vibrators to be mounted to a plate and channel iron combination. 

    electric vibrator mounting

    Is your electric vibrator mounted to just a plate or just a channel iron?  

    It is extremely important to mount electric vibrators in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. Vibration, while an effective material flow aid, can be a destructive force if it is not applied correctly. Using a mounting plate or channel iron alone may not be sufficient to secure and isolate the vibratory force. For best results, use a channel iron and mounting plate together.

    Is your electric vibrator mounted in the wrong position or orientation?

    Electric units should be mounted perpendicular to the channel iron. The mounting plate should be checked for warping and, if necessary, shimmed to achieve a tight seal. Any looseness or "give" will prevent the vibratory force from being properly isolated and transferred. A sufficient length of channel iron should be used to distribute the force along the bin or hopper walls. Refer to our service manuals to determine the correct length of channel iron.

    Is your electric vibrator mount correctly welded, shimmed and/or bolted?

    Mounting channel should be stitch-welded to the hopper or bin, with no welds on the corners of the channel. Welding on the corners of the channel can lead to bin damage and unit failure. All bolts should be tightened down securely to prevent slippage and all shims should be positioned to keep the mounting plate flat.

    Remember - your electric vibrator mount is critical to maximizing the benefits of your equipment. Our technical support staff is happy to assist you to ensure that you get the most out of your VIBCO electric vibrators. Contact us 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at 800-633-0032 for assistance.

    1. Your electric vibrator is drawing high amps and kicking the breaker.
    2. Your electric vibrator is burning out after just a short time in operation.
    3. Performance or useful life of your new electric vibrator is significantly lower than a previous electric vibrator.
    4. Your electric vibrator fails shortly after being repaired.
    5. Your electric vibrator makes a humming noise, but does not run properly.
    Go comment!
  • All About Air Cannons

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 17, 2013

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Air Cannons... but were afraid to ask

    So you have material flow problems like sticking, clogging, ratholing and bridging. How do you know whether to use an air cannon or a vibrator? 

    Air cannons are most effective on low density material. Fine powders and fluffy, lightweight material like wood chips and saw dust easily absorb vibration - making air cannons a better choice. ."Stringy", irregular and faceted particles have a tendency to lock together. The blast of an air cannon separates locked particles and promotes flow.

    Heavily reinforced or rigid bins - including those made of concrete and heavy gauge steel - may not respond well to vibration and are prone to material flow problems. Coal and ore bins, grain silos and elevators, and large mineral hoppers are all ideal areas to use air cannons because they are not affected by the rigidity of the bin construction. 

    How Do Air Cannons Solve Material Flow Problems?

    An Air Cannon consists of a high pressure tank that stores compressed air (80-125 PSI), and a quick release piston valve. When the air cannon is activated (via a solenoid valve), it delivers a high-powered blast of air into the bin or silo. The blast breaks the friction between the particles and the bin walls, releasing and fluidizing the material.

    Play the short animation to the right to see the action of an air cannon.

    Types of Material Flow Problems Solved With Air Cannons

        Sticksides               Ratholing           
     Sticking to Sides  Bridging  Ratholing   Arching

    Learn more about air cannons at or request assistance selecting the right air cannon for your needs now

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  • Athena or Not - the First Nor'easter Means It's SandBuster™ Time!

    by Linda Kleineberg | Nov 07, 2012

    The first Nor'easter of the season arrives on our doorstep, one thing is certain - salt and sand trucks do a better job with more consistent ice control with a VIBCO SandBuster™ spreader hopper vibrator on board.  And since the operators and drivers get to stay warm and safe in the cab vs. clearing clogs out in the cold... it's a win-win-win for all!

    Learn more about VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators right now!

    vibco sandbuster spreader hopper vibrators

    The Athena Controversy explained...  sort of.

    The Weather Channel is calling the first Nor'easter of the 2012 winter season "Winter Storm Athena" (See the explanation from and the National Weather Service is not playing along...  here's an image of their notice to employees:

    text on naming winter storms from the nws

    Seems interesting to have another battle of semantics in the weather world so soon after the controversy with the National Hurricane Center NOT posting hurricane and tropical storm warnings for Rhode Island... choosing instead to use High Wind Warnings. Anyone in the area knows that we were hit with a hurricane...  

    Stay tuned... it will be interesting to see if the marketing folks at The Weather Channel win this battle and force the NWS to start using names for winter storms...

  • Identify Your VIBCO Ball or Turbine Pneumatic Vibrator

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 11, 2012


    Identify your VIBCO Ball or Turbine Pneumatic Vibrator in a few easy steps!

    It can be difficult to tell the difference betwen ball vibrators and turbine vibrators, nevermind between all the different VIBCO models of ball or turbine vibrators available.

    Here are a few easy steps to help you identify whether you have a VIBCO ball or a turbine vibrator, and which model/style you have:

       STEP 1: Does your vibrator rattle when you shake it?

    If it does, then you have a ball vibrator.  VIBCO offers three styles of ball vibrators - BBBV and V models.  If the unit does not rattle, then you have a VIBCO turbine vibrator.

       STEP 2: Does your vibrator have a "foot" style mount or a single-bolt mount?

    If your vibrator has a single-bolt style mount, then it is either an FBS or BBS turbine vibrator, or a BB ball vibrator.  If it has feet, then it is a BVS or VS turbine vibrator, or a BV or V ball vibrator.


    STEP 3: Stand your foot-mount unit on it's mounting base (where the bolt holes are).  Does the air port in from the top down, or from the side?

    If it is top-down with a threaded exhaust port, then you have either a BVS turbine vibrator or a BV ball vibrator.  If it is a side inlet with or without a threaded exhaust port, then you have a VS turbine vibrator or a V ball vibrator.


    Do you have a ball vibrator? Consider replacing it with a VIBCO Silent Turbine Vibrator... here's why:

    Lower Noise — average turbine vibrator is around 72 dB

    Lower Operating Costs— turbine vibrators do not require lubrication

    Lower Energy Consumption — turbine vibrators use 50% less air

    Longer Life — turbine vibrators typically outlast ball vibrators 3 to 1

    Greater Efficiency — turbine vibrators maintain speed and efficiency throughout life vs. ball vibrators that start to lose speed and efficiency from the very start

    As always, VIBCO Vibrators technicians and customer service agents are ready to help you select the right vibrator for your needs.  

    Call us at 800-633-0032 in the USA, 800-465-9709 in Canada, or 401-539-2392 from outside North America for help right now!

    Go comment!
  • 5 Ways That VIBCO Vibrators Lower Industrial Production Costs

    by Linda Kleineberg | Feb 24, 2012


    5 Ways That VIBCO Vibrators Lower Industrial Production Costs

    Do vibrators really help that much?  Yes!

    Vibration is an absolutely critical part of most industrial material flow systems including bins and hoppers, conveyors, feeders, weigh-batchers, tote bins, and packaging systems.  Here are Five Ways that you can lower your costs by using VIBCO Vibrators...


    Vibrators help promote good material flow.  They break the friction between material and container walls, which aids gravity and allows material to move freely.

    You will save money by reducing the product loss caused by material left in containers and overspill, completing cleanouts faster, improving batch accuracy, removing line clogs, and fixing other material flow problems.


    VIBCO Turbine Vibrators are virtually silent – that means no loud noise, no required hearing protection.

    Also, by eliminating most material flow problems, vibrators mitigate the need to put employees at risk swinging a sledge hammer, climbing up onto or into bins for clean out, etc.


    Whether you bag or box material, vibration will help you to fit more material into a smaller container. Vibration compacts all types of material, so you can ship less air. It also will compact bagged material to produce a flatter, more uniform, and more easily shipped package.


    Time spent clearing clogs, cleaning overspill, using a sledgehammer on a bin, or correcting inaccurately weighed batches is waste. Using vibrators gives you that time back so you can use it on work that actually adds value.

    Many of the traditional and improvised methods to clear clogs - like using a sledgehammer - can lead to equipment fatigue and damage. Hammer rash, bin cracks and dents make sticking and clogging problems worse – and that means higher and higher costs.


    The VIBCO Production System is designed to provide you with the product you want, when you want it, in the quantities you need.  We are an ideal supply chain partner because we know how important it is to eliminate waste and manage inventory.

    We will be happy to participate in Kaizen events, set up Kanban inventory systems for our products, and provide expert technical and engineering support for your improvement goals.

    Contact VIBCO's technical support staff 24 hours per day, seven days per week at 800-633-0032.

    Go comment!
  • An Offer of Assistance to Grain Handling Facilities

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jan 27, 2012

    In February 2011, OSHA issued a letter to grain handling facilities warning about the dangers of grain entrapment and reminding operators that it is their responsibility to recognize and prevent workplace hazards.

    The letter was sent after a number of tragic and near-miss grain entrapment accidents including the following.

    • July 2010, two teenagers (ages 14 and 19) were killed in a tragic incident involving a grain elevator in Illinois. Both young workers suffocated after being engulfed in a grain bin they had entered to help clear. A third young worker was pulled out of the storage bin alive, and was hospitalized after being trapped for 12 hours.
    • November 2009, OSHA fined a grain elevator facility more than $1.5 million following the May 29, 2009 death of a teenage worker at the company's grain storage operation. The youth suffocated after being engulfed by grain in one of the facility's bins. The company also exposed three other teenage workers to the cited hazards.
    • May 2010, OSHA fined a growers association in South Dakota more than $1.6 million following the death of a worker who had suffocated after being engulfed by grain. OSHA's investigation found that five additional workers were also at risk of being engulfed when they were sent into the bin to dig the victim out.
    • August, 2010, OSHA fined a facility in Wisconsin $721,000 after a worker was buried up to his chest and trapped in frozen soybeans. The worker was ultimately rescued after a four hour ordeal.
    • January 2011, OSHA fined two companies in Illinois, following the deaths of three workers, including two teenagers. The workers were killed when they suffocated after being engulfed by grain. The fines to both companies totaled $1,284,000.

    I was struck by the language of the letter, which mentions that these accidents are not rare and that the "trend is continuing".  The reality is that many of the reasons workers enter grain storage bins and silos is because of common material flow problems like ratholes, bridging, clogs,etc.  Most of these common problems are solved easily and inexpensively by installing material flow aids like air cannons and vibrators.

    So now we're on a mission... we are actively offering assistance to grain facility operators.  We offer a no-charge, no-obligation service called the VIBCO Virtual Van Visit that makes sizing and selecting the right vibrator a total no-brainer.  The operators simply fill out an easy online form at including a few photos of the installation area.

    We'll send them marked up photos and a referral to a nearby VIBCO Vibrators dealer to complete the purchase.

    Learn more about VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit program by watching this short video:

    Virtual Van Visit

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