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A solution for challenging powder handling requirements

23 May 2014

If you have a challenging powder handling requirement, Spiroflow may be able to offer a solution from its vast range of conveying, weighing, filling and discharging systems. Food Processing finds out more about the company and its capabilities.

Spiroflow has been working closely with the food processing sector since the mid 1970s, when it started life as a supplier of flexible screw conveyors. Today its product offerings have been significantly extended and the company has become a world leading manufacturer and supplier of equipment for handling dry bulk solids and ingredients in powder, granule, pellet, flake, bean and lump form whether in bulk quantities or as minor ingredients or additives.

At its factory in Clitheroe, Lancashire, 40 people are employed in the design, assembly, sales and service of the company’s product range.  A total of 65% of UK turnover is exported and the fast growing USA sister company, employing 45, has increased group turnover to  22 million euros.

Spiroflow aims to offer versatile solutions with long-working life in the most demanding environments. It fulfils this goal through the strict implementation of a set of leading design principles that sit behind all its developments. Systems are designed with a minimum of working parts for maximum reliability in operation. They are also designed to be simple to operate and easy to clean and maintain and of course are robustly constructed to ensure a long working life with minimum downtime. They must also offer dust-free handling and a hygienic solution.

The company believes that its success in the food sector can be attributed to its ability to design and customise equipment to meet the needs of individual customers, allowing them to operate in an ideal way.

Continuous product development
The company’s achievements stem from its continuous product development, allied to a thorough understanding of customers' process needs and objectives and its continuing commitment to quality, reliability and service. Spiroflow solutions – which include a well-proven and tested range of flexible screw conveyors, aero mechanical conveyors, tubular cable and chain drag conveyors, vacuum conveyors, bulk bag dischargers, bulk bag fillers, ingredients handling and weighing systems, together with a range of state-of-the-art control systems – are now in operation across the globe.
The company has further strengthened its product offering following the recent acquisition of Canadian bulk materials handling specialist Control & Metering, which has added a range of patented bulk bag filling and discharging products to its existing range.

Rob Hudson, managing director at Spiroflow, commented: “This latest acquisition brings significant benefits to Spiroflow and our customers. First of all we gained a full order book which we immediately began to fulfil so that customers experienced minimal disruption. We will also enjoy an expanded presence in Canada which will enable us to broaden our sales, engineering, manufacturing and services capabilities for our continually growing global customer base.”

Recent product launches from the company include an upgrade to its existing bulk bag filler range of weigh fillers for pallet handled bags. The new C1 bulk bag filler facilitates dust-free, accurate filling of up to 20 bulk bags per hour – making it suitable for low to medium volume.  Its base is directly mounted onto a load cell weigh platform and the required weight can be pre-set for automatic cut-off. The platform includes a vibration facility to ensure an even, accurate fill and effective compaction.

The new bag filler also features automatic height adjustment for different sized bags. An inflatable neck seal ensures a dust-free environment and minimises product waste. Filled bag removal process has been speeded up through the addition of a roller conveyor to complement the automatic bag loop release facility.

Spiroflow has also recently launched the Cone Table Elite (CTE). The CTE is filling technology designed to produce dense and safe bulk bags that are accurately weighed and stable when used with the most difficult ingredients, such as those found in the food industry. 
“Many millions of bulk bags, with a capacity from 500kg to 1500kg, are sold worldwide every year, making them one of the most convenient, cost-effective methods of packaging, storage and transport. Customers in the food sector use many bulk bags and require the best equipment to fill and discharge their often fragile or fine-particle products quickly and with the minimum of fuss,” said Hudson.

“The technical team at Spiroflow is constantly innovating, developing new solutions and adaptations in our test centre to meet customer demand for the next improvement or upgrade.”

Some of the challenges faced by the food sector when handling bulk solids are ensuring that delicate products remain undamaged and the threat of dust is controlled. Attention must also centre on the weight of product being moved, the safety of widely used bulk bags, the distances and direction the bulk solids have to travel and the risk of explosion by combustible powders. To overcome these challenges, Spiroflow has several forms of equipment, each with its own set of bulk handing assets.

A Spiroflow Flexible Screw Conveyor can be made to convey in any direction from horizontal to vertical as well as being routed around fixed obstacles. It allows for multiple discharge points and the material is constantly being re-mixed by the rotating auger feeder. A flexible screw conveyor probably provides the lowest cost of conveying dry bulk solids and ingredients.

The Aero Mechanical Conveyor from Spiroflow is capable of conveying high volumes of material at any angle without loss of efficiency.

A Spiroflow Cableflow Tubular Drag Conveyor can convey fragile bulk products such as cereals and coffee beans from single or multiple in-feed points to single or multiple discharge points over long distances with minimal damage.

Spiroflow Bulk Bag Dischargers are available in various forms, from simple, robust frames to those advanced models offering loss-in-weight discharge, total dust containment, liner clamping features, integral hoists and bag ‘massagers’ to aid flow of poor flowing products into downstream conveyors or other process equipment.

Behind all Spiroflow products is a dedicated design, manufacturing, testing and installation facility, backed up by a rapid spares and service network.


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