The plant operates two shifts and can process 35 batches per shift, versus 21 batches previously

February 20, 2024

4 Min Read
flexible screw conveyo
A flexible screw conveyor (foreground) feeds MSG into the pickup adapter of a 55-ft pneumatic conveying line routed to a blender. Image courtesy of Flexicon Corp.

Sazón Inc. produces bouillon powders and varieties of Sazón GOYA seasonings for Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the US. The original product line was launched in Puerto Rico in 1973 and moved to Goya’s Miami-area facility in 1983.

Workers previously loaded herbs, spices, salt, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) manually into three ribbon blenders, each with a working capacity of nearly 3,000 lb. The job required lifting, cutting, and dumping several dozen bags per batch, for 21 batches over an eight-hour shift. “Dumping 50-lb bags of MSG for every batch is not easy work,” said Hiram Carlo, plant manager.      

Automated Weigh Batch Discharging from Bulk Bags Ends Fatigue

Due to robust sales growth, Sazon Inc. added two more packaging lines and two blenders to the operation in 2019. It also installed five identical bulk weighing and batching systems--one for each blender--to add MSG, a large-volume ingredient in many of the 19 seasoning and bouillon recipes.

bulk weighing and batching systems

Engineered and supplied by Flexicon Corp., each of the batching systems combines a Bulk-Out bulk bag discharger and a flexible screw conveyor that feeds MSG into a 55-ft-long Pneumati-Con pneumatic conveying line

      

In operation, 1-tn bulk bags of MSG are delivered by forklift to the bulk bag discharger, which is mounted on load cells. The operator connects the bag loops to a lifting frame at floor level and, using a pendant controller, loads the bag into the discharger frame by means of a hoist and trolley travelling on a cantilevered I-beam.

 

Spout-Lock clamp ring

     

The operator then makes a dust-tight connection to a Spout-Lock clamp ring atop a Tele-Tube telescoping tube and unties the spout drawstring.  The telescoping tube applies continuous downward tension on the bag as it empties and elongates, promoting flow and evacuation.

The MSG powder, comprised of fine white crystals, flows into a 5-cu-ft floor hopper charging an integral 5-ft-long, 3.5-in.-diam flexible screw conveyor. The conveyor propels the product at an incline, discharging through flexible downspouting into a pickup adapter feeding a 2.5-in.-diam pneumatic conveying line.

Load cells supporting the bulk bag discharger transmit loss-of-weight signals to a PLC that controls the batch weight of MSG. “We just input the information into the panel, say 2,000 pounds, and that’s it,” Carlo said.

 

blended batches

     

Upon receiving the signal, the inclined flexible screw conveyor feeds the MSG into the pickup adapter. From there, the material travels 55 ft horizontally and 15 ft vertically to a 24-in.-diam filter-receiver that discharges into a 2.5-cu-ft hopper.

      

Delivery of the MSG slows and stops automatically when the weight lost from the bulk bag reaches the target batch weight. A rotary airlock valve simultaneously discharges the batch into the blender through down-spouting, as minor ingredients are added manually.

After 30-minute blending cycles, the batch gravity discharges through a slide gate, and passes through a check-sifter before flowing into a hopper from which a flexible screw conveyor feeds a packaging line. Foil-lined packets are formed and filled with 5 to 10 g of material and heat-sealed at rates of 1,000 to 1,500 per minute.

      

The packets are inserted into a carton that passes through a check-weigher, gets coded, and moves to an accumulator for placement into a “master case.” In the final step, two palletizers consolidate the master cases for shipment.
      

Higher Output with Fewer Personnel

The plant operates two shifts and can process 35 batches per shift, versus 21 batches previously, with just five operators responsible for batching, blending, packaging, and shipping. “We package more than a billion packets a year now, and we’re much more comfortable,” Carlo said. “No worker fatigue, and far less time dumping bags manually. It’s a more efficient way to make our products and it’s making our lives easier.”         

For more information, contact Flexicon Corp. (Bethlehem, PA) at 610-814-2400 or [email protected], or visit www.flexicon.com

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