Bag Tipping Stations
Bag tipping stations (also named bag dumping station, bag dumping platform...) are often an indispensable process step for manufacturers. Indeed, many ingredients are still delivered in 25 and 50 kg bags. Although the function appears very simple, there are many different design parameters to take into consideration in order to have an efficient tipping station. This page is detailing the key design aspects to be adressed by manufacturers and plant operators.
The capacity (= number of bags to be tipped / h) will be highly dependent on the workforce skills, strength and motivation, manipulating and tipping bags being a particularly demanding task. It will also be dependent on the surroundings of the platform, especially if the bags are provided directly to the operator on an ergonomic way. However, as a rule of thumb, one can consider that the capacity per station is around 2000 kg/h (which represents in between 1 to 2 bags tipped / min).
Some stations have 2 lids which allows to have 2 operators tipping at the same time and therefore increase the tipping throughput to around 4000 kg/h.
The following items are to be taken into account when designing a Bag dumping station.
Bags have to be opened while the station is opened to the environement, therefore the risks associated with the product must be evaluated and protective equipment provided to the operator when necessary (dust mask...). For very hazardous products, it is advisable to use glove boxes which are a specific type of tipping station where the operator can manipulate and open the bag without being in contact with the product.
Associated to this risk, the station must be equipped with an aspiration system that avoids to have dust getting out of the station. The aspiration system is made of bag Filters
and a fan. The fan must be sized according to the opening of the station in order to provide sufficient suction power. To be noted that it is not recommended to have deported filters (although it could look economic for several stations) but rather have Filters
top mounted on the station so that dust can fall back directly on the product, than collected elsewhere and maybe wasted.
As the station is opened during the tipping, it presents an increased risk for the entry of foreign body in the process. The station should be equipped with the following equipment to prevent the entry of foreign bodies, from the environment or from the materials :
- Grid : prevents that large foreign bodies like bag / knife fall in the station, it will also help the operator support the bag during the tipping and avoid that the bag hits a process equipment located below (Vibrating Sieve for example)
- Sieve (can be vibrating)
The flowability of the product to be discharged is a key parameter that will drive the design of the "bottom" part of the tipping station, i.e. the buffer hopper if it is required. It is indeed of crucial importance that the product flows easily outside of the tipping station, in order to make sure the capacity of the line is ensured, while ensuring that 100 percent of the material is discharged from the tipping station, to ensure 0 loss.
A powder rheology analysis of the powder(s) to be discharged must be done. If the product is very free flowing, no specific aid will be required. If issues the hopper of the tipping station must be designed accordingly, with steep walls and possibly vibrator or fluidizing pads. A knocker can be interesting to empty the station at the end of a shift for example.
Once emptied, bags can be a source of dust. A bag collector must be positionned on the side of the station to avoid dust is spilled around the station or when removing the empty bags. Some manufacturers can also propose a bag compactor to reduce the volume of the waste.
Figure 1 : Typical design of Bag Tipping Stations
When reviewing the design of a Big Bag tipping station, the following points deserve full attention :
Table 2 : Key design points of a Big Bag Tipping Station
|Bag station access||The access to the Big Bag station should be done without having the need of a platform in order to prevent occupational safety risks.|
|Station height||The station must be around 900 mm from the floor in order to allow for a comfortable manipulation of the bag|
|Delivery of bags||Bags should be delivered by a conveyor directly at tipping height in order to reduce operator efforts and maximize productivity. The bag supply must also be such that the operator does not need to twist to grab the bags and tip them
One alternative is to have a pallet lifter if bags are not delivered through a conveyor.
|Dust aspiration||A filter, equipped with a suction fan, should be installed on top of the station in order to capture dust during tipping.|
|Foreign Bodies||Compact stations can integrate a Vibrating Sieve. All stations should include a grid. The cutting tool should be held by a chain in order to avoid to fall in the station.|
|Understand the impact of downstream process||Capacity and design will not be the same if the station is equipped with a buffer hopper. Thanks to a buffer hopper, tipping capacity can be higher as there is only 1 grid to go through, but the buffer must be designed as to ensuring a good flow out of the station. From the buffer hopper, the product is typically fed to a product checking step (sieve, Magnets
) before being transferred to downstream processing
As the station is open, risks related to rotating equipment that may be present below the station must be taken into consideration. Such equipment should be kept far away from the operator, or the grid in the station should in any circumstances prevent the operator to access.
As every equipment processing powder, the ATEX risk needs to be considered when designing and sourcing a Bag dumping station. The 1st condition is to prevent dust emissions, which means that the Bag tipping platform must be equipped with an aspiration system. All equipment in the station and around the station must be rated according to the ATEX zoning assessment.
It is also possible to have stations designs for tipping bags of 25-50 kg. Those bag tipping platforms are not yet explicited in PowderProcess.net but should be soon. Stay tuned ;)
|Powder properties||Unit operations||Equipment handbook|
Flow of solids
Mass and funnel flow silos
Particle Size Distribution (PSD)
Dosing and weighing
Solid Gas Separation
Grinding and Milling
Solid Liquid Suspension
Checking (sieve and magnets)
|Big Bag Tipping Stations
Airlock rotary Valve
Rotary Valves (pneumatic)