Bulk Material of Varied Characteristics and Bulk Densities is Filled at High Volume; Fill Accuracy is Improved, Waste and Rework are Reduced
This bulk container filling project leverages the NBE engineer-to-application (ETA) project delivery method to ensure the accurate fill weight, and uniform fill volume of challenging bulk materials into fiber drums. Operator interactions with the process sequence are limited to lidding and labeling of the drums.
Flow properties of the material being filled into the drums vary significantly due to fluctuations in the humidity of the local climate. The material bulk density also varies as humidity levels change. While the drum filling sequence occurs in a climate-controlled zone, the bulk material supplied from upstream to the container filling station is not affected by the controlled climate. During early stages of the NBE ETA project execution process, comprehensive applications analysis, material testing, and feasibility testing were conducted to ensure process performance requirements would be met.
NBE chain-drive live roller (CDLR) conveyors feed pallets of four empty drums into the drum filling station. Each drum is automatically filled, one at a time, to within 5% of the target fill weight. Densification occurs evenly throughout the entire pallet to establish a base fill volume per drum. A dribble-fill function then fills each drum to the target weight of within 1% of the total drum weight. Laser sensors at the fill station monitor the fill volume of each drum, while load cells ensure the filled-drum weigh accuracy. Each pallet of filled drums advances to the label and lidding station where an NBE turntable CDLR conveyor section rotates the pallet of filled drums 180 degrees to enable safe and efficient operator access. Each pallet then advances to the automated stretch wrapper to secure the drums and pallet for shipping.
Led by the reliable, repeatable achievement of highly precise, filled-drum weight and volume accuracy targets, this NBE drum filling project has contributed significant gains to the operation's total process effectiveness. Procurement efficiencies have been realized due to the reduction of material waste. Increased fill rates have led to gains in labor utilization. The elimination of rework has improved on-time ship rates.