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Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger – A Gem of a Job!

A variety of bulk bag sizes handled by bulk bag discharger

Let’s delve into the innovative world of bulk material handling and focus on the crucial role of the big bag discharger. This technology has revolutionized the way companies like Gem Pack Foods manage and process large quantities of ingredients efficiently.

The Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger at Gem Pack Foods

Dublin, Ireland-based Gem Pack Foods are pleased with the performance of the ‘Spiroflow’ Big Bag (FIBC) Discharger supplied to them through our Irish representative Powder Process Systems. Their ‘Fawema’ packing machine has two feed points – one requires the product to be delivered at a metered feed rate, and the other has its auger to regulate the flow from a mass transfer system. Only one feed point can be in operation at any time.

Ensuring Consistent Product Flow

In either case, the product supply to the packing head needs to be de-aerated within predetermined tolerances and have constant flowability. To deliver the products to the packer in the condition required, our suggested solution was a big bag discharger connected to either one of our Flexible Screw Conveyors (which delivers product at a metered rate) or to a Vacuum Conveyor (which is a mass transfer system). Each of these conveyor technologies is mobile, so the change-over between the two is a quick and easy operation. In the words of the Engineering Manager at Gem Pack Foods, ‘It’s a good piece of kit!’

A man pouring flour

Gem Pack Foods Ltd – A Blend of Contract Packing and Proprietary Products

Gem Pack Foods Ltd is both a Contract Packer and provider of an extensive range of ‘Gem’ and ‘Gem Gourmet’ brand products – many of which are unique blends under their own brands, but a lot of which are just bulk supplies repackaged. Several essential components include rice, corn flour, and sugar in a variety of forms, from granular to fine icing grades.

Embracing Bulk Supplies for Efficiency and Growth

Gem Pack Foods chose to make use of all the well-established advantages of bulk supply by having these essential ingredients delivered in 1-tonne Big Bags (FIBCs) as opposed to 25 kg packets in order to keep up with the rapid surge in demand. Having dealt with Powder Process Systems previously, they were Gem Pack Foods’ natural ‘port of call.’ Powder Process Systems helped to investigate how best to discharge this variety of products from Big Bags and to deliver each of them in the proper state to the packaging machine’s designated feed point.

Spiroflow's bulk bagging solution

High-Volume Discharging and Diverse Packaging

Gem Pack Foods is discharging something in the order of 350 tonnes of sugar a week, plus all the rice and corn flour they use too. These products, and mixtures thereof – together with other ingredients, are packed into a variety of packages ranging from 3 kg in box bags down to single portion sachets. Much of their production is delivered to wholesalers and large supermarket chains, with the remainder going for export.

Addressing Complex Challenges

As Pat Leamy, Managing Director of Powder Process Systems, confirms, “The challenge of this job was not the discharge of the products in question. For the ‘Spiroflow’ big bag discharger complete with integral ‘base massagers’ and ‘bag tensioning support arms’, this is a ‘walk in the park.’ However, delivering the variety of sugars and other bulk ingredients to the packing machine in the condition specified was a different story. 

Ultimately, in collaboration with Spiroflow — who maintained direct communication with the packaging machine manufacturer — we determined that two distinct approaches were required to get discharged items to the proper feed point on the packaging machine. The customer accepted our proposal, and the system works to his entire satisfaction”.

Integrating the Big Bag Discharger with Vacuum Conveying

General view of the big bag discharger with the Vacuum Conveying system connected. The ‘Spiroflow’ Bulk Bag Discharger is sited on a mezzanine floor within the main packing hall, and, as a result, big bags are delivered to it by way of a pallet rather than a forklift truck. The discharger is equipped with a dedicated lifting beam and a traveling hoist. This setup allows for the effortless positioning of full bags into the discharger. However, this step is only performed after ensuring that either the Flexible Screw Conveyor or vacuum belt conveyor system is properly positioned below the discharger.

Additionally, the discharger’s umbilical cord must be connected to the electrical control panel before proceeding. The loops of each bag are attached to a lifting frame that ensures the bag is lifted squarely into place. Once in place, bags sit on a substantial support dish whilst being stretched vertically by the compression springs within the side arms that support the lifting frame used to raise the bag.

Properly and unproperly filled bulk bags

Advanced Discharge Mechanism – Ensuring Efficiency and Cleanliness in Big Bag Handling

The support dish houses the ‘base massagers’ that can be operated manually in the event of the product being reluctant to discharge from a compacted or otherwise difficult bag. The aperture in the support dish, through which the outlet spout of the bag passes, is surrounded by an elastic membrane that makes a seal with the base of the bag – even when the massagers are in operation.

Below the support dish, a containment cabinet houses a spigot which leads directly to the inlet of whichever conveyor belt system is in position below. The neck of the big bag can be sealed to this spigot before the liner of the bag is untied. This ensures the dust-free transfer of the product into the conveyor and no contamination of the product from the outside of the bag or the operator.

Dual Conveyor Systems – Tailoring Product Delivery for Precision Packing

The hopper that feeds the Flexible Screw Conveyor is complete with an agitator to ensure a consistent flow of product into the screw and hence into the packing machine. These conveyor belt solutions are 3 meters long and raise the product about a meter into a check sieve directly above one of the inlets of the packing machine. The vacuum system collection hopper needs no agitator. The conveying distance is 6 meters and raises the product to a height of 3 meters into the collection cyclone and then on into the packer by way of a rotary valve.

Contact Our Conveyor Systems Manufacturers to Elevate Your Operations

Ready to elevate your material handling processes? Discover how Spiroflow’s cutting-edge solutions, including our advanced flexible screw conveyor and other industrial conveyor systems, can transform your operation’s efficiency and precision. Contact us today to take the first step toward a more streamlined and productive future with our conveyor belt systems!