Proper First-process Container Discharge Reduces Downstream Costs
Multi-national food processing company recognizes proper first-process container discharging as critical to reducing downstream equipment operating costs, improving food safety, and increasing total line efficiency.
A major, multi-national food processing company was experiencing significant equipment-related processing problems including material loss, material contamination, and increased direct labor costs associated with bulk bag discharging.
The company, aware of the process expertise of NBE application engineers, selected NBE to assess this line and implement necessary improvements to its food processing equipment. NBE analyzed the food processing equipment line, from the point of bulk material introduction through the entire downstream production process. NBE applications engineers soon identified the downstream problems were the result of inadequate first-process bulk material introduction and in-process transfer methods of the dry bulk materials.
The NBE process and design engineering teams put into place a processing system to automate, and more fully integrate the material introduction, material handling, and transfer operations of the production line. The new food processing equipment includes machinery such as NBE lift & seal container dischargers for handling dry bulk materials, incline belt conveyors, and touch screen interface PLCs running line-specific programs developed by NBE.
When operating in automatic mode, the container-present sensors, together with the pneumatic container-centering machinery, precisely position the containers prior to sealing them into the discharge hoods. Line speed sensors, placed throughout downstream material processing stages, signal to the discharger when production requires additional material. The bulk bag discharger then automatically raises and seals the container into the hood, rotates the container up to 180 degrees, and opens the full-width slide gate. Material is proportionately discharged to the incline belt conveyor and conveyed at a rate determined by downstream equipment line speeds. Material-present sensors determine when material has been completely discharged then rotate the container back to its home position. The entire food processing sequence is designed to ensure worker safety and is protected with light curtains and safety side guards. The machinery's design criteria also required simple wash-down capability.
The container discharging and material conveyance system were able to make immediate contribution to the food processing company's production capabilities. The automated machinery design increased uptime efficiency to 99.8% and improved production line profitability by reducing direct labor costs. The sealed discharge design of the food processing equipment virtually eliminated material loss and contamination while ensuring reliable and repeatable bulk material supply based on downstream production need.
|Lift & Discharge, Sealed Container Discharger|
|Integrated process solution provides reliable material supply to downstream packaging equipment.|
|A 3-Bar mechanical linkage is designed to ensure smooth, continuous speed operation.|
|Pneumatic container centering devices position the box in the optimum position for sealing into the hood and achieving complete material discharge.|
|Custom PLC controls automate a range of operations.|