Discharging containers of stubborn and non-free flowing material is always a challenge, and for those in the plastics recycling and other recycling sectors, this is a common hurdle to overcome. Add a custom cart and the need for an automated controlled dump cycle to the scope of requirements, and the challenge becomes insurmountable for some. Not for Ensign, in this month’s Application Spotlight Video, we provide an in-depth look at a solution we provided that overcame all these obstacles and more.
The material being discharged in this application included rolls & loose fragments of plastic film. The loose pieces can easily get snagged by any pin or finger-like protrusions, and the rolls can get long and heavy causing them to be very susceptible to getting bridged inside containers.
Carts present a unique retaining challenge. If the retaining mechanism does not sufficiently prevent the cart from moving from side to side or up and down, a cart is likely to get shifted during the dump cycle, increasing the risk of the cart discharging along with the material or shifting enough to limit the flow of the product out of the cart. Additionally, with loose pieces of film, they can easily be grabbed by “finger” or “pin” style retaining mechanisms, as well as bridged inside the cart by cross-style retaining bars.
The material is being size reduced by a grinder. The material also varies in density as it is a collection of both loose film and very compact full rolls. Since the grinder can only accept a certain threshold of material before the motor will pull too much amperage and shut down, it is tremendously important to modulate the feeding of the material into the grinder to keep the process continuous and avoid costly shutdowns.
The employee shortages experienced in every business sector is driving all companies towards more and more automation. Although this customer was in need to reduce the size of their scrap material with a grinder, sourcing additional labor to do so was not an option. Automating the process so that only a single operator was needed only when another gaylord was needed was immensely critical.
The #1 concern with any machine is keeping our valued operators safe while being able to use the machine quickly and efficiently. Easy passage in and out of loading the bucket was needed to keep operator usage time at a minimum while keeping the operators safe.
As industry leaders in recycling and plastic recycling applications, Ensign’s engineers compiled a multitude of proven design modules to produce a custom discharging solution to overcome each and every hurdle.
Our specialized formed cart retaining system includes centering guides, height guides, and a retaining lip to limit the movement and maintain the location of the cart within the dumper bucket. This removes the risk of discharging the cart itself and/or constricting the flow of product from the cart.
By integrating a panel-mounted Invertek variable speed drive with multiple speed stages into the Grinder’s supplied amperage monitoring switch, we are able to have the dumper slowly rotate at certain stages of the rotation to control the discharging of material into the grinder, as well as pause to mitigate over-feeding the grinder.
The addition of an Allen Bradley PLC allows for the complete functionality of the machine to be handled without operator intervention after the safety circuit has been reactivated and the Cycle Start button has been depressed. The control self-monitor the amperage of the grinder and the position of the dumper bucket to ensure the feeding process is efficient and continuous.
The safety cage with light screen, our most popular safety guarding assembly, allows operators to easily enter and exit the dumper loading zone, but still keeps operators safe from any harm by utilizing both a physical side barrier and electrical beam barrier at the entrance.
Additional Options for Ensign’s Container Dumpers:
Ensign’s extensive library of available options gives you the flexibility to address almost any material handling challenge. And with robust designs that are built to last, we can put your team in the position to succeed for years to come.