Flexicon, Bethlehem, Pa., developed a new BULK-OUT bulk bag discharging station to prevent cross-contamination during material changeovers, while eliminating downtime associated with cleaning of hoppers.

Beneficial for applications involving food allergens, pigments, flavorings and other contamination-sensitive materials, this discharger features an in-use shuttle system to be exchanged for a clean, dry hopper in less than one minute. 

Each hopper is equipped with a stainless-steel rotary valve that meters material into process equipment positioned below the mezzanine. Once empty, a hopper rolls within two C-channels to either side of the central filling position for sanitizing offline. Integral support rails on the rotary valve allow the rotor assembly to separate from the valve body for cleaning of all material contact surfaces, and to close securely in seconds without the use of tools.      

The discharger portion of the dust-tight system employs a SPOUT-LOCK clamp ring that secures the clean side of the bag spout against the clean side of the discharger.

A TELE-TUBE telescoping tube promotes material flow through the bag spout by maintaining constant downward tension on the clamp ring as the bag empties and elongates.

Two FLOW-FLEXER pneumatically actuated devices employ a pair of rams that press opposing sides of the bag in increasing strokes as the bag decreases in width, and another that uses specially contoured plates that increasingly raise opposing bottom sides of the bag into a steep "V" shape as the bag lightens, promoting complete discharge.

Positioned above the clamp ring is a POWER-CINCHER pneumatically actuated flow control valve that cinches the spout concentrically, allowing gradual release of material after untying the drawstring and re-cinching of partially empty bags for leak-free tie-offs.

To operate, the bag loops are connected to Z-CLIP bag strap holders on the unit's lifting frame at floor level, and the bag is raised into position using a pendant.

Flexicon Corp.