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How Does the AirSweep System Work?

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The AirSweep system prevents bridging, ratholing, arching, and other material flow issues. The powerful nozzles release high-pressure, high-volume, 360-degree bursts of compressed air. These break up material blocks, and sweeps stalled material back into the flow stream.

But how does the AirSweep system really work? This video explains the typical AirSweep system. You will see:

AirSweep components

Look at the parts, what they do, and how they work together to slice through the toughest bulk materials in seconds.

AirSweep installation

The 3D model shows how AirSweeps are positioned on a vessel like silo, bin and hopper. The air pulses are perfectly timed for a first-in, first-out on-demand material flow.

AirSweep efficiency

By the end of the video, you will see why the AirSweep system is especially designed to handle any kind of material—from fine powders to bulk solids.

AirSweep proves that bursts of air, sent at the right place and the right time, can guarantee smooth material flow and higher factory efficiency.

AirSweep Material Activation System: A Quick Look

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AirSweep® pneumatic flow aids are used in thousands of factories all around the world. The nozzles release powerful bursts of high-pressure, high-volume air. It breaks down material blocks without damaging the vessels, and improves factory productivity while lowering operational costs.

But what is the AirSweep® system, and is it the best solution for your particular process?

This video gives you the big picture. Find out:

  • How AirSweep works, and how it compares to other material activation devices like fluidizers, air pads, air cannons, industrial vibrators, or the classic “hitting the vessel as hard as you can with a hammer”
  • What materials AirSweep® can handle (the short answer: practically everything)
  • When and where you can use AirSweep—silos, bins, ribbon blenders, and more!
  • How much you will save on energy and maintenance

You can find more in-depth product information and case studies, but if you have any other questions that aren’t answered by the AirSweep introductory video, feel free to message us. We’ll be happy to help.

Pneumatic Flow Aids: AirSweep vs Air Fluidizer

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Many solids will cake, pack or agglomerate when they’re under pressure. This causes funnel flow problems like ratholing, flooding and segregation. Aside from delaying production, these can affect batch uniformity and quality.

Pneumatic Flow Aids: Compare Power and Efficiency

Pneumatic flow aids like air blasters, air pads, and air fluidizers can break apart the condensed material to get it moving again. However, most of these flow aids release very light, localized bursts of air. This is effective for a smaller radius, and only for aery materials like flour.

AirSweep® is the most powerful pneumatic flow aid. It can be used on moist, dense and bulky materials and has a wider activation radius.

See the difference yourself!

This video shows a side-by-side comparison of AirSweep® with a rubber fluidizing disk. For demonstration purposes, we used hex nuts. However, for real applications, you can view material flow videos or read case studies where AirSweep® was used on rocks, resins and flakes, whey, liquid cheese and other bulk solids.

Find more videos that explains how the AirSweep works, and all the differences between the AirSweep, rubber fluidizing disks, and vibrators.

AirSweep USDA Material Activation Test

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AirSweep USDA-accepted models are ideal for any process that requires sanitary equipment or frequent cleaning. The nozzles release powerful air pulses that lifts stalled material, then automatically reseals after each pulse to prevent material feedback. No cross-contamination, no messy clean-ups—just clean, continuous, on-demand flow.

Tough on Material Blocks, Gentle on Vessels, Safe for Food

This video demonstrates the power and efficiency of AirSweep pneumatic flow aids. Each pulse clears shows the activation radius of each pulse, as it pushes damp sand several inches from on all sides. Unlike air knockers and hammers, it does not dent the vessel or cause wear and tear. And unlike fluidizers, it can handle heavy, damp and dense materials.

The AirSweep USDA 185 used in this video was designed and fabricated according to sanitary design principles. It is made of high-grade stainless steel and is resistant to corrosion from strong cleaning or sanitizing chemicals.

Watch our AirSweep material activation test, or see other videos that demonstrate how it handles cornstarch, whey protein, cheese and other food products.

AirSweep Activation Radius Test: Damp Sand

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AirSweep® air nozzles direct high-pressure air pulses that cut through bridging, ratholing and other material blocks. No other pneumatic flow aid has this kind of power and efficiency—especially for tough materials like sand.

Fluidizers use a rubber disk that gently vibrates to activate the surrounding material. However, it is only effective on light, powdery materials. In contrast, this material activation test shows how AirSweep® easily and efficiently clears 25 pounds of damp sand.

AirSweep: The Best Pneumatic Flow Aid for Sand

Sand and silica are used to make cement and concrete, abrasives and absorbents, ceramics and glass, chemicals, electronics, metal castings, industrial paints, and synthetic fiber. About 65% to 85% of concrete mixes is made up of sand and sand aggregates. Global scarcity of natural sand has also led to manufactured sand, made by crushing rocks or quarry stones.

Whether your factory uses sand or manufacture it as a raw material, AirSweep guarantees smooth flow and efficient production.The proof is in the flow—watch the video!

Calcium Carbonate Material Flow Test

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Calcium carbonate is a sluggish powder that is prone to packing and sticking to vessel surfaces. It can clog hoppers, build up inside convey lines and filter bags, and cake in filter bags and cartridges. However, the material responds well to aeration. Pneumatic flow aids like AirSweep can help any factory that uses calcium carbonate achieve steady material flow.

Calcium Carbonate: Applications

Calcium carbonate is a versatile and readily-available material that is used in a number of industries.

  • Plastics, paper and paints. It is valued as a coating pigment, since it help create a bright, smooth, and light-reflecting surface. It is also an inexpensive filler and extender, and is often added to sealants and adhesives.
  • Building Materials and Construction. Calcium carbonate is used to make cement, bricks, concrete, stones, roofing and tiles, steel, and glass.
  • Pharmaceuticals. It is added to dietary supplements, and used as a base for tablets and antacids. It is added to personal care products like toothpaste, and used to bind phosphates.
  • Food processing. It is used to make baking powder, dough, wine, and dessert mixes. It is often added to animal feed.


Get the tried-and-tested solution to tough material flow problems. There are over 10,000 AirSweep systems installed all over the world. The powerful air nozzles break through material blocks to prevent bridging, arching and ratholing—and it is the only pneumatic flow aid that can handle moist, dense and viscous materials like calcium carbonate.

Watch the AirSweep® calcium carbonate material flow test now.

Moist Cornstarch Material Flow Test

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AirSweep is the best pneumatic flow aid for bulk powders with a high moisture content. It releases high-pressure, high-volume, 360 ° bursts of air that prevent material blocks and guarantee smooth material flow. It is effective even for tough materials like cornstarch, which can become very viscous and prone to bridging and ratholing.

Cornstarch: Applications

Cornstarch is both a final product and a raw material for sauces, gravies, custard, and other liquid-based foods. It can be used as an anti-caking agent, or as an additive that helps lower production costs (ex: cheese and yogurt).

Cornstarch is also used in non-culinary industries to make anything from airbags to adhesives, bioplastics to natural latex products like condoms and medical gloves. Other products may use its absorption capabilities to carry a difficult ingredient.


Cornstarch’s absorbent property has many industrial applications, but it also makes it more challenging to work with. Moist cornstarch can clump or cling to vessel walls.

Pneumatic flow aids like AirSweep® break through material blocks to prevent bridging, arching and ratholing. The continuous, on-demand flow protects batch uniformity and ensures continuous production.

Watch the AirSweep material flow test to see how quickly the air pulses clear a bin filled with damp cornstarch. The proof is in the flow!

How to Replace AirSweep Parts for Preventative Maintenance

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The AirSweep system is built to last, and will probably be running long after you retire. It just needs regular preventative maintenance. Some parts will need to be replaced periodically to ensure smooth, on-demand flow. These regular “tune-ups” do not require plant shutdowns, expensive equipment, or extensive technical training.

This video will show you the basics of routine preventative maintenance for your AirSweep® or any pneumatic flow aid with similar components.

What is preventative maintenance?

Routine preventative maintenance is a fairly simple concept. It just means choosing a service interval to change out certain parts in the flow aid system in order to prevent big problems from occurring. This includes the solenoid valves and the AirSweep nozzles.

Why do you need preventative maintenance?

Flow aid systems operate in very hot, dusty environments. After thousands of cycles in these difficult conditions, parts can wear down – affecting performance and energy efficiency. Eventually, this can lead to equipment failure, downtime, or possible safety hazards.

What tools do you need?

AirSweep is designed for easily installation and maintenance. Since it is mounted outside the vessel, you can quickly access and replace the parts. You don’t even need to disconnect it from the AirSweep or the air supply; just turn off the power and depressurize the system.

As for tools, all you need is a screwdriver, a power drill or a socket wrench, and the AirSweep replacement kit.

Watch the video for step-by-step instructions

Paul the AirSweep guy walks you through the entire process of replacing the solenoid valve.
Contact us if you have any other questions, or concerns about your AirSweep’s performance. We’ll be happy to help!

Standard AirSweep vs. Straight Shooter Models

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The AirSweep system can handle almost any type of material and can be fitted into several kinds of storage vessels: silos, hoppers, ribbon blenders and more. The nozzles are positioned to release high-pressure, high volume 360° bursts of air. However, your process may require the air to be focused in one direction. Or, there may be structural limitations like a shared wall in the grain bin that make it difficult to install the standard AirSweep.

That’s when you need the AirSweep straight shooter models. In this video, Paul the AirSweep guy explains:

  • The difference between the standard AirSweep® and the Straight Shooter models
  • Situations or applications where the Straight Shooter may work better
  • How to adjust the position/location and angle of the Straight Shooter to achieve the desired material flow

The video concludes with a material flow test that shows how the AirSweep Straight Shooter can eliminate ratholing, bridging and other material blocks.

What will work better for your vessel, material, process or industry? The AirSweep engineers can customize the system for you, and recommend the right models and set-up.

AirSweep: Dust-Tight Design, Easy Maintenance!

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How much time and money do you lose every month because you need to shut down your production to clean your flow aid systems? That’s a common issue with most pneumatic flow aids. The material gets trapped in the material activation device, compromising performance and even causing cross-contamination.

Material Feedback—It’s a Money Issue!

Every time you pause production to clean out your flow aids, you lose time and money. Aside from lowering your output, you have to assign someone to dismantle the equipment, and manually remove any trapped debris.

That’s never a problem with the AirSweep system. It is designed to be completely dust-tight, so material never enters its individual parts. The patented nozzle design closes shut after each pulse, and is locked in place by a heavy-duty compression swing when it’s not in use. You have zero material feedback.

Watch proof of AirSweep’s dust-tight design

We submerge an AirSweep nozzle to see if water will leak through to the nozzle and solenoid valves. Will the AirSweep system stay dry and clean? See the results yourself.