Solutech Ltd of Winsford, Cheshire are well pleased with the performance of their ‘Spiroflow’ mobile Bulk Bag Discharger with its integral Flexible Screw Conveyor. Founded only 11 years ago by two entrepreneurs, Solutech is a small company offering a big service. They claim to be the UK’s only independent specialist food grade liquid blending contractor, currently despatching around 12,000 tonnes of blended liquids a year. Their customers, at home and abroad, include some of the best known, blue chip names in the food and beverage industry. They also provide liquid blends to some big name pharmaceutical companies too. Needless to say, they have fought hard to carve their niche in the market and to achieve the success they enjoy today. So, when it comes to the choice of new equipment, they look long and hard to ensure they are making a wise investment.
Four years ago, whilst at their previous premises, they purchased a ‘Spiroflow’ Flexible Screw Conveyor in anticipation of a major sugar blending contract. However, at the last minute, the contract did not materialise. As Production Director, Alan Kidd, reflects, “We brought the ‘Spiroflow’ conveyor with us to this new factory in June 2002 still protected by the bubble-wrap in which it was delivered!”. Their luck changed last year when they won a large contract for several 15 tonne batches of sugar related blends a week. The ‘mothballed’ conveyor was the obvious choice to load one of the sugar elements of the blend into their cavernous heated mixer/dissolver vessel. However, to suit the contract and the layout at their new factory, the Flexible Screw Conveyor was to be fed from Bulk Bags (FIBC’s) and the whole unit needed tobemounted on a mobile frame so that it could be moved and parked out of the way after use. To this end, Solutech approached Spiroflow for assistance in adapting the conveyor for its new task. As Bulk Bag (FIBC) Dischargers are one of our key products – and as many of our Flexible Screw Conveyors are supplied as mobile units – there was no difficulty for us to accommodate Solutech’s requirements.
The design of the ‘Spiroflow’ Bulk Bag Discharger is such that the sugar, readily discharges from the bulk bags. Even so, there is provision for bag massagers to be added at any time, should other, less readily flowing, products need to be discharged. Nevertheless, given that the inlet to the Flexible Screw Conveyor is a long narrow slot, a spiral agitator has been supplied within the collection hopper above the conveyor inlet to ensure a steady and reliable flow of product is delivered to the massive mixing vessel.
The Flexible Spiral Conveyor has a nominal diameter of 67 mm, is almost 6 metres long and delivers the sugar at 3 tonnes / hour.
Solutech work two shifts per day and the ‘Spiroflow’ conveyor operates for 5 to 6 hours each shift, 5 days a week.As the blending vessel is full of water at 75 degrees Celsius, vapour rises during the steady loading of the sugar. At an early stage, when production of the new contract first started, it was recognised that this vapour would cause an undesirable build up of sugar at the outlet of the conveyor. To overcome this, and to avoid the problems that this could cause, we provided a low pressure blower which is mounted at the conveyor outlet by way of a quick release band clamp. This has prevented any build up since in was fitted in August last year and is easily removed when the time comes to clean the the conveyor.
Solutech’s portfolio includes the contract blending of acidity regulators, preservatives and 2 types of sugar based sweeteners. All of their output is in liquid form but, with the exception of the water with which they are mixed, all of their other ingredients are dry bulk solids. Of these, around 60 % is delivered in bulk bags (FIBC’s) and the remainder in 25 kg bags. Everything Solutech do is carried out under ISO 9001-2000 accredited procedures, they operate under HACCP regulations and are half-way to achieving BRC recognition. High standards of hygiene are paramount and the steam cleaning of all tanks is a regular occurrence.
Every 2 weeks the ‘Spiroflow ‘conveyor is washed through with water and dried. The operatives who handle the cleaning confirm that it is an easy conveyor to clean. In conclusion Alan Kidd confirms, “We are pleased with the Spiroflow discharger and conveyor. They perform very well”.
We at Spiroflow are pioneers in the design and manufacture of Flexible Screw Conveyors. We also offer Aero-Mechanical Conveyors and in recent years have diversified to offer an extensive range of Bulk Bag (FIBC) Fillers and Dischargers too. We operate a comprehensive test and demonstration facility and actively encourages customers to witness trials on their products. Call us on +44 (0)1200 422525 to discuss your specific requirements. Solutec Ltd can be contacted on +44 (0)1606.