Cocoa powder processing can get messy and slow down production. But that’s not the case at JB Cocoa. The Malaysia-based manufacturer of cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and cocoa mass installed a bulk bag discharger at its East Java, Indonesia, facility that has been able to create an efficient, dust-free cocoa powder line.
JB Cocoa uses the Flexicon BULK-OUT BFC-C-X bulk bag discharger to handle and store loose cocoa presscake before it is reduced to powder and packaged. To produce the presscake, the cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted, and winnowed to separate the cocoa nibs, which are treated to enhance flavor and color. The nibs are then ground into cocoa liquor, which is squeezed by a butter press to yield cocoa butter used in making chocolate. The remaining solids consist of crumbled cocoa presscakes. Before the presscakes are pulverized into cocoa powder, JB Cocoa puts them into storage. That’s when the bulk bag discharger comes in.
The discharger is configured with an electric hoist and trolley that ride on a cantilevered I-beam, allowing bulk bags to be loaded into the frame without the need for a forklift. The operator slips the bag straps into four Z-Clip strap holders of the bag lifting frame and uses a pendant to hoist the bag into the discharger frame. The Tele-Tube telescoping tube pneumatically raises the Spout-Lock clamp ring, allowing the operator to make a high-integrity sealed connection between the clean side of the bag spout and the clean side of the equipment.
With the bag spout secured, the operator pulls its drawstring, letting the presscakes discharge into the 8-cu-ft surge hopper. Releasing the telescoping tube’s air pressure allows the clamp ring to maintain a constant downward tension by gravity as the bag empties and elongates to promote material flow. Additional flow promotion is provided by Flow-Flexer bag activators that raise and lower opposite sides of the bag bottom to promote complete discharge through the bag spout. A rotary valve at the hopper outlet meters the presscakes into a pneumatic conveying line that moves them to a storage silo. From there, the presscakes are mixed and milled into six recipes of cocoa powder and packed into 55-lb bags.
Keeping dust at bay
The hopper’s top-mounted enclosure is vented to a side-mounted Bag-Vac dust collector that creates negative pressure within the sealed system to prevent displaced air and dust from escaping into the plant. The enclosure also serves to contain spillage that might otherwise escape through seams in the bag and folds in the spout. In addition, the enclosure is equipped with a hinged access door and folding bag shelf for manual dumping of underfilled sacks.
“The use of the Flexicon bulk bag discharger provides a safe and hygienic way to unload cocoa cake from the bulk bags,” says Redi Koerniawan of JB Cocoa. “It ensures efficient unloading with little to no dust released into the processing environment.”
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