A customized flexible screw conveyor system that is designed by Spiro flow Systems Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., has improved productivity by 18 percent for Quiet Flex Manufacturing Corp. L.P., a Houston-based supplier of flexible ductwork for residential heating and air conditioning systems.
Quiet Flex previously relied on a drag conveying system to transport phenolic resin adhesive, a material the company used to bind together fiberglass mats in its ductwork. The rotating polyethylene disc and metal pulley in the old conveyor dragged the resin to multiple discharge points arranged along the top of a feed hopper, so that butterfly valves beneath each discharge point would spread the material uniformly across the fiberglass mat, where a spreader was used to distribute the material.
However, the resin tended to stick to the hopper inlet and discharge valves, slowing down the adhesive flow. Worse, the hopper inlet and valves would plug over time, requiring the line to be shut, and workers to clear these points. This increased production costs dramatically at the Houston plant.
Engineers at Spiro flow Systems, which specializes in manufacturing powder conveying, discharging, and filing equipment, tailor-made a materials handling system for the Houston plant consisting of ten Spiro flow Flexible Screw Conveyors attached to a common feeder. Each conveyor contains a flexible spiral, driven by an electric motor to rotate within an encasing tube to carry material forward through the length of the tube.
Spiro flow equipped the carbon steel, 4x4-foot hopper with ten 60degree inlets spaced separately at the hopper's base to facilitate the material's even distribution. The hopper previously provided a 45-degree angle of repose, which resulted in reduced conveyed material.
In addition to increasing the angle of the inlets, Spiro flow installed two air sweeps that send powerful bursts of air to loosen resin sticking on the inside walls of the hopper.