When Murcia, Spain-based Prosur decided to expand its plant, the company saw it as an opportunity to enhance the efficiency of its manufacturing process. The expansion prompted Prosur, a maker of powdered extracts from Mediterranean fruits and spices, to upgrade to bulk bag dischargers that have since helped the company double throughput and improve the precision of its operations.
Prosur expanded its plant to 151,000-sq ft from 2,000-sq ft. The expansion included installing seven Flexicon Bulk-Out BFH-C-X half-frame bulk bag dischargers to speed up the transport and packaging of its extracts. Prosur previously processed orders by transporting powders in 1,103-lb metal tote bins by pallet truck across the plant floor and then gravity feeding them through butterfly valves into the packaging machines. But the company could only process about 38.5 tons of product per day. With the new bulk bag dischargers in place, Prosur has doubled productivity by processing about 77 tons a day and tripling its packaging capacity, according to Francisco Hernández González, head of the production department and production engineer for Prosur.
“Most of our production is exported,” González says. “The bulk bag dischargers provide an efficient, automatic and simple way to transport the products from the blenders to the packaging machines in a really short time.”
Creating the right flow
In the new facility, the bulk bag dischargers are located on the top floor next to the mixers. After blending the powders, the mixers fill each bulk bag with 2,200 lb of product before the bags are loaded onto the bulk bag dischargers.
An electric hoist positioned over each discharger lifts the bag onto the half frame. The operator pulls the bag spout through the Power-Cincher flow control valve, where four elliptically contoured bars cinch the bag spout concentrically, enabling partially emptied bulk bags to be retied and removed dust free.
The Spout-Lock clamp ring creates a sealed connection between the clean side of the bag spout and the clean side of the Tele-Tube telescoping tube, which raises the clamp ring for connection to the bag spout and then lowers. The tube applies constant downward tension on the spout as the bag empties to promote flow and complete discharge of the product into the packaging machines located on the floor below. The bag spout interface devices contain dust.
The Flow-Flexer agitation devices on each discharger further promote the flow of material. At timed intervals, the Flow-Flexer bag activators raise and lower the bottom edges of the bulk bag, forcing product into the discharge spout. As the bag empties, the stroke of the activators increases, raising the bottom of the bag into a steep V shape to ensure total evacuation of the product.
In addition to doubling productivity, the new bulk bag discharger system has helped make the manufacturing process at Prosur more accurate. The dischargers automatically empty the powders through a sealed chute into the packaging machines. Through the plant’s central control system, high- and low-level sensors in the packaging machine hoppers send signals to open and close the Power-Cincher flow control valves to accurately fill the hoppers.
The bulk bag discharger system is also flexible enough to accommodate large and small orders. Prosur dedicates three bulk bag dischargers specifically for packaging large quantity orders, which require few product changeovers. The remaining four dischargers fill small batches that require frequent changeovers.
Prosur is pleased with how the Flexicon bulk bag discharger system has improved productivity, accuracy and efficiency. “The bulk bag dischargers fulfilled our expectations,” González says. “Compared to previous methods of handling, the dischargers allow us to process the same quantity of product in half the time.”