by Wynveen International BV, Netherlands

 

To supply a bulk outloading system for an animal feed producer, Wynveen International BV joined forces with Festo in developing automatic loading chutes. The new regulating systemdelivers a combined solution for the automatic positioning and securing of the chutes used to fill bulk trailers.

 

Labour intensive

Until recently, loading a trailer was a time-consuming task. The driver climbed onto the roof of the bulk trailer, installed a safety fence and attached himself securely. Then inserted the loading hose from each chute into the filler openings.

The last step was to unhitch the safety line, climbed off the trailer and controlled the loading of each compartment, from a platform. An unacceptable solution from a health and safety point of view, but Wynveen International BV based in Heteren, part of the Triott Group, identified considerable potential for improvements both in terms of ergonomics and time and hence cost savings.

 

Automatic positioning

Ronald van Leeuwen and Kilian Bijenhof (Wynveen International) looked into the possibility of automatic positioning of the chutes. "That meant we needed to collaborate with a specialist in control systems to help us deliver a topflight embedded engineering solution. Another challenge was to stay within the budget for the factory control system. At the same time, as is often the case in projects of this kind, there were also considerable time restraints."

Each chute had to be fitted with a hinge section, a position feedback, an in and out function, a control unit and a drive system. A safety device also had to be fitted to prevent the extendable chute descending too far.

 

Servo-pneumatic solution

When Bas Helderman (Festo) saw the project requisitions (He started to think along), "In the original plan, the intention was to use an air cylinder to operate the chute valve and an electric drive for positioning. He suggested that a servo-pneumatic solution would both be simpler and more functional. He immediately thought of the DFPD actuator with the new CMSX position regulator from Festo; a combination that offers a solution for both functions and with characteristics that would perfectly suit the application. It also required fewer power supply and control cables. For both actuator and position regulator, a single power supply is sufficient and represents a considerable cost saving. All in all, in terms of pricing, this was an attractive alternative."

 

Testing

"Bas was so convincing that we decided to run with the idea, with a team of staff from both Festo and Wynveen", continued Ronald van Leeuwen. "We recognised the potential of a "double pneumatic" solution, but we first needed to test whether it really worked. At the end of the test period, position regulators with four control valves delivered the best result. From the test phase, we switched to system production."

 

Footprint

Due to the time constraint on the project, the chutes were delivered preassembled and fully adjusted. All the functions are achieved with just a single actuator, position regulator and pneumatic power supply. This solution represents a huge parts saving as compared with the original plan, by eradicating the need for a motor, gear unit, controller, power supply and electrical and mechanical protection.

 

Innovation

Ronald Van Leeuwen is delighted with this innovative solution, "We as a company are constantly trying to be just a little better, for example through strategic innovations. Although the animal feed market is all about welfare, efficiency, flexibility and productivity must not be ignored. The current trend is for feed to be delivered in smaller batches and more variants. Meeting that need calls for more advanced automation, and this chute control system is a perfect example."

 

Position regulator saves time and improves safety

The expectation of Wynveen is that this solution will attract the interest of other animal feed producers. The larger the out loading area, the greater the advantages offered by the system.

"We completed a project for two streets each with two times ten chutes, in other words forty chutes in total," explained Wynveen. "While one bulk trailer is being loaded, the contra-sets and the accompanying chutes are simultaneously filled by the above-mounted loading set, ready for the next trailer. As a result, two vehicles can be continuously loaded at the same time, one in each loading line. The system not only generates timesavings but also offers much higher safety levels. The driver operates the controls from a platform alongside the vehicle. It is no longer required to climb onto the bulk trailer with all the resultant risks and physical demands."

The out loading system at the animal feed producer consists of a series of filling stations suspended below silos, with a matching number of chutes for loading the bulk trailers. Each bulk trailer is made up of (up to 10) individual compartments, each with its own inlet. The distance between the inlets is different on every bulk trailer, so that the chutes have to be repositioned, prior to every loading process.

 

www.wynveen.com

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