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Automated Bulk Bag Unloading System

This project started at Rheo’s testing center in Peoria to develop a proven design; mocked up and tested with a number of client’s powders. Based on the testing results, Rheo designed and built an integrated system for transferring a variety of materials from bulk bags into process vessels through an in-floor charge chute. This turn-key system featured a Jib Crane, a Docking Station for Dosing, an In-floor Chute, and an Integrated Control System.

The Jib Crane provides a fast and simple docking process controlled by the system’s HMI and PLC. The control system prompts the operator with a few steps and automatically lifts and positions the bulk bags into the docking station. The single Jib Crane positions the bulk bag above the docking station that the PLC has received from the DCS (distributed control system). The hanger also incorporates a tension load cell used during the transfer process.

The key technology of the Docking Station is the SoliValveĀ® 250; a split cone valve that allows for automated bulk bag discharge, contained transfer, and high accuracy dosing. The SoliValveĀ® allows the transfer system to achieve containment levels of less than 100ug/m3 and dosing accuracy of +/- 500g. The SoliValveĀ® is set on load cells to collect the amount of materials transferred, in conjunction with the LIW hanger, this information is sent to the system PLC.

The In-floor Chute allows the powders to gravity feed to the process vessels; introducing the powders to the process quickly and effectively.

The entire transfer process is managed by the latest controls, instrumentation, and HMI to enable optimized operational sequencing while minimizing operator input. This allows for increased productivity and process control. It also controls the clean-in-place sequence and ensures all product contact area are fully cleaned by several spray devices.

The extensive testing of mechanical and control components was key in establishing all the key stakeholder’s confidence of this system’s performance and successful installation.