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Delaere bigbag transfer and disinfection unit

Delaere bigbag transfer and disinfection unit

Delaere supplied a bigbag transfer and disinfection unit to a French company in the food industry. The company in particular requested a system that could transfer a filled bigbag from a wooden pallet to a plastic pallet. During this transfer, which passes over rails and transfer cart, the bigbag needs to be disinfected on all 4 sides. The system must ensure a reduction of 1log on the bacteria’s Escherichia Coli and Cronobacter Sakazakii. 

In a first step, the operator needs to attach the 4 loops of the bigbag to a lifting system to move the bag from the wooden pallet. Subsequently, the bigbag is transferred to an air lock. In this air lock, the big bag will be disinfected on all four sides. Each side of the bigbag is exposed to a set of 12 UV-lights for approx. 30 seconds. When the bigbag is completely disinfected, the bag is transferred to a second air lock where the bigbag is placed on a plastic pallet by means of a lifting system. This pallet is fed by a pallet dispenser and roller conveyors which are installed in a clean area. At the end of the line, in the clean area, 5 accumulation roller conveyors are buffering the bigbags on plastic pallets.

The Challenge

The bigbag needs to be completely disinfected, which has to be performed in an air lock. The main reason for this is operator safety. Disinfection by means of UV-light needs to be performed in a well contained area. The air lock is 100% separated from the other zones by 2 high speed shutter doors which were integrated in the Delaere control system. This means that the transfer cart moving the bigbag needs to be moving of different/separated guiding rails

Another challenge is the split of the system in different clean classes which is typical for the food industry. This requires the use of specific materials and components suited for the applicable clean class. An example of this is the full stainless steel roller conveyors for the bigbags on plastic pallets.

Lastly for the disinfection system, there was a tradeoff between speed and costs. The number of UV-light units could be doubled so that two sides can be disinfected at the same time to increase the speed. However this implies a significant impact on the costs.  In relation to the requested capacity, Delaere decided to go for 1 set of UV-lights and a turning device.  

The solution

Three separated frames were built where a transfer cart is able to move between those three frames. With an additional pair of wheels, this movement can be seamlessly executed whilst there is a remaining gap for the high speed shutter door. This requires a very good alignment of those 3 frames with quick couplings to control the automatic hooks.

The disinfection of all 4 sides is performed by a rotating frame, this directs each side for approx. 30 seconds to the UV-light set (which is located at one side) so that the complete bigbag can be disinfected.

The result

The result is an impressive transfer and disinfection system, which executes the process fully automatic. The only manual action is to attach the bigbag to the hooks on the first position of the line.

The bigbag is transferred in a full automatic way over the different stations of the system and gets disinfected at all sides. After the disinfected bigbag is positioned on a plastic pallet, the bigbag is automatically conveyed to the take-off position in the high care area.