Reclamation of Off-spec Packages Generated During Production Start-up Events Reduces Material Waste
This National Bulk Equipment product reclamation project recovers packaged contents and packaging material from off-spec production generated during startup events across the operation's multiple packaging lines. The NBE single-pack reclaim project safely reduces product material waste, regardless of the challenging product flow characteristics and difficult packaging material.
When planned or unplanned stops occur on one or more of the project owner's packaging lines, considerable off-spec packaged product is generated during startup and return to optimal line rate. The accumulation of drums of off-spec packs, together with the extreme difficulty and safety risk of attempting to manually reclaim the packaged contents, led the project owner to dispose of the packaged product despite the significant material loss and associated costs of disposal. NBE, working in collaborative project execution with the project owner, developed a mechanical method to open the packs in a controlled manner and at a rate well in excess of that of the off-spec packages generated across the multiple lines. Feasibility testing of the prototype, performed at the NBE Innovation Center, confirmed performance target outcomes for rate, run time, and contaminant avoidance. Working within the framework of NBE engineered-to-application (ETA) project delivery, this NBE single-pack product reclaim project was engineered and applied as an integrated and automated downstream infrastructure within the fullstream processing and packaging operation of the project owner.
Based on the on-site evaluation performed by NBE, together with the process flow diagramming and modeling of the reclaim sequence, it was determined by NBE that the optimal package reclaim rate would be best achieved by automating in the infeed of the off-spec packs from the collection drums. The NBE drum discharger provides a batch feed rate of up to 18,000 packs per hour while eliminating repetitive motion lifting by the operator. The mechanical cutting head, designed and manufactured by NBE, uses a counter-rotating, beveled-blade design to precisely slit open the packs; preventing the package from ripping or tearing during opening. Precise opening of the pack reduces the introduction of material contaminants from the product stream. The integrated rotary separator then screens package fines from the product stream. Recovered packaging is collected for recycling and reclaimed material is reintroduced to the production stream for inline repackaging. Repeated analysis of the reclaim project measured 99.95% of product was returned to production. The project owner was able to eliminate disposal cost, eliminate product waste, and increase process effectiveness.