Drum Conditioning of Agglomerated/Solidified Product

3rd February 2021

Agglomerated/Solidified Product Trapped In Drum? Operators Hitting & Damaging ‘Downstream’ Equipment Due To Trapped Powder Lumps within Machinery/Pipework? 

Introducing the PalPharMassage

Introduction

All industries manufacturing products, whether final products are liquids (from dissolved solids) or solids, will often receive varying size & shaped drums with powder within. In worse-case scenarios, these drums can be on a ship for a number of weeks in transit to the end-user manufacturer, or perhaps then sitting on a warehouse shelf for a number of weeks after this. When the drum is then moved to satisfy a batch consignment the operator can de-lid the drum and be presented with agglomerated powder (lumps/clumps). In extreme cases, perhaps influenced by temperature and density the powder may settle and form the shape of the drum itself, creating a challenge in removing the product within. Often, the operator tasked with dispensing/decanting may pass on large clumps into the downstream process/receiving container which can result in downstream bottlenecks such as blockages, or clumps that have exceeded mills that are rated for a certain size.  

The other implication to problems such as blockages is that shift operators may then take it upon themselves to carry out remedial work….. this can be as crude as hitting a polished conical section/hopper/pipework, etc with a rubber mallet or other implement causing damage to expensive downstream equipment. In extreme cases resulting in the equipment being taken offline for repair resulting in loss of production and increased cost to the factory. 

Solution

Palamatics hygienic division ‘PalPharma’ has in its range of solutions what is often referred by our clients as a ‘delumper’, ‘crusher’, ‘drum conditioner’ or ‘drum massager’. We at Palamatic term it our ‘PalPharMassage’. It takes the concept of ‘squeezing’ a drum and expands it by adding many more variables (such as massaging heights, squeeze jaw width, drum turntable rotations, and many more described later) in order for the process to be repeatable, constant, and validated.

The process & client benefits are such that not only are we potentially reducing damage caused by operators but also speeding up downstream process such as sieving, milling, de-lumping, and on occasions reducing the need for other supplier expensive features, such as ultrasonics, to break down the material to more manageable sizes. Another important point is that if the massager can reduce a lump/clump to a more manageable size then potentially ‘lump breakers’ are not necessary…….. It is important to highlight that this may possibly remove the need for a lump breaker that adds to powder product ‘loss’ in the flow line (powder product contact surfaces where the powder is retained) and perhaps also remove the need to maintain or repair that piece of equipment as it has been rendered obsolete in the process.

As the PalPharMassage is mobile (as standard) it allows our clients to react swiftly to any process flow issue on-site and can be pushed/pulled by 1 operator and used by 1 operator. This standardised, proven & economical design allows for our clients to place the machine in any environment, whether that is a cleanroom or a warehouse, offering them full flexibility.

The PalPharMassage has been designed to cater to nearly all drum sizes, plastic & fibreboard alike. Kegs, bottles, and other containers can be handled too. The drums sit on a rotary table so after each cycle the drum can be rotated automatically, and the cycle repeated. An automatic horizontal mast that allows penetration depth of the adjustable jaws onto the drum can be adjusted with the touch of a button/screen to suit the material requirement. The PalPharMassage can be a simple mobile product conditioning solution or integrated into a turnkey fully contained drum discharge solution with PLC control. Whether it is our pneumatic or electric variant all main parameters can be altered using onboard touch screen control (electric) or via counters (pneumatic).

Adding additional flexibility to our clients is the ability to store up to 12 recipes (electric) complete with user access levels such as operator, maintenance & supervisor levels.

The machine is what you would expect from our PalPharma range of equipment: Utilising non-porous, non-shedding, non-reactive materials, thus minimising cross-contamination risk. However, whether you do not have a clean environment or perhaps other challenges such as an explosive atmosphere (ATEX/IECex etc) we have solutions for all industries & environments.

Other machinery in our range such as our PalPharmaVac vacuum lifter or our PalPharmaMove systems can move all manner of drums into and out of the massager and perhaps feed our PalPharmaHoist or PalPharmaTip for the next process step. Possibilities for our clients to be provided with a ‘suite’ of material handling systems removes the need for numerous FAT’s with varying OEMs and enables a full turnkey package of equipment with drastically reduced integration risk on the client's site.