Working with materials in bulk can present challenges that aren’t presented by smaller amounts. Powders also present many handling challenges. With the right bulk powder handling equipment, you can minimize problems while also improving efficiency. Choosing the right equipment improvements can help you maximize ROI. Let’s take a look at the bulk powder handling equipment with the quickest ROI.
Bulk Powder Handling Equipment with the Quickest ROI
Bulk Bag Unloader
A typical bulk bag or supersack holds a ton of material. If you’re working with individual 50 lb bags, that’s the equivalent of 40 bags—that’s a lot of time and energy spent moving, opening, and pouring bags. For this reason, transitioning to bulk bags is one a bulk powder handling equipment upgrades with the quickest ROI.
Working with a bulk bag unloader, you free employees from repeatedly opening and dispensing smaller bags. Though bulk bags certainly have their own hazards, these are avoidable with the right design. Contrastingly, it’s more difficult to avoid repetitive stress injuries from repeatedly loading and unloading 50 lb bags. Supersack unloaders are also designed to deal with dust and debris, reducing dust exposure to employees as well. Transitioning to bulk bags will also save significant time and make your process more efficient.
Automation provides a number of opportunities to improve efficiency, when it’s properly planned and installed. Finding bulk powder handling equipment upgrades with the quickest ROI means first finding areas of inefficiency. If you are currently operating mixers, feeders, scales, or other processes with manual controls, automation can help these processes work in tandem, reduce error, and simplify record-keeping.
With automated controls, the next process will begin automatically when the previous process is finished. Or, these processes can work simultaneously, minimizing downtime and optimizing the process speed. Synchronizing controls with your scale will improve accuracy by eliminating the possibility for human error. Connecting the automation process with your record-keeping system will also reduce error in your records and improve record-keeping efficiency.
Two-Speed Scale Operation
Major scales take time to fill, and often fill quickly. As a scale reaches its desired weight, this fast filling speed can quickly result in overfilling. Overfill alarms can stop the process and a very overfilled bin can even cause product defects. To prevent overfilling, the feeder will often jog, which not only slows down the process but also overworks the drive. Two-speed scale operation helps to prevent jogging and overfilling. With a variable frequency drive, you can equip the scale to fill at two speeds, a bulk rate and a dribble rate, so the scale will fill more slowly and stop at the right time.
Bulk powder handling equipment equipped with automatic routing can also offer quick ROI. Automatic downstream or upstream routing helps to ensure that ingredients or finished products find their way to the right bin.
With manual routing, the system will stop when the selected bin fills and an employee is engaged in another activity, such as dealing with an overfill alarm. It may take several minutes for the employee to route the system properly. In this time, production will stop. Automatic routing will prevent this problem. It will also automatically track lot numbers, bin numbers and raw ingredients, making tracking and tracing much easier and more efficient.
Micro Ingredient System
Adding trace ingredients or micro ingredients to a mix with several macro ingredients presents a number of challenges. Your weighing and batching systems are most likely designed with macro ingredients in mind, requiring micro ingredients to be added by hand. Like most manual processes, this takes time and generally isn’t very accurate.
A micro ingredient system can make your bulk powder handling system more efficient and more accurate. You don’t have to worry about where to store partially used bags of ingredients, there’s no adding extra scoops or accidentally leaving a scoop out, or cross-contamination between the scoops. A micro ingredient system will measure and dispense the ingredients you need automatically, and can even track this activity to simplify record-keeping.
There are many ways to upgrade bulk powder handling equipment and improve plant efficiency. Which of these upgrades offer the quickest ROI will depend on your facility’s current equipment, and where you see the best opportunities for improvement. If you have questions about bulk powder handling equipment and automation, contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.