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A Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger is a key component in a system that packs deliquescent material into pouches that absorb moisture and prevent deterioration of American ‘dream machine’ motorcycles.

Shipping motorcycles internationally, and sometimes long distances within the US, has proved challenging for one of the world’s largest motorcycle producers.

For overseas shipments to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and other parts of the world, the motorcycles are strapped to an aluminium pallet, poly-bagged and placed in cartons for shipment that, at times, takes up to eight weeks and sometimes even longer.

The problem was that moisture in the air caused rust spots, mildew or mould to form on the motorcycles, which resulted in many hours of repair work by the receiving dealership, before delivery to the customer.

To solve the problem, the motorcycle manufacturer approached a custom designer and manufacturer of moisture absorbing pouches.

These pouches contain a granular mineral clay (Montmorillonite Clay Mineral).

This manufacturer provides moisture-absorbing solutions for keeping compressed air, hydraulic oil and shipment spaces moisture free.

The mineral clay is delivered in 1,000kg Big Bags and has to be repackaged in 1.5kg and 2kg pouches.

To accomplish this, the manufacturer contacted Gough Econ of Charlotte, North Carolina, a specialist supplier of bucket elevators, belt conveyors and vibratory feeders.

Charlotte, North Carolina is also home to Spiroflow Systems, the US operation of Spiroflow.

The challenge was to design and install a gentle material handling system that can handle the very fragile granular mineral clay and deliver it to a special pouch making machine, and to install it into a confined space within the factory.

The system began operating in August 2007.

To cater for the 1,000kg Big Bags and to assure a gentle material handling system for ‘kid glove’ care of the mineral clay, the system includes a self-contained Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger, a vibrating tray feeder and a Gough Z-shaped Swinglink bucket elevator.

The Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger has an integral hoist.

This means that the pallet mounted 1,000kg bags can be brought to the discharger on a pallet truck and there is no need for a forklift truck to lift the bag into position.

A sole operator lifts the bags into the discharger using a bag rigging frame, onto which the loops of the bag are properly secured.

This frame is then raised by the hoist.

The hoist runs along a load-tested integral ‘I’ lifting beam, enabling the raised bag to be traversed into position above the collection hopper.

The collection hopper has an interlocked access door with viewing port to assure dust tight operation.

The door is amply sized to enable the operator to untie and retie the bag sprout and liner as needed.

The discharger is furnished with bag tensioning supports that compensate for the weight of the bag.

As the bag empties, it is stretched to ensure total and gentle discharge of the granules into the collection hopper.

The bag support dish around the top of the collection hopper houses massagers.

These are operated manually in the event of material, that has become compacted during transportation or storage, being unwilling to discharge from the bag.

The Spiroflow Big Bag Discharger connects to an enclosed, electromagnetic, 1.3m-long vibratory metering feeder.

From the conveyor, the granules are discharged on to a Gough Econ S Series Swinglink bucket elevator.

The buckets also overlapped to ensure there is no product spillage.

The smooth bucket surface also eliminates any product trap areas.

The Swinglink system discharges the clay granules through a hopper to the specially-designed polyester pouch making machine.

The pouch manufacturer confirms that the Big Bag Discharger and the transfer system operate flawlessly.

The motorcycle manufacturer is also very pleased with the end product as very little moisture now forms during shipment and the motorcycles arrive at their overseas destinations in excellent condition.

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