As part of its production process, a Leicestershire-based food company received rusk granules in 25kg bags. Using a labour intensive process, these were then decanted manually, into containers that were then wheeled into the production area.
A newly-installed Guttridge FIBC discharger now enables the granules to be supplied in one tonne bags. The bags are quickly discharged and the contents moved into the production area by a system of vertical and horizontal screw conveyors, also supplied by Guttridge.
As is usually the case in a food setting, stainless steel construction is used throughout the product-facing elements of the system to meet exacting hygiene standards. Hinged lids are also incorporated in the conveyors to allow rapid cleaning. In addition, quick release clamping systems, slip-fit screws and swing-away drives are included to allow for rapid dismantling for cleaning purposes.
The FIBC discharger itself is based around a stainless steel frame to which the bags' four support loops are attached. The bags are moved into position by an electric chain hoist, which also provides a means of bag tensioning to help product discharge.
A lockable panel is fitted to the discharge unit with integral gloves to allow access to the ties on the bag spout. Once the ties are undone, the bag's contents are released into a holding hopper, which is fitted with a vibrating tray to further aid product discharge.
The first of the system's electronic probes is located in the infeed to the horizontal conveyor under the holding hopper. When the probe senses no product in the conveyor it sounds a warning signal to alert operators that the bag is empty.
The rusk granules are moved by a series of three conveyors, one vertical and two horizontal. The final horizontal conveyor, which is fitted above a corridor to take granules into the meat processing room, is lagged with an external jacket to maintain product temperatures and minimise condensation.
Completing the Guttridge-manufactured system is a small buffer hopper in the meat processing room. This hopper allows accurate discharge of granules in the 20kg batches required. Level probes in the hopper play an important part in controlling product flow.
According to Guttridge's Greg Bedford, the new system gives the user excellent control over the discharge and conveying of product: "In particular, they are benefiting from the electrical control panel on the discharger support frame and the automatic flow control provided by the level probes."
Guttridge point to the sausage manufacturer's system as an example of the way they customise standard designs to meet individual needs. Most of their discharging systems feature core elements of a bag handling frame, support pan, docking system and discharge elevator or conveyor. But a range of additional optional features can be incorporated.
With a foundation of 50 years of experience, Guttridge is a flourishing company, globally respected for delivering well-engineered, reliable materials handling solutions that continue to anticipate dramatically changing industrial needs.