Hygienic and flexible tanker truck loading
Hygienic and flexible tanker truck loading
A large producer of wheat gluten approached J-Tec Material Handling to come up with a solution to load a tanker truck from existing silos, dust-free, with limited construction efforts and in the most hygienic way possible.
Together with our holding company Katoe Natie, a logistic expert with extensive knowledge in tanker truck loading and discharging, we developed a new method to fulfill the challenging demands of our customer:
Flexibility to load a truck from any silo: For this installation the product is directly transferred from two existing 550 m³ outdoor silos into the truck vessel, using a pneumatic conveying system. The huge advantage of the new truck loading design is the flexibility it provides in allowing to connect any new or existing silo within the production facility to the truck loading station.
Avoid huge construction investments: Typically for such an application, separate truck loading silos are installed outdoors on a tall structure, adding a substantial investment for not only the structure but also the foundation works. The truck parks underneath these loading silos and is filled by gravity. Instead, we opted to install a simple structure with the function of enclosing the truck loading area.
Easy operation: A specially designed loading head is connected directly to the conveying line and guides the product stream into the truck vessel. The specialty of this loading head is the inlet part: with a specifically designed insertion, the incoming product stream is split into two: one stream is blown towards the rear and the second stream is blown towards the front of the vessel. It was of utmost importance that the loading head would work with all types of silo trucks. The current equipment is able to fill up trucks with different heights and filling opening diameters.
Almost eliminating product spillage: The specially designed loading head enables the truck to be filled completely whilst avoiding any unnecessary movements: the truck is filled only via the centric loading inlet! With more traditional installations, the truck must be moved at least five times until it is completely loaded. Each docking and undocking procedure along with moving the truck takes up time and can create product spillage.
Safe loading time
Loading time less than an hour: the loading capacity is designed at 30 ton/hour. Even switching silos during truck loading, e.g. when one silo runs empty, does not affect the overall loading time.
Safe and closed product handling: Once the truck driver places the loading head in the opening, the head automatically seals the opening by using its own weight. The introduced conveying air leaves the truck vessel via a separate pipe connection on the loading head and is guided via a closed pipeline into a separate filter. Due to space restrictions, the filter is positioned on the roof of the truck loading room. Alternatively, the filter can be placed on the ground floor for easier access.
Any dust entering the filter is immediately discharged into the conveying line to ensure all product is used. A fan behind the filter creates a slight under-pressure in the system, preventing dust escape at the vessel opening during loading and undocking.
A simple solution has been selected to avoid spillage when undocking and maneuvering the loading head: the operator simply places a bucket underneath the loading head to catch dust falling down due to vibrations.
Hygienic environment: The above characteristics already provide an increased level of hygiene during truck loading. However, for this installation we opted to go one step further by building a closed room around the truck: Both front sides are equipped with roller shutter doors. Only one side is opened when the truck enters or leaves the room. This isolates the truck loading process from outside weather conditions.
The hygienic level can be further increased by purging the room with HEPA filtered clean and conditioned air. Keeping the room under a certain overpressure so outside air cannot enter. This avoids product contamination by the environment air.
Sensitive products are often stored indoors due to their sensitivity to temperature, moisture and/or oxygen. The transfer into the truck can be designed to run with dried and/or cooled air, or even with nitrogen, to ensure a safe handling throughout the entire transfer!