Equipment Design Makes Manual Infeed of Minor Ingredients Safe and Accurate
Functioning as the primary interface for the introduction of minor ingredients to the master recipe of this high-volume production operation, this bank of bag break stations helped to improve batch repeatability and reduced material waste and labor fatigue.
The scope of this engineered-to-application fullstream project includes the upstream discharge of major and minor dry and liquid ingredients, midstream conveying of those ingredients, and downstream filling and mixing of the ingredients in receiving tanks. The customer's previous system was unable to produce reliably consistent formulations of the recipe. The previous system also required several labor-intensive steps when handling ingredients. And, the frequent mishandling of ingredients led to significant material waste and dusting throughout the plant. During the design-concept development stage of the project execution, NBE provided a comprehensive application analysis, 3D modeling of the fullstream scope of the project, along with functional testing and reporting where material characteristics required performance feasibility validation.
The application-specific engineering of the NBE bag break stations has made a vital contribution to the process performance improvements gained by the customer. The fullstream integration of the NBE equipment and automation infrastructure enables each of the two bag break stations to be individually controlled and to separately respond to recipe-specific calls from the distributed control system. The built-in weigh scale system on each bag break station provides precise gain-in-weight feeding to downstream equipment of manually loaded material. To reduce worker exposure to material dust while loading, and to reduce the spread of migrant dusts throughout the facility, each bag break station is ducted to a central dust filtration and collection system.
The fullstream automation and controls infrastructure, designed and engineered by NBE, brought systemwide material feed accuracy to the project. From loss-in-weight material supply at the NBE bulk bag dischargers, and gain-in-weight feeding from the bag break stations, to major and minor liquid dispensing from the pumping stations, the customer saw immediate improvement in the accuracy, repeatability, and reliability of the production output. Central to the system performance, the optimal height of the bag break grate, and the wide and tall opening of the grate access opening, have collectively aided in improved physical ergonomics for the operators. Nuisance dusts no longer negatively affect operator performance, nor does material dust create facility maintenance events.