Advanced silo aeration inflates Ingram Ready-Mix’s bottom line

56 Solimar 400A Texas ready-mix producer has embraced upgraded aeration of material silos at 38 plants for more than two decades, realizing savings of “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Acting on the advice of Paul Montoya, founder of Concrete Plant Restoration in Saint Hedwig, Texas, New Braunfels-based Ingram Ready-Mix replaces air pads with Solimar disk type aerators in all plants. “I recommend that they replace cloth air pads anywhere in the batching process—silos, bins, hoppers,” says Montoya. “If a customer knows about maintenance and the need to fluidize the material, they will appreciate modern aeration.”

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Jerry Hayes
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Paul Montoya

Notes Ingram Operations Manager Jerry Hayes, responsible for transit mixed plants grouped around Austin and points south, “We really needed to load the trucks faster because the air pads would clog requiring plant operators to crank up the air pressure in the fly ash and cement silos.” The silicone disk aerator installations immediately increase efficiency, he affirms, as plants have seen “two more trucks loaded per hour after switching out the air pads for Solimar units, which makes for a fast return on our investment.” Multiplied by the 400 hundred trucks in Ingram Ready-Mix’s fleet, the productivity increase is big.

The silicone rubber disk imparts uniform flow and discharge. It provides directional airflow and gently vibrates the silo wall to prevent bridging, rat holing, and compacting in storage bins and silos. The aerators do not require maintenance, thereby averting confined space entry and expensive downtime to remove accumulated material. Installation is through air pad openings with the company’s EZ-IN kit that taps existing air lines. A typical installation requires 18 aerators in a plant at a total cost under $2,500, according to Montoya. 

Hayes sees additional benefits including more accurate batching and reduced downtime for maintenance: “We used to have to remove the contents of the silo to a trailer, replace the air pads and transfer the material back in while the trucks sat idle for a day or two. That’s no way to make money in the ready-mix business.” 

Montoya cites faster and more accurate weigh-ups, concluding, “Even if you are saving only one to two percent in material, the [dollars] add up.” 

“Our ultimate goal is a safe, maintenance-free operation with zero downtime at our plants,” adds Hayes, “The added productivity benefits and material savings are big plusses with modern aeration. And we haven’t had to replace the original Solimars we installed in 1992.” — Solimar Pneumatics, 800/233-7109;

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Based outside San Antonio, Ingram Ready-Mix is a fixture in the Texas capital region. Standardization at nearly 40 plants has seen the producer equip cement silos with the Solimar disk type aerator, readily installed through air pad openings with the EZ-IN kit.