Spiroflow Joins May River Capital Platform, Automated Handling Solutions

Spiroflow Joins May River Capital Material Handling Equipment and Industrial Automation Platform, Automated Handling Solutions

May River Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on lower middle market industrial growth companies, announced today the creation of Automated Handling Solutions (www.automatedhandlingsolutions.com), a newly established platform offering highly engineered material handling equipment and automation solutions. The platform was formed through the combination of two specialty conveying and material handling businesses: Spiroflow, a global manufacturer of material handling equipment and provider of control systems integration, and Cablevey Conveyors, a market leading manufacturer of patented tubular drag conveying systems for food and beverage and high value industrial applications. Together, the combined companies will offer a differentiated and comprehensive suite of material handling equipment and industrial automation solutions to marquee customers globally.

“We are thrilled to welcome Spiroflow and Cablevey to the May River portfolio. We see an extraordinary opportunity to invest and grow these market-leading brands under one platform. With these foundational assets, we expect to further accelerate the profitable growth both Spiroflow and Cablevey have seen during the past several years,” said May River Partner, Steve Griesemer. “The specialty conveying sector is a high growth segment serving attractive end markets. Under the new platform, Cablevey and Spiroflow are uniquely positioned to serve this growing demand and build upon their track records of delivering innovative solutions to global customers.”

Founded in 1971 by Michel Podevyn and based in Monroe, North Carolina, Spiroflow offers one of the most comprehensive lines of handling equipment and complementary automation solutions in the industry, including flexible screw conveyers, bulk material filling and discharging equipment and integrated control solutions. Spiroflow was a pioneer and early innovator in flexible screw conveying. During its history, the company has built a strong reputation as a provider of precision material handling equipment used in high value applications in markets such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and specialty chemical end markets.

Through the leadership of Podevyn and CEO and Co-Chairman Jeff Dudas, Spiroflow has achieved significant recent growth in both the US as well as the UK, where the business was founded and still has a key facility. With installations in more than 50 countries, the company’s technology is known for its safety, efficiency and reliability, serving some of the most demanding material handling applications.

“We’ve come a long way during the past 50 plus years, as we’ve built a company that has become an important and reliable partner to our customers,” said Podevyn. “We could not be more excited for the Spiroflow team to take the company to the next level through its new partnership with May River Capital.”

“With the additional financial and operational resources May River brings, we are excited to continue to invest in the business and drive growth. We believe this new partnership will further our track record of innovation and expansion that has served our customers, employees and the entire Monroe, North Carolina, and Clitheroe, UK communities well during the past several decades,” said Spiroflow CEO and Co-Chairman Jeff DudasDudas will continue with Spiroflow as interim CEO, focusing on advancing growth-oriented initiatives through his deep network of customer and industry relationships.

“Spiroflow’s portfolio of conveying, storage, automation integration and system designs, combined with a North American and European presence, have positioned the company perfectly to catalyze this new platform’s growth,” said May River Executive Resource Group member Brad Sterner, who is acting CEO of Cablevey and will become Executive Chairman of AHS. “We will leverage May River’s ownership of both the Advanced Material Processing (AMP) process equipment platform and AHS to drive continued market share gains in our served global, high growth end markets of food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, chemical and general industrial sectors.”

Winston & Strawn served as legal counsel to May River. BDO, Capital Advisors, LLC served as financial advisor, while Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP served as legal counsel to Spiroflow and its shareholders.

About May River Capital

May River Capital is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on investing in lower middle-market, industrial growth companies. May River Capital invests in high-quality industrial growth businesses, including precision manufacturing, engineered products and instrumentation, specialized industrial services, and value-added industrial distribution services. For more information, please visit www.mayrivercapital.com.

About Spiroflow

Spiroflow is a global leader in the field of powder handling and dry solids processing and an emerging leader in control systems integration. Throughout the company’s 50-plus-year history, its design engineers and process automation teams have provided customers with the safest, most efficient, and most reliable conveying and handling solutions available. Learn more at www.spiroflow.com.

About Cablevey Conveyors

Cablevey Conveyors is a global specialty conveyor manufacturer that designs, engineers, assembles and services tubular drag cable and disc conveyor systems. With customers in more than 65 countries, the company specializes in moving materials for food/beverage and industrial powder processors that seek food-grade conveying performance with systems that are clean, fast, energy-efficient and cost-effective. Learn more at www.cablevey.com.

Before it is packaged, tea is handled in loose leaf or instant powdered form. Both forms come with challenges that must be overcome via conveyor system design to ensure a final product that is consistent in both flavor and quality. In this article, Spiroflow experts will discuss tea conveying challenges and review considerations for the mechanical conveyors most suitable for conveying tea.

Tea Conveying Challenges

Degradation – Friable tea products are prone to degradation, which can cause undesired flavor variations. A conveyor featuring gentle handling will prevent and protect the product from bruising and breaking tea leaves. In addition to impacting flavor, excessive degradation resulting in too fine of a product can cause challenges with separation and blending.

Dusting & Safety – Additionally, conveying tea can result in considerable amounts of fine combustible dust which, if not contained, is extremely dangerous – as static buildup from conveying tea leaves increases the risk of explosion. To minimize this risk, select an enclosed conveying system with dust containment features.

Abrasion – Tea in leaf form is somewhat abrasive and can lead to higher rates of wear and tear, so selecting a conveyor that will stand up to the job and from a manufacturer that can quickly deliver spare parts will be important.

Fast Turnaround During Flavor Changes – Lastly, manufacturers producing flavored teas, both in instant and leaves, may run multiple blends in a single day on the same equipment. Quick clean features of the conveyor to prevent residual flavor transfer between batches – while minimizing downtime – is key.

 

Flexible Screw Conveyors

Ideal for: Tea blends & flavored teas
A flexible screw conveyor is made up of one moving part – the spiral inside a tube. Because of this, the flexible screw conveyor is a very versatile and low cost conveyor. These conveyors are idea for conveying blends of tea or flavored teas.

Key Benefits

  • Fast cleaning and turnaround between flavored tea batches to prevent residual flavor transfer when running multiple blends in a day (via easy clean quick release flanges)
  • Maintained batch integrity (via constant remixing of the blend via the screw conveyor’s helical motion)

Aero mechanical Conveyors

Ideal for: Loose Leaf & instant 
The aero mechanical conveyor creates an airstream which moves the product up the tubes along with high-speed discs and a rope. This conveyor is a great choice for conveying both instant tea and loose leaf tea. Adding to its benefits, the aero mechanical conveyor runs quietly and with minimal energy requirements.

Key Benefits

  • Total tea dust containment (via airtight operation)
  • Reduced risk of explosion (caused by static build up of combustible tea dust)
  • Gentle handling of friable tea leaves (air pockets in airstream support with gentle conveying)

 

Cable Drag Conveyors

Ideal for: Loose Leaf & instant, where layout versatility is a requirement
Similar to the aero mechanical conveyor, a cable drag conveyor operates using evenly spaced discs connected by a rope. However, it drags the products along the cable and disc assembly gently at reduced speeds rather than moving it quickly via very fast moving airstream, vacuum or air blasts. Additionally, cable drag conveyors offer conveying in multiple planes and with multiple inlets and outlets while also operating at reduced clearances – for maximum layout versatility.

Key Benefits

  • Best choice for minimal product degradation of tea leaves due to extremely gentle handling (no vacuums, fast moving air blasts, belts or buckets that can potentially cause damage)
  • Total tea dust containment (via contamination free totally-enclosed system)

 

Need help evaluating the best conveyor and bulk material handling system solution for your tea application?

We can replicate your on site conditions in our professional test lab and, with our broad range of conveying equipment, help you determine the best conveyor for your tea product. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our engineers.

 

 

 

 

Low-bulk-density powders with small particle size, low to zero moisture content and low to no cohesiveness can become easily aerated during bulk bag filling leading to poor bulk bag densification. In addition to especially challenging lightweight powders, many other powders, pellets and granules’ material properties make them prone to aeration during filling and difficult to compact. In fact, reducing the amount of air that enters into the material during the filling process is one of the greatest technical challenges in bulk bag filling.

This article will:

  • define and discuss the relationship between aeration and densification
  • outline the challenges and risks that arise from aeration during the filling process
  • discuss bulk bag filling system solutions to increase bagged material density

What is aeration with respect to bulk bag filling and when is bulk bag densification critical?
Due to certain material characteristics such as particle size and shape, some products tend to trap air between particles resulting in reduced bulk density and stability of the material. This can be compounded by aeration during the bulk bag filling process which is the introduction of more air into a dry bulk material being filled in a bulk bag. A good indication of whether a material will benefit from densification during the bulk bag filling process is the difference between its tamped (density of the material once it has been compacted via vibration), and un-tamped bulk density. The use of a sophisticated densification system such as Spiroflow’s CTE Cone Table can result in significant deaeration of the filled bulk bags which has several benefits discussed below.

What happens to filled FIBC bulk bags that have not been deaerated / have poor densification?
When air is trapped or introduced in between powders and other solid particles during the bag filling process, the material can behave more like a liquid than a solid and be extremely unstable during transportation and storage. These bags will be unsafe to stack in storage and shipping, increasing shipping and storage costs, and can be prone to tip over onto an operator, creating a safety risk. Highly-densified, compact bags with flat tops, on the other hand, are safer and easier to handle, stack and store.

A bag filling process that results in aerated, poorly densified bags can result in trailers being shipped under max weight, significantly increasing transportation costs. In addition, if the same weight of material can be achieved in fewer or smaller bags there can be a significant saving in bag costs.

Air (oxygen) in the bag can also pose a health risk for the food and beverage industry – bacteria feeds on oxygen. More oxygen in a bulk bag means that the food product or ingredient will not last as long in storage. While densification can help reduce the amount of air (oxygen) in bulk bags, if this is also a critical factor you could also consider a nitrogen purging fillsystem, which fills the bag with nitrogen prior to and during filling and then seals the bags to minimize product exposure to oxygen.

Bulk Bag Densification Filling System Options

A safe and effective bulk bag filling process aims to deaerate material as close as possible to its tamped bulk density and remove the angle of repose formed by the peak of material when pouring a dry bulk solid for a safer, more stable, flat-top bag.

Vibratory Deaeration Deck / Platform / Table
Most bulk bag filling densification systems use some type of vibration technology on the bulk bag filling platform / table (on which the bag sits while it is is filled) in order to better compact and densify the product in the bag. A programmable vibratory deaeration deck can help to densify the material at timed intervals during the bulk bag filling process and minimizes filling cycle times while improving bag stability.

However, it is important to compare vibratory decks as they are not all designed the same and thus, do not deliver the same vibratory force or rate of densification.
The Spiroflow Cone Table Elite (CTE) High-Density Bulk Bag Filler’s patented cone table densification is ideal for powders, granules or pellets that have a significant difference between their tamped and untamped bulk density or are easily aerated during bag filling. The CTE filler’s unique coned densification table makes direct contact with the bag resulting in maximum vibration energy transfer. The cone shape directs product to the bottom corners of the bag to create a stable foundation and pushes up a column of product every time it comes into contact with the bag, removing the angle of repose. Its assembly consists of a truncated pyramid welded on a frame with two integral electro-mechanical vibrators.

The Spiroflow Cone Table Elite Process

  1. Build a stable base 

2. Transfer maximum energy 

3. Stretch the bulk bag

4. Removes the angles of repose 

Bag Stretch for Improved Bulk Bag Densification
When using the Spiroflow Cone Table Elite Bulk Bag Filler, a bulk bag still typically spends 50% of the filling cycle hanging from its loops which promotes stretching of the bag. As a bag stretches during filling, volumetric efficiency increases. A stretched and densified bulk bag will not slump and will hold more product. Additionally, due to the unique design of the Cone Table, bag stretching is also improved during the periods of densification.

In other densification methods, bulk bags are not hung by their loops during filling; the introduction of a vibratory filling deck or table means that the bag maintains contact / is sitting on the table through the cycle, preventing the bag from stretching.

Don’t Sacrifice Speed for Best-in-Class Bulk Bag Densification
When it comes to bulk bag densification, many traditional systems will result in a significantly slower fill cycle due to the time it takes the machine to allow material to settle and stabilize. Because of the unique design of the CTE filler, fill rates of more than 40 bags per hour can still be achieved on a semi-automated bag filling line.

No More Unsafe, Unstable Bags
When a bulk bag is properly stretched during filling and the material is deaerated with a flattened angle of repose for a flat bag top, the result is a very safe and stable bag. Learn more about how the cone table on our CTE Bulk Bag Filler can deaerate your material or fill out the contact form below with questions.

To continue to support our global customers, Spiroflow is pleased to announce that Frema Process will be representative agents in Denmark. Frema Process will be offering local support to customers backed by Spiroflow engineering and manufacturing.

Head of Export, Craig Suttle, coordinates with all our overseas agents to manage the project from enquiry to installation. Craig says, “Spiroflow is always keen to work with experienced partners and representatives. It’s clear from our discussions with Torben that he will only add to our expertise and ability to support our clients in Denmark.”

The foundation of  Frema Process is 30 years of experience in the design of agitators, mixers and pump systems. A global network has ensured collaboration with leading suppliers of agitators, mixers, pumps and process equipment. They offer solutions for all tasks within mixing, stirring and handling of liquids, gases, granules, powders and solids.

Spiroflow has a network of highly skilled representatives across the world. To view our interactive map and find your local representative please click here: https://www.spiroflow.com/about-us/locate-a-rep/

Furthermore, if you are interested in becoming a representative for Spiroflow please email craig.suttle@spiroflow.com

On April 1, 2021, Spiroflow Systems’ very own Chief Operating Officer, Don Mackrill, was invited to participate in Kansas State Bulk Solids Innovation Center’s latest educational course that will provide a comprehensive overview on dry bulk solids handling.

On March 23, 25, 30 and April 1, BSIC will host the Powder and Bulk Solids Academy: Overview of Bulk Solids Processing, Flow, and Air Filtration. These four, half- day classes will be conducted virtually, with a heavy emphasis on a practical understanding of how solid material properties are used to design reliable equipment and processes. The course is designed to pair lecture material with practical hands-on demonstrations of state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

Kansas State’s Bulk Solids Innovation Center partners with the industry’s leading industrial and strategic organizations, with more than three dozen key players offering direct and regular support in a variety of ways. Don Mackrill from Spiroflow Systems will be leading the discussion on “Comparison of Mechanical Conveying Methods” on the fourth and final day of the course.

Kansas State University’s Bulk Solids Innovation Center (BSIC) was created to support continuous improving technology and knowledge related to the powder and bulk solids industry. It is the only university-centered facility in North America to offer services such as material properties testing, product and equipment testing, research and development including consulting services, and educational classes all surrounding bulk solids materials.

Spiroflow is pleased to be supporting their partners at the Kansas State University, Bulk Solids Innovation Center during their upcoming training course “Powder and Bulk Solids Academy: Overview of Bulk Solids Processing, Flow and Air Filtration” starting on March 23rd.