One of the many values that we can provide to our clients is the vantage point from working with processors across the globe. Our specialists are routinely at client sites to talk system design, provide training, and troubleshoot problems.
From these visits, our specialists learn about industry trends and new practices across the globe. We have noticed over the years that process bins – also known as buffer bins or day bins – are added to system design more and more frequently.
This trend, we tend to agree, is for a good reason. Though process bins are not new to the industry, they have many benefits that support a productive system design.
Benefits of process bins
Process bins are especially beneficial when installed ahead of machines sensitive to rate, such as expellers and extruders. The bin provides a continuous, even supply of product that ensures each machine is fed product at its rated capacity.
A process bin prevents the machine from overfeeding, often resulting in a jam and costly downtime to repair. It also prevents underfeeding, which reduces internal pressure in a machine and results in valuable oil left behind in the meal.
The appropriate product amount for each machine’s specification will increase efficiency and reduce residuals to the lowest amount possible.
In addition to preventing jams from overfeeding, the process bin can also help reduce downtime due to maintenance. Areas of frequent maintenance, such as screen replacement in the hammermill or seed cleaner, can shut down part of a machine monthly or even weekly. A strategically placed process bin can prevent a loss in production during these maintenance sessions.
By placing a process bin ahead of extrusion or pressing equipment and after the cleaning equipment, the product can move through the cleaning equipment at the same fast rate that it arrives. The product enters the process bin, which slows down the product flow to match the rated capacity of the downstream equipment.
Because the entry rate is faster than the output, the product builds up in the process bin. Once all the product has been cleaned, or the process bin has reached its capacity, the upstream equipment can be shut down for maintenance while the downstream equipment continues to feed from the bin and process, ensuring no loss in production.
Process bins require very little floor space, which can reduce the space requirements of a processing plant and associated energy costs. Bins, however, do require a high ceiling clearance.
An inexpensive investment, the benefits of process bins are clear. Let’s look at what you need to know about how to setup an oil mill system with process bins.
Need assistance with your oilseed equipment now?
Do not hesitate to call us at 1(800) 336-4730 or use our contact form.
Four things to know about how to set up an oil mill with process bins
System size and machinery type will dictate the number of process bins located throughout a plant. Installing a bin ahead of a feed rate-dependent machine or after cleaning equipment can improve efficiency and reduce downtime. But a poorly placed bin can create unexpected and often costly system problems. Take the example of a client whose poorly placed process bins reduced machine performance and risked the overall quality of their final product.
The client is a soy processor that transferred their product to a process bin immediately after cracking the seed. The density difference between the meal and the hull caused the product to separate in the bin due to gravity. This created layers of hulls and layers of soybean meats in the bin to be fed to downstream equipment- in this case, a Dox™ Extruder – in uneven batches.
As a result, the temperature in the extruder fluctuated based on whether the product inside was primarily hulls or primarily soybean meats. This fluctuation is problematic because low heat risks improper deactivation of anti-nutritional factors in the soy. When heat is too high, it increases the degradation of the meal’s protein and can speed up oil oxidation.
2. Discharge functionality
A process bin’s discharge should be set up in a way that promotes continuous, even product flow onto the conveyer. Disruptions or inconsistency in discharge can impact the rate that product enters downstream equipment.
Since gravity is the predominant force used to move material through the process bin, the angle of repose must have the correct gradient for the product to move down and discharge properly.
However, even with the correct angle, it can be expected for the product to bridge at the hopper. Investing in an inexpensive bin vibrator for the hopper can keep the product moving out at a consistent rate without intervention.
A slide gate on the hopper is also beneficial. If maintenance is needed on a conveyor underneath the bin or a machine downstream, a slide gate can shut off the product to allow for a quick response.
The material used to build the process bin should comprise the bulk of the price tag when it comes to cost. Since no technology or power is needed, the bin is typically fabricated on-site or near-site by the plant’s construction group. As a result, material, shipping, and labor costs are generally low. However, to ensure the structural integrity of the bin, processors should be sure to invest in high-quality steel and avoid thin, cheap metal or abrasive material.
4. Fill level
A level indicator on the process bin is critical for the operator to adjust system pace based on the fill level. If the bin is nearing capacity, the operator can respond by slowing down the fill rate. If the bin is at a low level, the operator can pick up the feed rate. The indicator ensures that the machine is fed at a constant rate, without interruption, and without the safety hazard of climbing equipment to view the bin level manually.
System design experience
When designed and installed correctly, process bins have many advantages for system design. They are an inexpensive investment that can improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and take up very little space. The challenge is that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for how they fit into system design. Every system must consider space parameters, machine type, machine size, product, and more.
One of the many services provided by Anderson International is engineering integration, which can provide the design and drawing of a bin to ensure proper fabrication. Our system integration experts can help determine the best locations in your plant for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
To speak with an expert about your complete processing system design, contact us today.