Powder and Bulk Engineering


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44 / March 2020 powderbulk.com Test Center | Testing leads to custom-engineered material flow equipment PBE A snack food manufacturer visits test center to help select new feed bin and feeder. H ain Celestial Group, a food and personal product man- ufacturer based in Lake Success, NY, creates a wide range of products across its 30 plants worldwide. At one of the facili- ties, the company manufactures a vegetable-based snack food and was encountering a variety of flow issues during the production process. To create the snack food, Hain blends raw ingredients together to create a base material that's moved into a feed bin. The blended mate- rial is fried and then seasoned with ingredients that are fed from separate bins. "Our old feed bin wouldn't allow one base material to flow reliably," says Jeffrey Bailor, technology man- ager for Hain. "The material would bridge terribly, and operators would have to intervene with rods and hammers to get the material to flow. Additionally, because of the oper- ator intervention, we had a lot of material breakage." Trying out equipment To figure out a solution to the flow issues, the company brought its base material, as well as two new seasonings that Hain hadn't worked with before, to Thayer Scale's Mate- rial Test Center. Thayer Scale, Pem- broke, MA, is a supplier and manu- facturer of bulk solids flow control and feeding equipment. The supplier has an 1,800- square- foot test center that was overhauled in 2019. The facility features volumetric screw feeders, loss-in-weight screw feeders, loss- in-weight vibratory feeders, weigh- belt feeders, large-volume supply hoppers, an outdoor conveyor belt with belt scales, and other equip- ment. All of the equipment can be rearranged and modified to create a suitable test environment to match the customer's application. At the test center, Hain was searching for a solution to the bridg- ing problem for its base material. "The base material shingled and bridged terribly in our existing supply hopper," Bailor says. "The shingling occurred because the base material was flat and layered on top of each other, preventing consistent flow." The company also needed to find a new seasoning feeder. Hain was looking for a single unit that had enough flexibility to feed mul- tiple seasonings with different flowability properties at a wide range of throughput. The old sea- soning feeders weren't capable of achieving the low and high feed- rates that were required by the two new test seasonings. Finding a proven solution For the two new materials that were tested, Hain wanted to eval- uate a feeder with a wide flowrate range. Testing showed that one material had a feedrate of 1 lb/hr while another material's feedrate exceeded 200 lb/hr. "We sent our materials to the test center prior to arriving. When we arrived, the equipment was set up and ready to run. We defined the test criteria and watched our own mate- rial run on the equipment," Bailor says. "It was a very efficient visit, and we left feeling confident that the new equipment would meet our needs." At the test center, Hain was able to monitor testing of an MSF volu- metric screw feeder, which proved it could handle the challenges pre- sented by the two new materials. In testing, the feeder demonstrated a

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