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Equipment track record justifies placement in new facility

The Hapman Helix flexible screw conveyor conveys imported rice from its integral stainless steel hopper into a packaging machine

The Hapman Helix flexible screw conveyor conveys imported rice from its integral stainless steel hopper into a packaging machine that portions the rice into preprinted plastic bags for retail distribution. Source: Guixens Food Group.

Guixens Food Group’s Tampa, FL facility specializes in processing and delivering specialty and imported dry food products to chain and independent supermarkets. The family-owned and operated business, which opened its first site in 1993 in Miami, enjoyed increased business and found it necessary to locate a second plant in Tampa.

A flexible screw conveyor is a major part of the Miami operation, so choosing a new conveyor for the Tampa site was easy. “We had already been using the Hapman Helix in our Miami facility for years, so we definitely knew we wanted it in the new location as well,” says Manuel Guixens, Guixens Food Group owner. “Our Tampa plant was all new from the ground up, and we specified a Hapman from day one.”

The Helix screw conveyor consists of a fixed tubular housing with an electric motor that drives a screw (also known as an auger). The conveyor’s only moving part, the stainless steel screw, rotates within the casing, creating a directional force that conveys material either horizontally or with inclines of up to 60° at heights reaching 80 feet. The flexible screw conveyor can be used to convey a variety of materials from rice and beans to nacho seasoning and pancake mix.

“We convey eight different products with eight different consistencies,” says Guixens. “The Hapman is very versatile, and we can tailor it to whatever process we have. The integral controls also allow us to run the screw faster for finer materials and slower for the more fragile items such as dry beans and oatmeal. Plus, it allows us to reverse the screw for easy cleaning.”

The conveyor can be fitted with several interchangeable augers such as flat, beveled, square and round wire. Each type is designed to handle specific material characteristics without product degradation or binding. The new Guixens Tampa facility interchanges two flat wire augers with different diameters to accommodate specific material challenges.

The larger-diameter screw is used for rice, oatmeal, fine and coarse cornmeal, and ultra-fine corn flour. The smaller screw is used specifically for beans to prevent breakage and ensure high product quality. A smaller auger provides an increased allowance between the screw and casing, decreasing friction and creating a more gentle conveying process for fragile materials.

With the plant’s innovative design, the conveyor is able to service a number of work stations—each packaging a specific dry bulk material. Guixens designed its own trolley system that suspends the Helix motor from the ceiling. The trolley allows employees to move the conveyor quickly from one machine to the next with very little effort.

The Tampa facility also customized its sanitation system, eliminating cross-contamination between materials. The system consists of a large PVC pipe, capped on both ends and plumbed to a hot water source and drain. Horizontally mounted to the wall, the system uses none of the facility’s valuable floor space and is completely self-contained. Operators place the conveyor’s polyethylene food-grade conveyor casing pipe and stainless steel screw in the cleaning station and fill it with hot water and sterilizing chemicals. The cleaning process is monitored with test strips, and the tube and screw are air-dried in place.

“I don’t think any other conveyor system could give us the flexibility, ease of cleaning and simplicity of the Hapman,” says Guixens. “It’s so simple; there’s nothing to go wrong.” 

For more information:  Mike Zeluff, 800-427-6260, mzeluff@hapman.com

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