A new BULK-OUT Bulk Bag Discharging Station from Flexicon Corp. prevents cross-contamination during material changeovers, while eliminating down time associated with cleaning of hoppers. Beneficial for applications involving food allergens, pigments, flavorings and other contamination-sensitive materials, the discharger features a shuttle system that allows a hopper that has been used to be exchanged for a clean, dry hopper in less than one minute.
Each hopper is equipped with a stainless steel rotary valve that meters material into process equipment positioned below the mezzanine. Once empty, a hopper can be rolled within two C-channels to either side of the central filling position for sanitizing offline. Integral support rails on the rotary valve allow the rotor assembly to separate from the valve body for cleaning of all material contact surfaces, and to close securely in seconds without the use of tools.
The hopper shuttle system can more than double productivity by allowing one hopper to be filled and discharged, while the other hopper and metering valve are cleaned, according to the company.
The discharger portion of the dust-tight system employs a SPOUT-LOCK clamp ring that secures the clean side of the bag spout against the clean side of the discharger. A TELE-TUBE telescoping tube promotes material flow through the bag spout by maintaining constant downward tension on the clamp ring as the bag empties and elongates.
The assembly consisting of the clamp ring, telescoping tube and quick-release cone hopper lid, provides unobstructed access to all material contact surfaces for rapid cleaning during material changeovers.
Additional flow promotion is afforded by two FLOW-FLEXER pneumatically actuated devices, one of which employs a pair of rams that presses opposing sides of the bag in increasing strokes as the bag decreases in width, and another that uses specially contoured plates that increasingly raise opposing bottom sides of the bag into a steep "V" shape as the bag lightens, promoting complete discharge.
Positioned above the clamp ring is a POWER-CINCHER pneumatically actuated flow control valve that cinches the spout concentrically, allowing gradual release of material after untying the drawstring, and re-cinching of partially empty bags for leak-free tie-offs.
The model BFC discharger is distinguished by its cantilevered I-beam with electric hoist and trolley that allows raising and positioning of bulk bags without the use of a forklift.
To operate, the bag loops are connected to Z-CLIP bag strap holders on the unit's lifting frame at floor level, and the bag is raised into position using a pendant. The telescoping tube is raised pneumatically, allowing connection of the bag spout to the clamp ring using snap-action handles, and then released, relying on the weight of the assembly to maintain downward tension on the spout throughout the discharging process.
Construction is of carbon steel with durable industrial finish, with all material contact surfaces of stainless steel.