Eriez, a designer and manufacturer of separation technology, recently worked with Michigan-based Material Transfer & Storage (MTS) on a dry ice unloading/freezing system for the transport of COVID-19 vaccines. 

MTS custom designs and manufactures bulk bag filling, conditioning and discharging systems for dry powders and bulk solids. When they were called upon to design and build customized equipment that would dispense dry ice into temperature-controlled containers carrying vaccines, they produced a discharge system in just eight weeks. 

Eriez designed drawings and CAD models for its 65B electromagnetic feeder and delivered a custom-engineered solution to meet the demanding timeline for the project. The Eriez feeder was required to handle the sub-zero temperatures of dry ice to protect the vaccine and handle the specific capacity and proprietary requirements of this special application.

“Designing and building customized equipment this rapidly involves a level of knowledge and experience we are fortunate to have on our talented team,” says Scott Nyhof, MTS president. “It’s good to have suppliers like Eriez that we can trust.” 

When it came to vaccine distribution, MTS needed to maintain ice pellet size consistency, meter ice evenly to protect each vaccine and monitor ice discharged during packaging, all while automating the process. The integrated process includes a crusher, scale system, and customized feeder and controls required to report diagnostics to the vaccine manufacturer.  

“The customization includes an over-tray electromagnetic drive configuration for maximum clearance below the feeder tray and closed-loop control to maintain precise tray vibration under changing conditions,” said Rob Yandrick, Eriez product manager-vibratory/screening. “The Eriez two-mass feeder design provides excellent vibration isolation and helps ensure there is no interference with the ice weighing process.” 

According to Yandrick, electromagnetic feeders are ideal for packaging applications because they can be rapidly cycled on/off and feed material quickly, evenly and consistently. 

MTS also custom-built a system that also includes a customized touch-screen control panel to monitor system performance and send diagnostic reports back to the vaccine manufacturer.

About Eriez
Eriez is recognized as the world authority in separation technologies. The company’s magnetic separation, metal detection, fluid recycling, flotation, materials feeding, screening, conveying and controlling equipment have application in the process, metalworking, packaging, plastics, rubber, recycling, food, mining, aggregate, textile and power industries. Eriez manufactures and markets these products through 12 international subsidiaries located on six continents.