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Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Efficiency: Spiroflow’s Successful Bagging Solution for Columbia River Carbonates


Columbia River Carbonates (CRC) was established in 1985 as a supplier of high-grade, ultra-fine ground calcium carbonate throughout the Northwestern United States, Western Canada, and the Pacific Rim. The mineral producer needed to deliver a quick turnaround order of 13,000 tons of powdered gypsum packaged in 3000 lb. super bags. Within an 11-month timeline, they would need to develop, test and operationalize a new bagging system that could fill 8 to 10 bags per hour.

Customer Requirements

Project deadline: Given the tight timeline, Columbia River Carbonates needed a solutions provider that had the expertise and capacity to quickly help to get a material handling system designed, ordered, installed and tested. CRC’s previous solutions providers couldn’t complete the project or order the equipment they needed within the timeline.

Dust Control: Powdered gypsum generates substantial dust, so designing a system to minimize dusting and product loss was essential.

Reliability: The quick-turn nature of the campaign and the sheer volume of products that needed to be handled required a reliable system that could be installed and commissioned with few headaches. Columbia River Carbonates required a solutions provider that supported the entire process and would be there to help them through the whole commissioning process.

Field of Study

This case required Spiroflow to work closely with CRC from system design to installation and commissioning. The system Spiroflow designed with Columbia River Carbonates was commissioned within six months, beating the original deadline. The successful project was completed on time and within budget, supporting an increased volume of 6,800 tons of product bagged.

Spiroflow’s Solution

Given the time constraint and project requirements, Spiroflow got creative with identifying a solution that would help Columbia River Carbonates complete its order on time. Spiroflow’s engineering team started with the Cone-Table Elite (CTE) bulk bag filler, which features direct bag densification technology and reduces margins of error to within 1-2 lbs. of product-filled weight. The CTE bulk bagging system included an Automated Bag Removal (ABR) shuttle with an integral powered roller conveyor connected to two five-foot-long powered conveyors that automatically moved the bags away from the filler. Spiroflow also integrated a motor control panel and PLC panel, allowing CRC to manage the system with less operator assistance.

The highly accurate CTE bag filling solution prioritizes the uniformity and efficiency of filling, requiring fewer bags per volume, the ability to safely stack the bags (up to two bags high) and reduced shipping and storage costs.

Columbia River Carbonates was able to fill the increased order size while keeping the original timeline for the initial order, in the end filling 13,200 bags or 19,800 tons of powdered gypsum.

The solution increased efficiency and required less manual labor, meaning the entire process could be completed with only a one or 1.5-man operation. At the end of the initial order, Columbia River Carbonates was able to complete an additional order of 2,500 tons of product or an additional 1,666 bags. They are already working with Spiroflow to implement further improvements for 2023 and 2024 to increase their production efficiencies.