Just Trays Ltd. (Leeds, West Yorkshire), the U.K.’s leading manufacturer of acrylic resin-based shower pans, recently invested $1.6 million (USD) to improve its manufacturing processes. Major capital purchases included a new automated pan caster that will enable the company to double its annual capacity of low-profile shower pans, from 200,000 to more than 400,000 pans a year. But the new equipment requires that calcium carbonate and recycled glass-bead fillers be fed into the system from separate hoppers at the top of the machine. The limited ceiling height prevented the company from using its traditional overhead hoist to gravity-feed its fillers. Darren Rhodes, the operations director for Just Trays, says the new equipment required a better feed system. Spiroflow Ltd. (Clitheroe, Lancashire, U.K. and Monroe, N.C.) loaned the manufacturer two of its Model T5 Low Headroom Bulk Bag Dischargers and, based on the equipment’s performance, Just Trays decided to purchase the dischargers.
The T5 discharger’s upper section, which holds the bulk bag, can be lifted off the lower section and lowered to the ground with a forklift. A full bag can be loaded onto the upper section with a forklift, using the bag’s extended lifting loops, and then the upper section can be lifted by the forklift back onto the lower section and locked in place with a dust-tight docking seal. The two-part design means that the forklift mast need not rise above the top of the upper section as it is repositioned, a key feature that makes the T5 practical despite Just Trays’ minimal headroom. An access door in the lower section enables workers to untie the bags. The company offers an optional adjustable-outlet spout clamp, which strangles the bag neck to prevent spillage or emissions when bags of dusty materials are untied.
In addition, the installation includes two Spiroflow Flexible Screw Conveyors — a round spiral for conveying calcium carbonate and a flat spiral for the more fragile glass beads — to transport the material from the lower section to the caster. Bag massagers mechanically loosen the fillers in the bag to promote flow. Spring-loaded side tension arms raise the bulk bag as it empties, ensuring complete discharge while preventing the neck of the bag from sagging. Multiple bag frames are available for different bag styles. Says Rhodes, “This is much cleaner and more efficient than having to bump the bag up and down on a hoist as we did previously.”