Poor material handling slows down production, incurs costs, and even creates safety or sanitation hazards that can lead to expensive fines and plant shutdowns. Here are some ways to improve material handling for better efficiency and lower costs.
Evaluate your process
Identify the areas where there is poor material flow. Then, diagnose the causes and the impact of the problem on your productivity and costs. From there, you will have a more concrete idea of how to improve material handling.
For example, a cement company in Asia needed to achieve a flow rate of 30 tons per hour, but could not hit their productivity targets because of shale clogging in the silos. Workers had to manually clear the vessels, which meant stopping the process and pulling teams assigned to other parts of the plant. They calculated that they lost $12,000 for every hour of downtime.
Once the cement company installed AirSweep in the silos, productivity surged and costs went down.
Know your material’s flow properties
Materials have different flow rates and properties that can pose challenges whenever they are stored, transported, and processed. Even changing one material in the formula can lead to unexpected issues during production.
For example, a major international paint and coatings manufacturer needed to use a new grade of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) to improve their product. The material had finer, lighter particles and had a tendency to bridge over the vibrating feeder system.
They installed AirSweep and designed it to automatically activate when a flow sensor detected bridging in the bottom feeder. This enabled them to cut the batch processing time to just 15 minutes.
One of the best ways to improve material handling is to prevent issues from even occurring. Look at your process and identify possible risks or hazards.
For example, a concrete company uses 12 mixers, with feeders loading up to 250 tons of gravel an hour, or 4 tons a minute. With that amount of gravel, any equipment failure and resulting material pileup would cause safety issues and days of shoveling.
The company installed a DAZIC zero speed switch that would trigger an alarm if any equipment showed an abnormal change in speed. It was a simple, affordable fix that prevented incidents from happening.
Find out how to improve material handling
Control Concepts, Inc. has helped thousands of plants around the world improve bulk material handling. We have worked with every industry, with clients that include both S&P companies and SMEs. Contact us to get a customized proposal for your process.