Overcoming problem of compacted materials

Paul Boughton
For many years Flexicon Europe has maintained a dedicated test laboratory to demonstrate its bulk handling systems and show how it contributes to improved distribution of free-flowing and not-so-free-flowing materials to downstream processes or into intermediate storage hoppers.
Last month Flexicon Europe added a hydraulic Bulk Bag Conditioner to the recently expanded Test Facility at its production plant in Herne Bay, Kent, UK. The new equipment overcomes the problematical occurrence facing many organisations when bagged bulk materials such as hygroscopic chemicals, certain types of spice blends, heat-sensitive products and many more have compacted and solidified during storage and shipment. They reach a point at which pneumatically-actuated flow promotion accessories integral to bulk bag dischargers are inefficient or completely ineffective.
The Bulk Bag Conditioner incorporates two hydraulic rams with specially-contoured end plates which gently press opposing sides of bulk bags reinstating a more free-flowing material state. Where more stubborn materials are a regular occurrence Flexicon can equip the Bulk Bag Conditioner with a hydraulically-actuated, variable-height turntable enabling in-frame bag rotation and conditioning at varying heights; the height of the turntable and the number of 90-degree rotations being user-adjustable.
Having been treated in the Bulk Bag Conditioner loosened bulk solid material is then ready for induction into bulk bag unloaders with discharge through bag spouts.
Measuring 2210mm H x 3378mm W x 1981mm D the conditioner is designed to accommodate the most popular sized bulk bags. It is fully enclosed on all four sides for operator safety and includes full-height doors that are interlocked preventing actuation when the doors are open.
Visitors to the Flexicon Test Laboratory are now able to see the Bulk Bag Conditioner working alongside other Flexicon bulk handling systems such as the Company’s flexible screw and pneumatic conveyors, bulk discharger units and bag fillers.  The functionality of the expanded test facility enables Flexicon to fully trial the handling of specific materials to maximise performance.
For more information, visit www.flexicon.co.uk

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