Dry Processing Technology: Focus on Powder & Bulk Operations
Workers breathe easy
Dust control, a priority at any processing plant, recently posed a problem at Bosma Industries for the Blind.
The Indianapolis, IN-based non-profit agency provides on- and off-site employment for 65 blind and visually impaired workers. The agency specializes in the production of textiles, dry food packaging, and other labor-intensive jobs.
An open-chute drum dumper on Bosma's powdered food line had presented some problems for workers. It required two employees to manually position up to 25 drums a day, each of which weighs approximately 300 lbs. The open-chute drum dumper also created dust each time it emptied a drum, requiring operators to wear masks and continually clean nearby equipment.
"Even though we have a ventilation system to exhaust the dust, we were not able to eliminate it," says Chris Duell, a Bosma production manager. As a possible solution, a vendor showed Duell an advertisement for a lift-and-seal dumper and Duell contacted Flexicon Corp. He ordered a stainless steel unit finished to food processing standards.
"Installing and wiring the lift-and-seal dumper took about one day and the installation process was self-explanatory," says Duell. "Our employees can load, seal, tip and discharge the drums with no dusting and less effort."
With the Flexicon unit in place, an operator now uses a drum handler to lift drums onto the dumper's rollers. He or she then removes the lid and rolls the drum into position. One switch locks the drum in place and tips it. Flexicon says the dumper's hydraulic lift automatically forms a dust-tight seal between the drum lip and the discharge cone. The assembly is tipped hydraulically, causing the cone to mate with the gasketted receiving ring that is fitted to an enclosed hopper lid. The operator then opens a gate valve to release the product into the hopper, which discharges into a conveyor system.
Duell says the dumper has eliminated dust in that part of the facility, allowing employees to work without masks. In addition, a single worker can now accomplish the work that previously required two people. By eliminating the dust, the dumper also reduced the labor previously required to clean equipment each day.
"The dumper is a great improvement for us and our employees are appreciative," says Duell. Bosma has been so pleased with the change that it is further considering adding a Flexicon bulk bag discharger as another plant upgrade.
For more information:
David Boger, Flexicon Corp.,
Time well spent: Cereal Ingredients improves efficiency with the design of its newest process system.
It was nine years in the making. That's how long it took Cereal Ingredients to develop the basic R&D and process technology it needed for a product line with any meaningful points of difference or even much volume. In fact, when Tim Moore, now vice president of manufacturing, joined the company in 1998, its fledgling product line was still co-manufactured. "As we brought in more business, we saw opportunities to re-engineer the process flow, improve the product quality, and significantly increase line speeds," says Moore.
A small, employee-owned start-up company, Cereal Ingredients manufactures several lines of food ingredients including Flav-R-Bites, a line of colored and flavored particles used in ready-to-eat cereals, bakery products and frozen inclusions. The company also sells fiber concentrates and functional dry filling mixes for sweet goods and swirl breads. It built its first plant in Kansas City in 1999 and recently built a new manufacturing facility on an eight-acre site in Leavenworth, KS. At 40,000 sq. ft., the phase I facility houses two manufacturing lines running 24 hours a day, six days a week. Moore says capacity additions are planned as demand dictates.
To keep pace with a growing market, Cereal Ingredients' new Leavenworth plant was designed to offer superb efficiency. "Our patented cold extrusion process and unique products enable us to achieve the particle size and the uniformity that our customers need," says Moore. Everything at the plant was self-engineered and Moore turned to Magnum Systems for help designing the process system. Magnum Systems includes two divisions-Taylor Products and Smoot-which enabled the company to provide Cereal Ingredients with the dilute phase pressure and vacuum systems, a negative airlift system and a bagging scale with bag sealer.
The process begins when the raw ingredients are mixed in a blender, discharged into a surge hopper, then transferred either directly to packaging or to the extrusion system depending on the product. Most of what Cereal Ingredients produces is transferred to the extrusion line where the product is extruded, dried and screened before packaging. All of the materials are handled in dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems designed by Magnum Systems before being packaged by the Taylor equipment into open mouth bags, bulk bags or totes. Moore says the self-contained system is easy to clean when changeovers between products occur.
"Magnum was instrumental in the system design," says Moore. "We learned a lot from our Kansas City plant, including what was working and what wasn't. That helped us to improve the systems at the new facility that much more." In fact, Cereal Ingredients now regularly achieves a 98 percent efficiency rating at the plant. "We're able to produce a very uniform, high quality piece," continues Moore. "It enables us to run very efficient lines, which keep our customers and CFO happy."
For more information:
Michael Johnson, Magnum Systems,
High capacity screeners
Rotex says its Megatex screeners provide 100 to 350 square feet of screen surface in a compact 10-ft. x 10-ft. x 12-ft. machine. The two-bank, multi-level screen deck arrangement presents 16 to 50 ft. of width to the feed, which keeps bed depth low and maintains screen accuracy and efficiency at high capacities, according to the manufacturer.
The Mechatron feeder from AccuRate features welds, radii, seals, surface finishes, gaskets and all contact and non-contact materials that meet 3-A standards. Available product features include an AC drive package, a FDA/USDA accepted Coni-Flex flexible conical feed-hopper, and helix configurations for feed rates from .3 to 330 cu. ft. per hour. The unit can also be disassembled, cleaned, reconfigured and serviced from the non-process side of the feeder.
Volumetric filling system
The advanced volumetric feeding system from Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery is designed to control both weight and volume in dry filling applications. It is ideal for products that shift density during packaging, such as cereal, nuts, trail mix, coffee and candy. Package weights are gathered by the in-line scale and fed back to the PLC for comparison to target weights. The PLC then regulates volume using the servo volume adjustment. A single Allen-Bradley PLC controls both the filler and scale.
Rotary batch mixer
Model 700-TH-50-SS, a 50-cu. ft. sanitary rotary batch mixer, blends batches of ingredients in parts as small as one per million with 100 percent uniformity in less than three minutes and evacuates 100 percent of the batch, according to its manufacturer, Munson Machinery. Designed for 3-A, USDA, contamination-sensitive materials and/or frequent product changeover applications, the mixer features internal mixing flights spaced for easy access, 304 or 316 stainless contact surfaces with welds of .25 in. radii, and external removable seals.
Prater Industries' classifier mill features a combination two-stage closed circuit grinding with inter-stage classification in one unit. Engineered to handle high volume and very fine size reduction, it can be used for grain, sugar, spices, glazes, protein, gelatin, cocoa and other materials. It uses a three to 200 hp motor and provides size reduction from 100 mesh down to low micron sizes. The company offers five different sized classifiers, all of which have a standard automatic door-locking device to prevent access to the mill's interior during operation.
Centrifugal screener with bag dump
Kason's Centri-Sifter centrifugal screener offers an integral bag pump station and dust collector to remove bag scraps and other oversize contaminants from manually dumped bulk materials. Rotating helical paddles create centrifugal action and cause on-size particles to pass through a horizontal screen cylinder. Oversize material is propelled through the downstream end of the screen cylinder to a discharge spout. The unit is configured for installation on a mezzanine and offers a low deck height for operations to dump sacks and other containers.
Emulsifier with rotor/stators
With three sets of toothed rotor/stators engineered to extremely fine radial tolerances, the Quadro Ytron model Z emulsifier processes product at high differential velocities, as many as 18 times in a single pass. According to the company, the result is consistent, repeatable quality. The rotors/stators for the Z emulsifier come in a wide variety of sizes to allow for multi-processing flexibility. Four 3-A approved sanitary design models are available providing scalability from pilot plant to capacities exceeding 300 gpm.
Customizable batch/weigh system
Ingredient Masters' customizable manual batching and weighing systems are modular and tailored to the customer's production requirements. System components include material silos, high-efficiency unloaders and integrated dust collection. Comprised of USDA-approved polyethylene, dispensers are designed to eliminate bridging, which works against the efficient flow of powdered material. The systems are compatible with existing equipment and first-in, first-out processing protocols.