Bulk bags, also known as big bags or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs) are large, woven polypropylene bags designed to carry loose bulk goods for commercial purposes. Some examples of loose bulk goods include coffee, gypsum, flour, and even powdered chemicals. Transportation of bulk bags can be accomplished with a variety of tools, including integrated lift loops or placing them on pallets. Bulk bags typically can carry between 500-2,500 kilograms of materials and require specialized equipment to load and unload. There are two types of bulk bag stations: Filling and Discharge. Most lines that work with bulk bags will need both a bulk bag station for filling and for unloading.
Bulk Bag Filling Stations
Bulk bag filling stations are bulk bag stations that support a bulk bag while it is loaded, and allow for the bulk goods to be poured in with minimal loss of product. There is a range of available bulk bag filling stations, with the most basic consisting of only a support framework and a fill head. These stations work well for simple tasks, but many operations may require more advanced equipment.
A standard model consists of an adjustable height framework, a filling head with an inflatable seal to protect from dust, a support platform for the bottom of the bag, a vibrator motor to ensure even loading, and bag support arms.
The lifting loops included in the bag itself are hung from the support arms and the frame is adjusted to help the bag keep its shape and remain open during filling. The bulk bag station’s inlet is inserted into the feed tube outlet, and the inflatable seal prevents any dust from escaping the product during this process.
To aid in this process, most filling heads include a dust extraction spigot to pull out displaced air from the bulk bag as it is being filled. Product is loaded via the filling head while the machine vibrates to assist in de-aerating the product for maximum bag capacity.
Bulk Bag Discharge Stations
In order to remove product from bulk bags in a safe and sanitary manner, another type of bulk bag station must be used. A bulk bag unloading station (also called a bulk bag discharge station) is a bulk bag station employed for removing materials from a bulk bag. Top-quality bulk bag discharger stations, such as those offered by Carolina Conveying, offer several important features specific to this task.
Any bulk bag discharge station should include a platform support, bag lifting mechanism, flow aids, and a downstream interface. The bag is loaded onto the frame and its bottom access is attached to the downstream interface. Then, extraction aids which can include pneumatic paddles and loosening aids are engaged mechanically or manually to free up product that made have become packed in transit. The operator controls the outflow from the bag.
According to OSHA regulations, it is vital that an operator never be positioned under an unsupported bulk bag. Full-platform support dishes in any bulk bag station is vital to operator safety.
One key factor to consider in a bulk bag station for unloading is dust control. Stations that have platform support have an advantage in this regard: As the bag rests on the platform, it seals itself off from its own weight.
An access module below the dish with a feed tube and clamp is also a key feature, as it allows dust-tight transfer of product from the bag outlet spout. Finally, features such as a pneumatic pinch bar module can help the operator better control flow and prevent spills or leaks.
In summary, bulk bag stations are specialized equipment specifically designed for industrial loading and unloading applications. Premium, high-quality equipment is required in order to maintain safe and sanitary conditions for both workers and customers.
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