For four years, Lukacevic made, packed and shipped his product, Dinovite, from his farm in Dry Ridge, KY. Last year, it was time for a new plant and batching system. “With sales of Dinovite dog supplement on a tear,” says Lukacevic, “we purchased a 52,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing plant and decided to see what Ingredient Masters could do for us in the very competitive, and highly regulated, field of canine nutrition.”
Dinovite used to receive its major dry ingredients in 50- and 100-lb. paper bags, but the bags soon became problematic in six areas: inventory management, material handling, ergonomics, spillage, housekeeping and dunnage. Ingredient Masters’ system replaced the bags with 2,000-lb. FIBCs (flexible intermediate bulk containers), which eliminated bag-handling problems.
Bulk bags containing Dinovite’s major ingredients are bar coded with lot numbers and specifications by each supplier. When the bags are received, bar codes are read to assure the right ingredients are directed to the proper dispensers. Bulk bags are emptied by forklift into one of 14 70-cu.-ft., rotationally molded polyethylene dispensers, each with a computer-controlled valve.
The system incorporates one bag dump station for the few ingredients that cannot be delivered in bulk bags. Minor ingredients, those used in amounts per batch of less than five pounds, are premixed and added to each batch.
There is a support structure for the dispensers, which consists of 14 lifting frames to hold a full bulk bag over a full dispenser and a scale cart that spans the length of the configuration. Control of the system, including its robotic scale cart, resides within a Rockwell CompactLogix PLC and RSView HMI software. System recipes reside in a Microsoft SQL database, and each recipe contains ingredients, tolerances and system-specific data such as valve position requirements and vibration sequencing.
At the start of each batch, the operator selects the recipe to be run, and whether to process one or multiple batches. The system informs the operator if any required ingredient is missing or unavailable. Initiating a batch activates the scale cart, which drives to the first dispenser and loads. Flow rate and ingredient weight values are accurate to within ±0.2 lbs. The scale then resets and indexes to the second dispenser. When all ingredients are dispensed, a report is created, and the batch bag on the scale cart is lifted off and transferred to the mixer, where it is discharged.
Following the mix cycle, final product is reloaded into the batch bag and transferred via monorail to the pack-off station where it’s packaged in three-pint jars and one-, three- and five-gallon pails. A customized label with the dog’s name is applied to each container. The system is network-compatible and RFID-capable.
Lukacevic is pleased. “The Ingredient Masters system can process a 2000-lb. Dinovite recipe in five-six minutes-one batch every 10 minutes-to satisfy the demands of the more than 100,000 dog owners who have become repeat customers for Dinovite since 2004.”
For more information: Scott Culshaw,
Vacuum receiversK-Tron’s Model Premier Pneumatics P-Series vacuum receivers handle powders, poor-flowing powders and fragile materials. The receivers meet cGMP sanitary requirements with all components constructed of stainless steel (DIN 1.4404, AISI 316). Units are available in bead blast, satin or mirror-polished finish. The receivers are designed for easy disassembly, cleaning and maintenance with reverse jet filters, tri-clover quick release fittings, food-grade gaskets and an automatic filter cleaning system standard on all units. The receivers are available in 10-, 30- and 100-liter capacities.
K-Tron; 856-589-0500; www.k-tron.com
Diverter valvesCyclonaire pinch diverter valves, which are available in diameters from 2 to 12 inches, provide obstruction-free flow of dry materials conveyed under pressure in dilute, semi-dense and dense phase pneumatic systems. They can direct material to two different destinations or be set up to combine material flows from two different sources. Each valve can be adapted for its application and configured to a specific divergence or convergence. The valves handle pressures up to 85 psig and may be furnished with flanged, plain or grooved pipe connections with integral pressure switches that indicate flow direction.
Cyclonaire Corp.; 800-445-0730; www.cyclonaire.com
Bag dump stationsConstructed with 304 stainless steel, Airlanco bag dump stations are compact, self-contained units built to eliminate the labor, waste and potential health hazards associated with the spillage and dust normally caused when bagged materials are introduced into processing systems. Each station has a large collection hopper equipped with polyester cartridge filters and a 2 hp, 865 cfm fan. When the hopper’s door is opened, the fan automatically starts, ensuring that any dust is drawn through the filter. Programmable pulses of reverse air periodically dislodge the material that collects on the surfaces of the cartridge filters and allow it to fall into the collection hopper.
Bulk bag conditionerFlexicon’s bulk bag conditioner-unloader system loosens bulk solid material that has solidified during storage and shipment, allowing the material to discharge through a bag spout. Integral configuration of the conditioner eliminates the time, labor and equipment needed for separate loading of bulk bags into a stand-alone conditioner.
Flexicon Corporation; 888-353-9426; www.flexicon.com
Sanitary bulk bag dischargerMaterial Transfer’s sanitary Material Master bulk bag discharger features 304 stainless steel construction with round horizontal tubes, no tube penetrations, welded stand-offs and continuous TIG welds for thorough cleaning. A Flowmaster bulk bag massaging system with open pipe frames promotes positive material while a Flo-Lock gate closes the discharge spout for partial bag discharging. The system features a Seal-Master bag spout chamber with dual gull wing doors for quick discharge spout access.
Material Transfer; 800-836-7068; www.materialtransfer.com
Bulk solids wireless monitoringUsing Bluetooth wireless technology, Schenck AccuRate has the capability to change the parameters on its range of bulk solids metering controls without the need for wiring hook-ups. Engineers and technicians can service equipment up to 300 feet away with any computer equipped with Bluetooth technology.
Schenck AccuRate; 888-742-1249;
Automatic magnetic drain
Suitable for use with coolers, refrigerated dryers, separators, filters and liquid separators, Kaeser’s automatic magnetic drain removes condensate and other contaminants from the air system, while maintaining a “liquid seal” that prevents the loss of compressed air.
Non-stick bucket for conveyorsGough Econ Inc. has created a heavy-duty, textured bucket for its Swinglink bucket elevator, which improves product release and eliminates the problem of product sticking. The injection-molded buckets feature a raised inside pattern that decreases surface contact and tension. The buckets also feature increased strength and rigidity, improved impact characteristics and a longer life with abrasive products. With a Nylon® 66 fiber filler that is heat-resistant to 250
Bulk bag dischargerThe Spiroflow Model T5 bulk bag discharger works in height-restricted areas where the raised forklift frame is higher than actual heights. The unit uses a special removable frame that reduces the necessary height for forklift tines. The operator can load the bag and frame at the lower half of the discharger. The upper frame uses a sealing mechanism that ensures no product loss during discharge. A special locking system allows easy access to the bag spout through a large viewing porthole. Multiple options are available for the system including loss-in-weight load cells and pneumatic massage arms. The discharger is available in carbon steel, stainless steel and an architecture meeting USDA/3A dairy specifications.
Spiroflow; 704-291-9595; www.spiroflowsystems.com
Large bags metal detectorWith aperture sizes typically in the area of 26 in. wide by 12 in. high to accommodate bulk bags of 50-100 lbs., Fortress’ Phantom large bag system can detect 0.9-1.5 mm ferrous and 1.4-2.0 mm stainless steel fragments when operating in a production environment. Digital signal processor technology enables the system to obtain accurate and high-speed detection results.
Fortress Technology, Inc.; 888-220-8737;
Orifice gate valveVortex Valves’ Quantum series orifice gate valves handle dry bulk solids in gravity flow, dilute phase or vacuum conveying up to 15 psig (1 bar), depending on size and modifications. The valves feature a full-flange, weather-resistant design with improved sealing performance. Sizes range from 2 to 14 inches. The valves’ blade and seal design allows self-cleaning on the opening stroke, which prevents material from packing on internal seals, and inhibits material leakage across the valve or into the atmosphere.
Vortex Valves NA; 785-825-7177; www.vortexvalves.com
Dust explosion protectionBS&B Pressure Safety Management’s IQR System protects powder and bulk solid process plants and personnel from explosions and flames. The system provides protection against fire and explosions by trapping dust within its mesh lining and absorbing the heat from flames and hot gases. The mesh works like a heat sink that interrupts the explosion in mid-stream while absorbing pressure waves and dust that would normally be ejected by extremely hot and powerfully vented explosions. The system contains and quenches the explosion and reduces its constituents to water vapor and traces of smoke.
BS&B Pressure Safety Management, LLC; 800-272-3475; www.bsbsystems.com
Vibratory feedersMeyer vibratory feeders contain precise start/stop controls for highly accurate feed rates of most dry, free-flowing food and non-food products. Available from stock and in a wide range of trough designs and sizes, these feeders are built for durability and ease of cleaning. The equipment features sanitary design and rugged construction for demanding applications.
Meyer Industries; 210-736-1811;
Solid/liquid delivery systemHapman’s SolidQuid solid/liquid delivery system uses existing liquid delivery equipment to convey measured bulk powders to mix tanks. The system provides automatic and precise delivery of dry bulk ingredients to a slurry or mix tank without the need to add mechanical conveyors. Able to work with a variety of dry materials, the system prevents clumping and reduces mixing time, dusting and energy consumption.
Hapman; 800-427-6260; www.hapman.com
Discharging/feeding systemMaterial Handling Equipment's 180
Direct drive for valvesRoto-Disc now supplies all its valves for dry powder and granular applications with a direct drive system that eliminates taper and shear pins both inside and outside the valve. Actuator couplings and several other parts are eliminated, and removal and re-insertion of the shafts are simplified.
Roto-Disc Company; 513-871-2600; www.rotodisc.com
Container dischargerNBE’s automated Model Lift & Seal container discharger provides reliable, contaminant-free and consistent material supply to packaging lines, and the automated system increases the productivity of the entire packaging operation. The rugged, easy-to-clean design withstands harsh plant environments while reducing surfaces and areas on which contaminants can collect. A hydraulic cylinder linkage system provides a controlled 180° rotation for the discharging of all the container’s content onto an integrated belt conveyor.
NBE; 616-399-2220; www.nbe-discharge.com
Batching systemThis batching system from Ingredient Masters simultaneously processes up to 20 batches per hour, each with up to 24 components. The system works with recipe sizes from 10 to 200 lbs. each and maintains ingredient accuracy of ±0.02 lbs. per ingredient with the use of screw feeders. Systems designed to handle very high ingredient volumes or very large batches can be specified for auto valve release. The transfer conveyor can be scaled for gain-in-weight (which provides slightly higher accuracy) or loss-in-weight (which is faster). The systems can use as few as four or as many as 30 dispensers, which are each 28 to 105 cu. ft. in capacity.
Ingredient Masters; 513-231-7432; www.ingredientmasters.com