Bulk Bag Discharger

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Posted in: , on 5. Feb. 2008 - 19:41

A ‘Spiroflow’ Bulk Bag Discharger and Flexible Screw Conveyor put on a good face for Innospec Ltd.

In June this year Innospec Ltd. of Ellesmere Port started operations on the first new-build plant on their site since 1996. Their ‘show-case’ plant, which manufactures products for personal care applications, includes a ‘Spiroflow’ Big Bag Discharger with integral Flexible Screw Conveyor as the means of charging the process reactor.

The main ingredient of the product is delivered to site in big bags (FIBCs). For each batch, a number are charged into the process reactor together with a catalyst from 25kg bags added manually through the Discharger’s access doors. Charging the reactor takes an hour - which was the time specified from the outset.

Because the big bags arrive in ISO containers that have travelled over land and sea, their normally free-flowing, flake-like contents can be somewhat compacted, especially in those bags at the bottom of the pile. To overcome the difficulties that such compaction can cause, the ‘Spiroflow’ Big Bag Discharger is fitted with bag massagers that operate on both the sides and the base of the bags.

The products manufactured at Ellesmere Port are for the European market and the manufacturing plant replicates a US plant - making a similar product for the American market. The US based plant incorporates an Aero-Mechanical Conveyor as the means of transferring the ingredients from the big bag discharger to the reactor.

Innospec chose to work with Spiroflow because of their positive experience with other Spiroflow equipment, including Flexible Screw Conveyors that have already been working for 12 years or so, on the Ellesmere Port site. Their primary concern about going for the lower cost option Flexible Screw Conveyor, rather than the Aero-Mechanical Conveyor used in the USA, was degradation of the main ingredient - which has to retain its flake format for optimum performance in the reactor vessel. What convinced Corporate Projects Manager, Bill Swift, that the Flexible Screw Conveyor would do the job was the day he spent in the Spiroflow test centre putting a Flexible Screw Conveyor through its paces on his product. As Bill Swift comments, “We are well satisfied with our Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger and although we chose the lower cost Flexible Screw Conveyor it has proven to be very efficient”.

‘Spiroflow’ Big Bag Dischargers are designed to be dust-free in operation. When lifted into the discharger, the bag sits on a heavy-duty support dish. The big bag outlet spout passes through an aperture surrounded by a flexible membrane: this forms a dust-tight seal with the base of the bag. By way of access doors in the dust-tight cabinet below the support dish, the neck of each bag is pulled down through the membrane. With the cabinet doors closed, for safety reasons, pneumatic spout closure bars pinch the bag spout above the point at which it is tied. With the interlocked doors open again, the operator is able to untie the bulk bag spout. Once the spout is untied, the cabinet doors are closed again, the spout closure bars are opened and product then flows into the collection hoppers below without any escape of product into the atmosphere.

As product is discharged, and the big bags become ever lighter: springs within the big bag support arms, on each side of the Discharger, raise the bags higher and higher to keep them taught and to ensure maximum discharge of the contents.

To learn more about ‘Spiroflow’ Flexible Screw Conveyors, and their ranges of Aero-Mechanical Conveyors, Pneumatic Conveyors and Vacuum Conveyors and also about their Big Bag Fillers and Big Bag Dischargers too, please visit:




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