C J Waterhouse were contracted to develop a bespoke materials handling system to provide automated intake, size reduction, transfer and bagging of Silica into FIBC’s. The system is to be used for specific product campaigns only and must therefore be mobile to permit removal from the main production line when not in use.
The resultant system comprises of a number of component machines mounted upon two mobile frameworks which together for an integrated turn-key system. When in position the machines interlock together to provide continuous operation but can be easily pulled apart and relocated for storage.

Machine One
In-Feed Conveyor
The in-feed conveyor comprises of a variable speed, metal belted, inclined conveyor which accepts a 3000mm wide stream of silica matting from the clients existing oven and delivers it into the top of the downstream nip roller system. The conveyor height and angle can be manually adjusted to ensure its close integration with the existing oven exit conveyor.

Nip Roller System
The nip roller arrangement is located at the top of the machine and comprises of a pair of counter-rotating rollers with integral horizontal fingers. The nip roller arrangement is located at the top of the machine and comprises of a pair of counter-rotating rollers with integral horizontal fingers. The nip rollers are powered via a single variable speed drive and the distance between them can be adjusted to suit the material thickness being processed.

Shear Roller & Transfer Conveyor System
The shear roller arrangement is located directly below the nip rollers and is designed to tear apart the continuous blanket of silica fibre into manageable pieces. The system comprises of a pair of counter-rotating rollers which incorporate intermeshing teeth. The rollers are have a Tungsten Carbide coating to increase lifespan and the spacing between them can be manually adjusted to suit material depth. The shear rollers are powered via independent variable speed drives to allow them to operate at different speeds to optimise shearing performance. The transfer conveyor resides below the shear roller system and comprises of a fully enclosed flighted belt conveyor which moves the chopped material to the downstream elevating conveyor.

Machine Two
Material Delivery & Bulk Bag Filling
The chopped material is fed from the transfer conveyor onto a inclined, flighted belt conveyor which elevates it to permit gravity discharge to the bulk bag filling stations. A horizontal belt conveyor is located centrally beneath the elevating conveyor outlet. This conveyor operates both in forwards and reverse to dose material to one of two bulk bag filling stations. The horizontal conveyor incorporates two pneumatically operated flap gates to close off the left or right discharge routes when not in use.
Material is dosed from the horizontal conveyor directly into bulk bags which are suspended from the FIBC filling station. Filling of the bulk bags is done automatically to the pre-specified bag weight. Upon completion of the weighment the horizontal conveyor switches direction and automated filling of the second bag commences.

Control
The control system is provided via Allen Bradley hardware which incorporates a Compact Logix PLC and door mounted Panel View HMI. This system provides automatic and manual operation of the machinery and interfaces with the plant wide control system to relate machine data and weight information to the plant SAP system.
As the machinery is mobile all connections are made via plug and socket interfaces with a permanent connection panel.

The system was completed late 2021 when material trials were conducted and has now been delivers to site for installation prior to the clients production run commencement at the end of January 2022.