Case Study: Upgrading flexible connectors
Mixing can be messy business, and a Midwest-based pizza crust company knew this all too well. They weren’t actively searching for a solution to a common problem, but they stumbled upon an advertisement explaining the BFM fitting distributed by Powder-Solutions, Inc., Chanhassen, MN. They then looked into replacing their old-fashioned flexible sleeves and hose clamps in their facility with the BFM fitting.
Time to upgrade
When they saw the classified advertisement, they were very interested in giving the BFM fitting a try. “It seemed to be an upgrade to our current sleeves in terms of cleanliness and ease of attachment/removal,” said the engineer involved in the improvement. The area of concern in their facility was the connection between their flour hopper to horizontal mixer stack up.
At the time, the company had been experiencing difficulty keeping the area surrounding the horizontal mixer clean because of powder leakage from their existing connection. Along with better containment of the ingredients, the workers on-site were looking forward to easier access to the equipment and reduced time for cleaning.
The supplier of the BFM fitting, Powder-Solutions, Inc. specializes in distribution and engineering for unique material handling problems for the food industry. The company is the leading U.S. distributor of the USDA-accepted BFM fitting, which also meets 3A sanitary standards 63-030 and 20-27.
The BFM fitting
Designed with efficiency in mind, the BFM fitting design consists of a flexible connector sleeve of polyurethane material with a top and bottom snap band collar to seal internally when installed in the adapter spigots. The crevice-free design allows for easy product flow, avoiding the issue of trapped materials that can build up in old-fashioned flexible connectors’ designs.
The Seeflex 040e connector fitting, utilized in this particular installation, is 0.040-in. thick static-dissipative polyurethane. It is certified for use in powder, food, dairy, and nutritional applications. The sleeve’s snap bands consist of two separate bands, one at the top and one at the bottom. It is comprised of a flexible stainless steel ring surrounded by polyurethane. When they’re inserted into the collars connected to the equipment or line, a snap-in installation occurs sealing product from leaking out and protecting the outside environment from getting into the product line. The collars themselves are available in 304 and 316L stainless steel to adhere to plants’ strict sanitation requirements.
Since installation, the company has seen process improvements throughout their facility. The biggest changes noted have been the increased containment of ingredients, keeping the facility cleaner and safer for their product and their employees.
Following the initial trial installation, the company installed five additional assemblies of the BFM fitting at other locations throughout their facility. The additional assemblies were also installed between flour hoppers and horizontal mixers. Overall, maintenance was pleased with the ease of removal, re-installation, and the fact that they could easily view the product flow from hopper to mixer.
Despite some maintenance supervisors’ initial skepticism, the BFM fitting proved to be a perfect solution for their processing concerns. Employees so far have been pleased with the installation. “It has done exactly what we’ve hoped and is a worthwhile investment,” mentioned the mechanical engineer. “In terms of criteria met, those (BFM fittings) currently installed fulfilled the promise of ease of removal/installation and a cleaner working environment.”
About Powder-Solutions Inc.
Powder-Solutions Inc. is a supplier of innovative technology solutions to improve efficiency, safety and sanitation within bulk powder handling plants in many diverse industries. We are the leading distributor of the USDA dairy accepted BFM fitting. Powder-Solutions Group is the parent company of Powder-Solutions Inc. For more information on this and other successful installations, visit www.powder-solutions.com/distribution or call 877-236-3539.