Weetabix was experiencing problems with the process flow of its Flake Drying system, which was regularly experiencing blockages. The problem had led to loss of valuable production time as resources were repeatedly diverted from production to restoring operation.
To identify the cause of the blockages in the Flake Drying Machine’s process flow, FPE Global first conducted a site survey and a series of tests to better understand the air conveying and control philosophy requirements of the system.
FPE calculated that the system needed to be able to convey 275-300kg per hour of low-density volume flake material through the system’s diameter discharge duct, which connected the Flake Drying Machine to the storage bunkers.
Following an assessment of the current system, FPE identified that the root cause of the problems lay in the air conveying velocity, outlet design, and layout of the receiving cyclones.
Following a full report, FPE’s pneumatic conveying experts recommended modifying the system to better suit the requirements calculated in its assessment. FPE worked with the team at Weetabix to modify the process, which allowed the flake bunker to operate as a large settling chamber, increasing the overall level of operating efficiency.
The new system allows the flake material to be delivered at lower velocity into the top of the storage bunker. The material is then gently separated out of the air stream via vortex breakers and rotary valves before falling into the bottom of the bunker for continuous discharge.
Targets for customer
To understand and assess the operation of the Flake Drying Machine’s extraction system.
To improve the operation to eliminate the regular blockages that were occurring.
To control the level of dust, and to keep the process running smoothly.
The production outage period was only one week, within that timescale modifications needed to be installed and tested.
FPE Global adjusted the existing extraction system to meet the actual requirement of the Flake Drying Machines. The recommended modifications have now resolved the issue of regular system blockages, and Weetabix has been able to boost production as it no longer loses valuable time to correcting system failure.
We had worked with FPE on previous projects and been impressed with their level of conveying expertise.
FPE Global conducted a site survey before producing a report which highlighted areas for improvement. The design solutions and recommendations were comprehensive and demonstrated a clear understanding of our current systems in need of modification. FPE conducted conveying tests and guided us through the solutions, which supported us in our decision making process.
We focused on two of FPE Global recommendations and the investment has increased the efficiency of the existing plant, giving us a good ROI. Our team now spend more time on core activities, rather than fire fighting to clear blockages.
I was particularly impressed with the installation team from FPE Global during the installation. They are highly experienced, efficient, safe and able to provide knowledgeable solutions. It is a pleasure to work with such an outstanding team.
Project Engineer, Weetabix.