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Thread: News from FLEXICON

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    News from FLEXICON


    Flooring specialists, MBT Degussa, have a well-earned reputation as world leaders in the manufacture of specialists compounds for the preparation and application of indoor, industrial flooring. Industry applications are endless (where there’s a floor – there’s MBT) and the finished products can be seen at airports, hospitals, theatres, factories, public arenas and so on. The “recipes” or compounds are almost as many and varied as the applications they are designed for, enabling countless grades and styles of finished surfaces that may be, just by example, chemically resistant or non-slip, shiny or matt, coloured or neutral, textured or smooth, and so on.

    These finished compounds are despatched from the Redditch based manufacturing facility, having been weighed and bagged into an assortment of bag sizes up to 25kgs. for practical handling on site while also conforming to the health and safety regulations. They are then delivered to professional applicators who mix, prepare and apply the floor finishes in-situ.

    A main element of every compound leaving the factory is a specialist type of sand of two grades, fine and medium, the performance characteristics of which include “free-flowing”. Ironically, this was a performance advantage they could well do without – or so they thought.

    The sand is delivered by tanker and ‘blown’ into two, 32 tonne silos sited adjacent to, but immediately outside the factory process area. The manually operated slide valves in each silo would then be opened (in reality they remain open permanently) to promote a controlled gravity flow of product into the throat of each of the two augers which then conveyed material 15 feet upwards through 60°, through the wall of the factory, to feed two, 2 tonne receiving hoppers on the mezzanine floor within the process area. But herein lay the difficulties. These ageing augers were solid shaft, fixed screw conveyors driven from the bottom by a 5.5kw geared drive assembly, thereby conveying material by pushing. Once the system was switched off or stopped via sensor signalling, the free-flowing sand ‘in flight’ would tumble to the bottom and compact bringing considerable pressure on the motors on start-up causing consequential burn-out occurring with unacceptable regularity.

    This revenue loss, downtime and frustration with regular plant renewal costs, alone amounting to some £5000 per annum, prompted MBT to call in bulk solids handling specialists Flexicon (Europe) Ltd. (Flexicon) to solve the problem. After due consultation Flexicon designed and installed a system comprising:

    • Two Model 1600 round spiral flexible screw conveyors each housed in a
    4.5m long tube with inlet adapters.
    • Two right angled 3.0kw geared drive assemblies with support mast.
    • Two Model 1600 Discharge Transition assemblies.
    • Two sliding baffle plates between silo and outlet
    • One control panel
    • Two high level sensors

    Although identical capacities, each silo, for no particular reason, had different sized outlets. Therefore two adapters – 150 mm and 250 mm - for the flexible screws were designed and fitted, each comprising a captive flange for alignment with the conveyor and a mounting flange for the silo outlet tube, supplied loose for site fitting.

    Essentially, the system replaced the old technology with new with one critical difference. The self-centring, flexible screws were driven from the top and therefore pulled, rather than pushed, material in transit and eliminated the risk of putting excessive pressure on the drives. In consequence this eliminated downtime, reduced costs and avoided plant renewal with no seals or bearings to change or motors to replace. More ground space has been gained through elimination of ground based drive units. In overall terms, this system is now regarded as “Maintenance Free”.

    The success of the installation has been unquestionable and has presented many other advantages, not least with regard to the handling of the remaining elements of the various compounds. The two receiving hopper stations on the mezzanine floor sit in line with many other stations. From each of these stations, including the two hopper stations, other elements of the various “recipes” are gravity fed from FIBCs to tote bins below. These in turn transfer the raw materials to a blender for mixing prior to weighing, bagging and despatch. The strategic intention is to eliminate each FIBC station by commissioning alternative hopper stations to receive material, in like manner to the sand process. Today, two screws. Tomorrow ten?. The only limitation is that imposed by suppliers unable to supply by tanker for silo transfer. In such circumstances, present FIBC procedure will prevail. Nevertheless, such an upgrade will:

    • minimise the need for a forklift truck operation which lifts and positions the FIBCs onto the mezzanine floor, freeing the operative for better reward.

    • free the overhead crane commitment of placing the same FIBCs onto the discharge stations on the mezzanine floor, permitting the more efficient execution of essential tasks for which the crane was originally intended.

    • minimise the disposal of pallets and empty FIBCs together with the related costs.

    As the 3 tonne/hr product volume for the process is predetermined no gain in output was expected or achieved. The brief to reduce costs, reduce downtime, generate more useable floor area and create a virtual maintenance free process facility, however, has been met absolutely with the prospect of greater economies of scale as the strategic plan is implemented.

    For more information on FLEXICON, please visit:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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