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September 16, 2020
3 Min Read
Image courtesy of UniTrak
James Bransfield, engineering team leader, UniTrak
The team at Durez Corp. knew they had a challenge on their hands from the beginning. Its product, phenolic resin pastilles--widely used in the fracking industry--was not only friable, but also sticky and prone to dusting. Although the manufacturer had already sourced a pastillator and storage hopper, it lacked the means to transport the phenolic resin between the two without product degradation. A standard bucket conveyor wouldn’t cut it. Durez needed to find a custom solution, specifically built for its demanding application.
After some initial research, Durez reached out to UniTrak. With more than 50 years of experience in building customized conveying equipment, UniTrak sent local sales engineer Dan Roessler to visit the Kenton, OH Durez facility to see first-hand what the challenges were. He met with members of the engineering team to discuss the application in detail, including its stringent handling requirements.
Like any other manufacturer working with friable products, Durez had good reason to be concerned with gentle handling. “It’s important to maintain the integrity of the product in order for it to function the way that it's supposed to,” said Julie Shipp, USA sales team manager at UniTrak. This is easier said than done, however, especially when processing friable materials that are prone to crumbling.
“When a friable product is broken up even slightly, it can cause inconsistencies in the dispersion of ingredients in the mix,” cautioned Emma Gorsline, vice president – sales at UniTrak. “This can lead to a substandard product and ultimately result in reduced sales or revenue loss or having to add additional capacity for product rework. It can also incur additional costs for waste cleanup and disposal.” The individual unit size of the phenolic resin pastilles had to be preserved.
After an extensive application review, the team at UniTrak recommended the TipTrak bucket elevator conveyor, which relies on a proprietary interlocking bucket system to prevent product degradation and spillage. The gentle product handling is owed to TipTrak’s design, which runs horizontally and vertically — without any transfer points. This differs from other, more elaborate configurations, which rely on a combination of vertical and horizontal equipment to transport materials. “Any time you take a product from one process to another — like transferring between equipment — there’s a chance for breakage,” explained Shipp.
But Durez needed more than just gentle handling to get the job done. It also wanted to control the amount of dust generated during production. UniTrak customized the TipTrak with removable clean out drawers to help minimize the downtime required for cleaning. The TipTrak was also outfitted with a bucket knocker to ensure the sticky pastilles could be completely dislodged.
The TipTrak was also outfitted with a bucket knocker to ensure the sticky pastilles could be completely dislodged.Every detail was selected with Durez’s particular needs in mind, like the speed sensor and custom infeed chute designed to accommodate the width of the pastillator. The rectangular-to-round discharge chute was constructed from durable, corrosion-resistant 304 stainless steel. “This was a brand new project, so we were able to set it up correctly out of the gate,” said Roessler.
The rectangular-to-round discharge chute was constructed from durable, corrosion-resistant 304 stainless steel.The TipTrak was installed in less than a week. Afterwards, testing occurred over a two-week start-up period. UniTrak staff were on-site to provide extensive training. “It’s been a very successful project,” said Roessler.
Cleanout drawers were built into the system allow for quick cleaning and less downtime.Durez — now a subsidiary of Sumitomo Bakelite High Performance Plastics (SBHPP) — continues to manufacture its phenolic resins.
James Bransfield is engineering team leader, UniTrak (Port Hope, ON, Canada). For more information, call 905-885-8168 or visit unitrak.com
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