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Flexicon has provided a material transfer solution for Fillcare that has enabled the manufacturer to reduce production downtime caused by blockages.

Fillcare is a subsidiary of Fareva, a company that formulates, produces and fills cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and home care products.

The Fillcare production centre is based in Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan, and specialises in shampoos, hair conditioners and skincare products.

Recently the facility invested in a pneumatic, vacuum, bulk materials transfer system to move raw materials from bulk bags into the manufacturing vessel.

This allowed it to scale up from 25kg bags to bulk bags with all the benefits of improved manual handling and productivity.

However, one particular fatty alcohol in the form of wax flakes, which was common to most formulations, presented troublesome flow characteristics as well as compacting problems.

The non-free-flowing wax flakes, with an angle of repose of 60-deg and above, were inclined to degrade, pack, cake or smear, and even bridge and cavitate as well as solidify.

These characteristics rendered the flow-activation devices designed into the materials-handling system less effective and presented major problems, sufficient to stop production regularly while blockages were cleared.

The material transfer problem was resolved when Fillcare consulted Flexicon (Europe), which had recently designed and commissioned a dedicated bulk bag conditioner to add to its portfolio of equipment accessories and was intended to sit upstream of the third party’s bulk transfer system.

The conditioner’s two hydraulic rams with specially-contoured end plates press opposing sides of bulk bags to loosen bulk, solid material that has solidified during storage and shipment, enabling bulk bag unloaders to discharge such material through bag spouts.

It is intended for bulk bags containing classic materials prone to solidifying to the point at which pneumatically-actuated flow promotion accessories, integral to bulk bag dischargers, are inefficient or completely ineffective.

An optional, hydraulically-actuated, variable-height turntable allows in-frame bag rotation and conditioning of bulk bags at varying heights.

The number and pressure of hydraulic ram actuations, the height of the turntable and the number of 90-deg rotations are user-adjustable.

The system controller and hydraulic pump can be mounted on the exterior of the safety cage or remotely.

The conditioner is fully enclosed on all four sides for operator safety and includes full-height doors that are interlocked to prevent operation of the system when the doors are open.

Available as a stand alone unit as supplied to Fillcare, the conditioner can also be an integral component of a bulk bag discharger.

It can accommodate bulk bags of all popular sizes and requires only an electrical power connection for operation.

Flexicon Corporation is a world leader in the design and manufacture of bulk handling equipment and custom-engineered and integrated plant-wide systems that transport, discharge, fill, weigh, blend, deliver and/or feed a broad range of powder and bulk solid materials. Flexicon products range from individual equipment to automated systems that source bulk material from interior and exterior plant locations, transport it between process equipment and storage vessels, weigh it, blend it, feed it to packaging lines, extruders, molding machines and storage vessels, and load it into rail cars and trailers.

An international organization with administrative, engineering and manufacturing capabilities on four continents, Flexicon has an extensive worldwide network of applications engineers, authorized representatives and field support technicians to serve you – a unique consolidation of bulk handling specialists with hundreds of years of combined experience. Flexicon (Europe) Limited, headquartered in Herne Bay, Kent, UK, serves customers in the United Kingdom and Europe.

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