Producers are trapped. QC departments are increasingly creating special mix designs calling for exotic supplementary bulk materials, such as cements and pigments. Unfortunately, these high-profile jobs are often not large enough to justify a major plant expansion to handle these additional materials without adding plant labor.

But producers can find solutions to the problem of incorporating small bulk quantities into their fast-paced batching operations. In the last few years, there have been significant gains in affordability of small bulk handling technology developed for the plastics and food processing industries.

The systems are designed to help efficiently and accurately batch special mixes. There are systems for all container-type drums, flexible bags, and paper bags. All of these systems feature a small footprint, but can still easily meet the production rates demanded by most operations.

These turnkey systems have other features. Most come equipped with process controllers that are easily connected to most batching systems. They are easy to install and remove, and they generate less dust and less waste than the traditional breaking of paper bags. They also have features that aid in productivity, such as gathering arms or vibration devices to keep the material flowing freely.

For more information on these systems, circle the appropriate number on the reader service card.

Compact bag dumping stations

Airlanco's bag dump stations are compact, self-contained units built to eliminate the labor, waste, and potential health hazards associated with dumping bagged materials. Each stainless steel station consists of a collection hopper topped by a bar grate and hinged door, an integral pulse jet filtration unit equipped with polyester cartridge filters, and a 2-hp, 865-cfm fan. When the hopper's door is opened, the fan automatically starts to ensure that any dust is drawn through the filter. Airlanco. 800-500-9777.

Heavy-duty dumping station

The MTU-4000 bag unloader features a two-ton hoist. Its crucifix-style bag transport frame requires no orientation to unload the bag. Other features include a hinged door where the operator can untie the bag discharge spout with the weight of the bag fully supported, and a dust takeaway port for operator safety. Bulk Equipment Systems Technology Inc. 800-827-9237.