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Article | August 25, 2014
National Bulk Equipment: Bulk bag unloader/container filling system
Designed to reduce changeover times and provide improved throughput, National Bulk Equipment’s (NBE) sanitary bulk bag unloader conditions and discharges various semi free-flowing, hygroscopic, contaminable powders at a rate of 8,000 lbs/hr, while feeding the powders to the end-of-line consumer packaged goods (CPG) container filling system.
The operation’s increased production requirements dictate greater frequency of line changeovers to accommodate processing of other types of powdered materials, and filling of multiple consumer packaged goods (CPG) container sizes. This process-specific, NBE bulk bag unloader and container filling system was designed based on the particular changeover and throughput specifications of the application. Changeover times were reduced as a result of design features, such as: the elimination of internal angles, corners, and dead spaces to reduce accumulation of contaminants; angled planes, rounded-radius framework, highly finished plate, and stand-offs to speed moisture run-off away from product contact areas; and subassembly access, removal, and replacement as single-operator, tool-less actions to reduce time and labor per event.
Despite process demands requiring more frequent changeovers, total line uptime and throughput performance increased due to significant reductions in the time of each changeover. Process throughput was further increased with the in-line conditioning of multiple material types. Container fill rates surpassed the target of 15 containers/min – rates unattainable by the previous system.
Process safety, and product safety gains were also achieved. The enclosed bulk bag discharging, material conditioning, feeding, and filling systems protect operators by preventing migrant material dusts from entering the process area. The enclosed design also protects process material from contamination.
This fully-automated bulk material handling and packaging system is built on the NBE integrated construction and controls infrastructure. The complete process sequence – including bulk bag loading and conditioning, material size reduction, feeding, and package filling – operates on paired, process-specific structural framework chassis with all automation and control functions centralized to a single, menu-driven HMI to enable standardized and system-wide data reporting.
The NBE integrated construction and controls infrastructure helps provide reduced total cost of ownership, specifically the common systems-integration concept of bolt-together, divergent ‘islands’ of equipment and controls, while also improving process performance and the accurate production data shared throughout the job.
This NBE bulk bag unloader and container filling system was built based on HACCP assessments that guided the determination of the framework and component materials of construction.
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