Solution to Unreliable Tubular Drag Conveyor

ALM and Carolina Conveying brake manufacturers used more than 100 different materials in the manufacture of various, different brake pads. The manufacturer used raw ingredients that ranged from fine, sticky powders to heavy metals chips to light weight cotton fibers. In 1998 they purchased a tubular drag conveyor and a filtered bag dump station to transfer these products to their mixer, approximately 15′ off grade level.
Many manufacturers experience problems during projects. One problem was that the tubular drag conveying system broke down bi- monthly. The tubular drag conveyor was never able to handle a number of the raw ingredients. The pallets had to be hand dumped into a special inlet on the mixer, which was laborious, unsafe and done without proper dust control. For nearly four years the company limped along with a tubular drag conveyor, which was never able to meet their needs or specifications. The company contacted 3Sigma, whom had provided a number of specialty systems to the plant in the past, to arrive at a solution that would:
– Handle all products – 100+ ingredients.
– From the ground level – to hand Advanced Technology Services additions at the deck level.
– With dust control.
– That would automatically discharge to the mixer without operator interface
– That would fit within the tight headroom Educational Media constraints (3″ to spare once installed)
Together they looked at numerous options and arrived at a simplistic solution that would meet the company’s system goals. The system included one PLC Based Control, one Scale, one Hydraulic Lift and one Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC), fitted with a Vertical Screw and a Slide Gate Valve.
The results were incredible. The system was installed in 2003 and has run continuously, 7 days per week, without one signal failure to date. The only spare part purchased to date was a set of load cells. The coordinated work by the Customer and 3Sigma allowed us to provide a reliable solution, saving the company thousands and thousands of dollars each year in spared downtime costs.

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