Coffee Conveyed From Bulk Bags to Roaster to Packaging
Mayorga Coffee 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.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Rockville, MD, the company opened a new 42,000 sq. ft. (3,900 m2) roasting and packaging facility in Miami 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 are discharged from the roaster into open-top bulk bags and delivered to a BFF BULK-OUT® bulk bag discharger. A forklift then positions 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 houses a bulk bag spout interface chute with an integral access door. With the bulk bag in position, the operator opens this door to gain access to the bulk bag spout tie. Once the spout has been untied, the access door is closed while roasted beans are discharged from the bulk bag.
Conveying of whole and ground beans
The beans flow from the bulk bag into an 8 cu ft (226 L) floor hopper, which charges a 15 ft (4.57 m) model 1350 flexible screw conveyor inclined at 45° to feed the grinder. The 3.5 in. (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 discharges into a 4 cu ft (113 L) floor hopper that charges a second 15 ft (4.6 m), 3.5 in. (90 mm) diameter flexible screw conveyor, this one equipped with a spiral designed to efficiently propel the fine-ground material to a Flexicon model BFB bulk bag filler.
A palletized open-top bulk bag is placed inside the filler frame, which can be adjusted to accommodate bulk bags ranging from 36 to 72 in. (914 to 1,828 mm) high. Strap hooks, mounted on each of the four corners of the fill head, hold the bag open and stabilize it during filling.
Feeding the packaging line
Filled bulk bags are forklifted into a second discharger which unloads coffee into an 8 cu ft (226 L) floor hopper charging a 15 ft (4.7 m) long, 2-5/8 in. (51 mm) diameter flexible screw conveyor to feed the packaging line.
Low- and high-level sensors on the packaging machine hopper signal the system’s PLC when to start and stop the conveyor.
The bulk handling system improves productivity and plant cleanliness, and Flexion designed a solution that fits within the space limitations, allows immediate packaging, and provides for future production expansion.