Columns

Automated powder unloading system speeds blending

April 16, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Bulk bag discharger hits the sweet spot for chocolate powder producer.

This automated bulk bag weigh batching system from Flexicon consists of an 18’4” high discharger frame and 5-foot long flexible screw conveyor. Under loss-of-weight control, the system discharges precise amounts of powder into an auger conveyor that feeds three ribbon blenders at Forbes Chocolate. Source: Flexicon.


A new automated bulk bag discharger from Flexicon is providing sweet results for Cleveland-based Forbes Chocolate’s blending process. The discharger, feeding a flexible screw conveyor, introduces one-quarter to one-third more main ingredient per shift than previous manual dumping of 50-pound bags.

In addition to increasing throughput by 1,500 pounds per hour, plant workers no longer have to cut open, lift and empty bags into a bag dump station. The work area is now free of dust, as the powder stays enclosed throughout the process.

“Instead of previously manually weighing, say, 500 pounds of main ingredient, we just push a button,” says Keith Geringer, Forbes vice president of manufacturing. “Unloading goes 50 percent faster.”

The automated cocoa powder unloading system consists of an 18’4” high bulk bag discharger frame. Beneath the discharger frame, a 1 cubic foot capacity high-flow hopper connects to a 5-foot long flexible screw conveyor that discharges to the auger conveyor through a transition adapter and 12-inch long bellows.

The exact amount of powder flowing from the bulk bag is metered by loss-of-weight control. As the bag discharges, load cells under each leg of the unloader frame transmit weight-loss signals to a controller mounted on the side of the frame. The controller shuts off the flexible screw conveyor once the batch weight has been discharged. The conveyor runs at high speed, then at dribble speed before it stops when the target batch weight has been reached.

The system had to fit into a tight space, so Flexicon supplied a “push” type flexible screw conveyor that locates the 5-hp drive at the intake rather than at the normal discharge end. The motor pushes rather than pulls the powder through. The drive helps the loss-of-weight control function more effectively by concentrating frame and conveyor weight directly on the load cells.

In operation, the hoist and trolley position the 87-inch long bulk bag on the unloader frame. Pneumatically activated Flow-Flexer plates at the bottom of the bag promote flow of the non-free flowing powders by massaging the lower side walls of the bag at pre-set intervals. As the bag empties, the stroke of the plates increases, raising the side walls in a “V” shape, promoting complete product discharge.

Dust is suppressed by a 15-inch diameter iris flow control valve with a flexible, impermeable diaphragm that allows the operator to pull the tied bulk bag spout into the spout access compartment and close the valve around the spout. The spout is then untied, the compartment’s access door closed, and the notched valve released slowly, controlling the rate at which the powder discharges into the hopper to prevent dust from escaping.

For more information:
David Boger, Flexicon, 1-888-353-9426, dboger@flexicon.com, www.flexicon.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png