Automated Conveying and Grading System

Project Scope:

Develop and size a conveying/sifting system capable of unloading bulk bags of coarse granulated sugar at a customer-specified rate and grading the product into three mesh sizes for future process needs.

Engineered Solution:

  • Proper equipment sizing based on testing results utilizing the customer’s sample of material at the Prater test/toll lab.
  • Available space was considered to size the conveying system for proper transfer of material to the screener.
  • A vacuum conveying system was determined to be optimal for the dilute phase conveying under specified conditions.
  • For time-saving purposes and convenience of operation, an automated bulk bag unloading station with a manual dump option was selected. The handling operation was made to be simple with an integrated winch for lifting bulk bags to the desired platform height for unloading. This station was equipped with pneumatically operated massage paddles that agitate packed material and assist with flow out of the bulk bag. With the transfer of material exists dust and hazardous conditions associated with it. A dust collection system was installed on the unloading station to address safety concerns.
  • To prevent clogging of the line and improved flow, the material was preconditioned by passing it through a lump breaker to break down any large solidifications.
  • Prior to the material entering the conveying line, a magnet unit was integrated to ensure that no metal contamination in the product stream existed.
  • A Prater PAV series rotary airlock valve was used to feed the material into the conveying line at a proper feed rate. Machining of the Prater airlock valves is held to extremely high tolerances and assembled with small clearances to deliver maximum air sealing capability.
  • Once the product was discharged into the convey line, a properly sized fan transferred the material into a filter receiver. The receiving hopper was integrated with a dust collection system as well as an explosion mitigation system.
  • The product was then discharged into a vibratory screener through a Prater airlock valve, at which point the separation process took place. Three separate particle sizes were discharged and transferred by screw conveyors and then passed through magnet units before the final discharge to ensure that it is free of metal due to any contamination throughout the process.
  • The desired quantities were collected at the filling stations and determined by the integrated scale platform with weight indicators.
  • The local control panel provided the operators with all the system information needed to start, operate, troubleshoot, pause, and stop the system.
  • The main control panel was the junction for all the equipment connections, information received from the field, and signal inputs/outputs necessary for proper operation.