Global silicones business gains efficiency, blend integrity

Conveying machinery for chemical processing

 

A global silicones business based in the USA decides on a Floveyor F3 to improve efficiency, safety, and blend integrity for industrial powder handling.

How do you manage bulk materials handling when you have a huge range of materials and diverse site layouts? That’s the challenge faced by a global silicones business whose products service a wide range of industries including automotive, electronics, personal care, consumer products, aerospace, and building and construction. Manufacturing an extensive portfolio of additives and offering formulated products for their customers means every plant in the international business is different. They wanted conveying machinery for chemical processing that could manage a diverse range of industrial powders.

Manually handling large volumes of 50-pound bags

One of the chemical company’s USA-based facilities needed to automate the manual transfer of 50-pound bags of cornstarch. Approximately 100 bags of the fine, lightweight powder were being added to a 13,000-pound-capacity batch ribbon blender to produce slurry for compounded polyvinyl acetate (PVA) adhesive processing.

The manual material handling process was taking up to 90 minutes and was risky for plant operators from a health and safety standpoint. Manual handling also affected blend integrity and reduced overall operating efficiency. The site leader wanted to:

  • Eliminate manual bag handling
  • Improve operator safety
  • Increase process line efficiency
  • Reduce dust
  • Find a conveyor that was easy to operate.

A site visit to another plant operation within the company’s group of chemical processing facilities gave them the opportunity to see a Floveyor in action. Watching a demonstration of prilled urea being added to resin batches convinced the site leader they had found a good solution to all their problems.

Moving to a fit-for-purpose conveyor design

Once it was determined that a Floveyor F3 fit all the conveying requirements of the chemical processing plant, the next hurdle was overcoming plant constraints. The site had limited floor space and low headroom, which presented additional difficulties for process line technology. Floveyor F3s have a small footprint and a modular design that easily integrated with the existing plant technology.

Another key feature leading to a Floveyor decision was the option of having a mobile conveying unit. When the conveyor is not in use, the operators move the screw feeder and safety frame out of the manufacturing area and into the warehouse. This helps improve efficiency and overall safety by opening up floor space and keeping the forklift traffic lane clear.

Regulated gentle, rapid flow for better powder handling

Preparing the Floveyor to charge the blender is quick and simple. The operators now easily manage the four-step process without having to lift heavy bulk bags.

  1. Wheel everything to the conveyor.
  2. Bolt the screw feeder’s feed tube to the conveyor’s feed tube.
  3. Roll the safety frame over the feeder hopper.
  4. Stage a bulk bag on the frame.

The fully enclosed hopper fills in seconds once the operator opens the bag spout. Transfer rates are regulated by the speed of the screw feeder. The Floveyor operates at a fixed speed, using aero-mechanical conveying technology to gently pull the suspended cornstarch through the conveyor to the discharge chute.

Floveyor F3 improves efficiency and blend integrity

The Floveyor F3 met the challenge of automating an inefficient, ergonomically difficult process. It dramatically improved material throughputs, resulting in superior batch integrity and a cleaner operation.

The new Floveyor enabled the chemical plant to:

  • Increase total batch transfer sizes to accommodate 2000 to 4000 pounds of bulk bagged cornstarch
  • Slash blender charging times from 90 minutes to between 15 and 20 minutes
  • Eliminate the risk of repetitive lifting injury and free the plant operator to do a range of other tasks
  • Eliminate manual bulk bag handling for plant operators
  • Service the conveyor with two minor rope tension adjustments in a year
  • Run a very clean conveying operation by:
    • Discharging the cornstarch directly into the blender through a dust-tight flexible hose
    • Hosing out the stainless steel conveyor at the end of each shift.

A custom fit conveying solution for chemical processing

The chemical plant experienced improved blending efficiency by moving much more material into the blender in shorter time frames. The site required minimal renovations to provide a steep flow angle for complete material discharge into the blender, including:

  • Making a hole in the mezzanine about four feet away from the blender inlet. The Floveyor was installed so the conveying tubes run straight through the hole, perpendicular to the floor.
  • Stabilising the conveyor by anchoring the feed housing assembly to the floor.
  • Securing the discharge housing assembly to a roof beam.
  • Connecting a seven-foot-long, six-foot-diameter flex house to the discharge chute to the blender inlet.

Using a Floveyor in your chemical bulk materials handling

If you would like more information about how Floveyor conveying machinery for industrial powders can add efficiency in your chemical processing plant, get in touch with us. We are powder handling specialists for the chemical industry and can help you find the right solution for your brownfield or greenfield operation.