Vibrating sediment spreader prototype

Vibrating sediment spreader prototype

We were commissioned to produce this vibrating sediment spreader prototype device as part of a bigger short term project.
The key objective was to catch a fine grained sediment stored in a hopper that was situated above the end of the chute and then distribute it in a fine but constant curtain of sand sediment, the idea being an even deposit of the sediment on the main experiment that this was being used on.

The initial concept stage

We discussed the issue with our client and took in their ideas. their first thoughts were to have a device like a muck spreader which is basically a spinning disc,  but they wanted to make use of a vibratory platform. Their thoughts were to use the vibrating platform to stir up the sediment grains of fine sand as they enter the chute from the hopper situated above and move the sand forward to the disc outlet and then the disc would fan it out to distribute it. But this didn’t work as intended

Vibrating distribution disc sand or salt spreader concept simple working prototype

I set up the basic concept as a simple working prototype to see if it would work and it didn’t work so well. I tried the disc in both ways up so it was cupped and domed.
you can see in the video below, the vibrations distributed the sand but not very evenly and not in a big enough area.

I then investigated a little more and placed a flat plastic sheet on the end just to see what would happen. It was quite surprising the vibration motion was making the sand vibrate around in a circular motion causing the sand to actually travel back up the plastic chute!
you can see this in the video below.

So i did some brainstorming and came up the the basic idea in the sketch below

Vibrating spreader rough concept sketch

The idea being the maze of “V” blocks would spread the sand but also the V shape would stop the vibration motion from re-circulating the sand back up the chute as they would drive the sand back down again. My customer liked the conceptual idea and wanted me to mock up a simple prototype to see if it could work. The simple prototype design is shown below

Simple quickly built proof of concept prototype
Vibrating sand or salt spreader concept simple working prototype

The simple prototype was made from plastic and glue and the basic concept worked!
The customer was happy and wanted to move on to the working usable prototype.

The actual prototype sediment sand spreader build.

working prototype spreader designed built ready for use

We designed the 3d cad model and incorporated some design features as seen in this picture.

  • There was a chute channel to receive the sediment sand media
  • The front Fanned chute on the front to spread the media via the deflector maze
  • The outlet had an adjustable gate so a slit could be controlled in height and angle from either end to create the curtain of sediment sand that was required
  • The whole front end could be tilted via an angle adjustment feature on the sides
prototype sediment spreading machine
Playing with angles and height on working prototype

Messing about with various extreme angles on the bench to see the effect on the flow and spread.

spreader chute angle adjuster

Once the initial angle is set when it is in use there is adjustment on the sides that gives final angular adjustment for the perfect flow.

Spreader distribution chute

The spreader distribution chute showing the fan maze.

view of the riveted construction

From the underside of the fan maze, you can see the front gate workings as well as the riveted maze features.
I designed them so the angle V shaped parts had a tab that pushed through a slot on the fan base and bent round which was then riveted in place, making it a nice strong construction.

The finished working prototype final test on the bench before it gets installed under the hopper onsite.
You can see how the sand spreads out and the raining sand curtain is formed.
When it has the full supply of sand from the hopper above then the flow will deliver a constant width of sediment sand as requested by our customer.