COFFEE CONVEYED FROM BULK BAGS TO ROASTER TO PACKAGING
Mayorga Organics produces 30 different coffee roasts, and supports local organic farming methods by working directly with small, family-owned coffee growers in Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
“We produce a product that is sustainable, not only for the planet, but for the people growing it as well,” says Erin Dall, president and COO. Mayorga sees its direct purchases, without complex supply chains, as an important factor to reducing poverty in Latin America.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Rockville, MD, the company until recently operated a second 3,900 m2 roasting and packaging facility in Miami, Florida, to produce its premier product, Café Cubano Roast organic coffee, in vacuum-sealed brick packs.
To transfer the coffee beans from roaster to grinder to packaging line, the company installed a bulk handling system comprised of two bulk bag dischargers, three flexible screw conveyors and a bulk bag filler, all from Flexicon Corporation.
Roasted coffee beans were discharged from the roaster into open-top bulk bags and delivered to a BFF BULK-OUT® bulk bag discharger. A forklift then positioned a bag-lifting frame immediately above the bag, allowing an operator to slide the bag’s four lifting straps into Z- CLIP™ strap holders, and the forklift to lift the frame―with suspended bag―into receiving cups atop the discharger’s frame posts.
The discharger housed a bulk bag spout interface chute with an integral access door. With the bulk bag in position, the operator opened this door to gain access to the bulk bag spout tie. Once the spout was untied, the access door was closed while roasted beans were discharged from the bulk bag.
Conveying of whole and ground beans
The beans flowed from the bulk bag into a 226 L floor hopper, which charged a 4.57 m model 1350 flexible screw conveyor inclined at 45° to feed the grinder. The 90 mm diameter enclosed conveyor tube prevents product and plant contamination. The inner screw is the only moving part contacting material and is driven by an electric motor positioned beyond the point at which coffee beans exit the conveyor, preventing material contact with seals.
From the grinder, ground coffee gravity discharged into a 113 L floor hopper that charged a second 4.6 m, 90 mm diameter flexible screw conveyor which was equipped with a spiral, designed to efficiently propel the fine-ground material to a Flexicon model BFB bulk bag filler.
A palletised open-top bulk bag was placed inside the filler frame, which can be adjusted to accommodate bulk bags ranging from 914 to 1,828 mm high. Strap hooks, mounted on each of the four corners of the fill head, held the bag open and stabilised it during filling.
Feeding the packaging line
Filled bulk bags were forklifted into a second discharger which unloaded coffee into a 226 L floor hopper charging a 4.7 m long, 51 mm diameter flexible screw conveyor to feed the packaging line.
Low- and high-level sensors on the packaging machine hopper signaled the system’s PLC when to start and stop the conveyor.
Dall says the bulk handling system improved productivity and plant cleanliness. “Flexicon provided a solution that fit within our space limitations, allowed immediate packaging, and provided for future production expansion.”