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Title:
DEVICE FOR FILLING A CONTAINER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2000/073182
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A loading device mounted on a platform (22) and comprising a hopper (1) with an intake (14) for receiving the granulate from the upper container (10), the hopper (1) narrowing in a granulate flow passage (3) which is connected to a granulate supply (5) with a granulate outlet (27) for supplying the granulate (9) to the granulate supply hole (2). In the granulate supply (5) a gas supply (11, 21, 25) is provided with an outlet (27) for supplying gas to the granulate supply (5) in the direction of the outlet (27) of the granulate supply, so as to create a negative pressure at the position of the outlet (11), and in the at in the hopper (1) a separation wall (8) is provided to divide the hopper (1) in two compartments, the first and the second compartment (23, 24) both giving access to the granulate flow passage (3).

Inventors:
Leroy, Fabian (Prins Boudewijnlaan 344 Edegem, B-2650, BE)
Application Number:
PCT/BE2000/000056
Publication Date:
December 07, 2000
Filing Date:
May 26, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Katoen, Natie Bulk Terminals (Van Aerdtstraat 53 Antwerpen, B-2060, BE)
Leroy, Fabian (Prins Boudewijnlaan 344 Edegem, B-2650, BE)
International Classes:
B65G67/06; (IPC1-7): B65G67/06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Luys, Marie-josé (Gevers & Vander Haeghen Rue de Livourne 7 Brussels, B-1060, BE)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A device for loading an interior volume (15) of a lower container (12) with a granulate (9) stored in an upper container (10) through a granulate supply hole (2) provided in a wall (13) of the lower container (12) surrounding the interior volume (15), the device being mounted on a platform (22) and comprising a hopper (1) with an intake (14) for receiving the granulate from the upper container (10), the hopper (1) narrowing in a granulate flow passage (3) which is connected to a granulate supply (5) with a granulate outlet (27) for supplying the granulate (9) to the granulate supply hole (2), characterised in that the granulate flow passage (3) is connected to the granulate supply (5) through a neck (5), and the granulate supply (5) is mounted under an angle < 120° with respect to the height direction of the hopper (1), and in that in the granulate supply (5) a gas supply (11,21,25) is provided with an outlet (27) for supplying gas to the granulate supply (5) in the direction of the outlet (27) of the granulate supply, so as to create a negative pressure at the position of the outlet (11), and in the at in the hopper (1) a separation wall (8) is provided to divide the hopper (1) in two compartments, a first compartment (23) for receiving and supplying the granulate (9) to the granulate supply (5) and a second compartment for supplying air to the granulate supply (5), the first and second compartment (23,24) both giving access to the granulate flow passage (3).
2. A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that it contains means (19) for adjusting the position of the platform (22) in height direction of the second container (12).
3. A device as claimed in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the device comprises means for adjusting the position of the granulate outlet (27) of the granulate supply (5) in a horizontal plane.
4. A device as claimed in any of the claims 1 to 3, characterised in that the granulate outlet (27) is adjustable in height direction of the device.
5. A device as claimed in any one of claims 14, characterised in that the wall (17) of the hopper (1) slants in the direction of the granulate flow passage (3) under an angle of about 6065°.
6. A device as claimed in any one of claims 15, characterised in that the gas supply (11,21,25) comprises at least three, preferably at least five gas supply pipes (25) with an outlet for supplying gas to the granulate supply (5), two gas supply pipes being shifted in height direction of the device towards the hopper (1), the outlet of these two pipes being shifted in a direction pointing away from the outlet (27) of the granulate supply, the remaining three gas supply pipes (25) being shifted in a direction pointing away from the hopper, the outlet of the three pipes (25) being shifted towards the outlet of the granulate supply (27).
7. A device as claimed in any one of claims 16, characterised in that the outlet (27) of the granulate supply (5) is displaceable in a direction away from and towards the granulate supply hole (2) of the lower container (12).
8. A device as claimed in any one of claims 17, characterised in that the hopper (1) is provided with a cover with a hole, and the cover is provided to be mounted on the hopper (1) in such a way that the hole is positioned above the first compartment (23).
9. A device as claimed in any one of claims 18, characterised in that the device is mounted on a platform (22) containing means for hanging it to the lower container (12).
Description:
Device for filling a container The present invention relates to a device as described in the preamble of the first claim.

From US-A-4.819.700 a device is known for loading bulk granular material from a storage bin into a container through an opening in the container, the container being mounted on a cargo carrier. The device comprises a discharge spout with an inlet, which is releasably connectable to a discharge conduit on the storage bin. The device also comprises an outlet for the bulk granular material, which communicates with the container opening to direct the granular material into the container. The discharge spout is supported for movement on a movable platform. The platform is movable transversely of the container length so as to allow the discharge spout to be positioned below the discharge conduit of the storage bin.

The device of US-A-4.819.700 however has the disadvantage that it is not capable of filling the container space distal from the outlet of the discharge spout to a sufficient extent. As the material flows through and out of the device under the influence of gravity only, its velocity is insufficient to allow it to be spread out and thus to allow the parts of the container distal from the discharge spout of the filling device to be filled with it.

It is the aim of the present invention to provide a device with which a container can be virtually completely filled with granular material, directly from a storage bin.

This is achieved according to the present invention with the features of the characterising part of the first claim.

The device of the present invention comprises a hopper which narrows down in a granulate flow passage, through a neck, towards the granulate supply for supplying granulate to the granulate supply hole in the lower container. The granulate supply is mounted under an angle < 120° with respect to the height direction of the hopper, to allow an efficient spreading of the granulate in all directions. The angle is mostly smaller than approximately 120° to allow the granulate to be ejected over a sufficiently large distance and to allow parts and edges of the container distal from the filling device to be filled with granulate. The granulate supply is provided to be preferably positioned with respect to the filling opening of the lower container in such a way that its outlet extends in the interior or at least in the filling opening of the lower container.

In the granulate supply a gas supply with an outlet is provided for supplying a gas into the granulate supply in the direction of the outlet of the granulate supply, i. e. in the direction in which the granulate is ejected, so as to create a under pressure or a negative pressure at the position of the gas outlet. Because gas is directed in the granulate supply with a high flow rate, pressure is decreased at the position where the gas enters the granulate supply, as a consequence of which a suction force is exerted to the granulate in the hopper and the granulate is ejected at high velocity from the granulate supply, together with the gas. The gas outlet is preferably located at or right beyond the position where the neck transfers into the granulate supply, so as to prevent that granulate would end up in the gas supply line. The injection of gas at this position provides an optimum acceleration of the granulate: as the granulate flow still has a small diameter, the suction force is concentrated to a granulate bundle with small section, which results in an improved acceleration and spreading of the granulate as soon as it is ejected from the granulate supply.

In height direction of the hopper a separation wall is provided, by means of which the hopper is divided into a first and a

second compartment, both compartments being connected to the neck.

The separation wall may extend over virtually the whole height of the hopper or may have a smaller height as the hopper. The first compartment is provided for receiving and transferring the granulate to the granulate supply through the granulate flow passage and the neck. The second compartment is provided for supplying air to the granulate supply thus facilitating the flowing of the granulate through the hopper. The additional suppletion of air through the second compartment involves that an additional acceleration is implied to the granulate. In that way the acceleration implied by the negative pressure is further increased and the flow rate of the granulate through the device and thus the filling rate and extent of filling of the container can be improved without involving the risk that an envelope provided in the container to avoid contamination of the granulate, gets damaged. The route followed by the granulate after it has been ejected from the outlet of the granulate supply, is mostly arcuate, the granulate being widely spread out in several directions. With the device of this invention a granulate flow rate of 40 ton/hour can be achieved. This is not possible with the devices known from the art.

In US-A-4.009.912 a pneumatic device is disclosed for feeding pulverulent, powdery, granular or liquid material from a container to and through a pipeline over a relatively long distance. The apparatus is mounted in the container and comprises a delivery chute through which the product flows from the container in downward direction through a sealable neck into a transition chamber. The material flow takes place under the influence of both gravity and a suction force from the side of the transition chamber. The suction force is created by injecting a high velocity gas stream into the transition chamber in the direction of the pipeline over a predetermined distance, as a consequence of which a region of pressure lower than atmospheric pressure is created in the transition chamber. The product is entrained from the transition chamber into the pipeline, by the high velocity gas stream. Usual gas pressures are

20-45 psi. The material flow is facilitated by a gas pressure directed along the surface of the delivery chute. Furthermore, to give the material a sufficient velocity as it leaves the transition chamber, it is accelerated as it flows through the pipeline, by means of a high velocity gas flow directed along the wall of the pipeline. The material is further accelerated in that the large diameter of the transition chamber transfers into a smaller diameter of the pipeline.

The neck is automatically closed off by means of a valve in case the pressure in the main pipeline or the transition chamber increases, to prevent a blowback of the material. The valve is opened by the negative pressure and functions as a means for controlling the material flow rate towards the transition chamber.

US-A-4.009.912 does however not teach to enhance the flow rate of the material through the delivery chute by dividing the latter in two compartments which both give access to the granulate flow passage. Moreover, with the device of the present invention a gas pressure of approximately 8.5-15 psi appears to involve a sufficient acceleration of the granulate to allow distal ends of the container to be loaded with it.

The device of this invention preferably comprises means for adjusting the position of the platform in height direction of the container, so as to allow the position of the outlet of the granulate supply to be adjusted to the position of the filling opening of the lower container. In that way a compact, mobile loading device can be obtained, which is suitable for use in combination with almost all types of silos without involving the need of adapting the silos thereto. The entire device is mobile.

In the neck preferably three, more preferably at least five gas supply lines are provided, two gas supply pipes being shifted in height direction of the device in the direction of the hopper, the outlet of these two pipes being shifted towards the neck in a direction pointing away

from the outlet of the granulate supply; the remaining three gas supply pipes being shifted in the height direction of the device in a direction pointing away from the hopper, the outlet of the three pipes being shifted towards the outlet of the granulate supply. This shifted arrangement provides a uniform distribution of the gas in the granulate supply and thus a uniform acceleration of the granulate over the entire diameter of the granulate supply. The presence of only two gas supply lines in the neighbourhood of the granulate flow passage, allows the granulate to flow from the hopper through the neck into the granulate supply without subjecting a too large resistance.

The device of the present invention preferably comprises means which allow the outlet of the granulate supply to be displaced in height direction of the device. In that way, parts of the container close to the loading device as well as parts distal from the loading device can be filled with granulate, thereby avoiding that too much empty space remains in the container. The device of this invention preferably also comprises means for displacing the outlet of the granulate supply in horizontal direction, so as to allow a good spreading of the granulate and to allow the lower container to be filled with granulate over almost its complete width.

The device of this invention presents the advantage that the granulate supply can be maintained relatively short, so that the contact and impact of the granulate against the wall and the therewith associated degradation of the granulate, the so called formation of angle hair, can be minimised. By limiting the contact time of the granulate with the wall, heating of the granulate during the loading of the container can be minimised.

The hopper is preferably provided with a cover with a hole, which cover is provided to be placed it on top of the hopper in such a way that the hole is located below the upper container and above the first compartment, to prevent that granulate ends up outside the

hopper or in the second compartment through which air is supplied to the granulate supply.

The platform preferably comprises hooks with which it can be hung to the lower container, and be positioned with respect to the filling hole of the container in a simple manner.

Preferred embodiments of the invention are further illustrated in the attached figures and description of the figures.

In figure 1, the loading device of this invention is shown in a position where it is suspended to a container.

In figure 2, a detail of the loading device of this invention is shown.

Figure 3 shows a detail of the granulate supply.

As is shown in figure 1, the loading device of this invention is placed below the outlet of an upper container 10, for receiving granulate 9 from this container 10 and loading it into a lower container 12 positioned below the upper container 10. The upper container 10 preferably contains a control valve with which the flow rate of the granulate from the container can be controlled.

The loading device comprises a platform 22 with means for attaching it to the lower container 12. The means may for example include hooks with which the container is suspended to the lower container 12, which is to be filled with the granulate 9. The presence of the hooks 19 allows an optimal positioning of the loading device with respect to the lower container 12. If so desired, other means known to the man skilled in the art can be used for adapting the position of the platform 22 with respect to the lower container 12.

The upper container 10 can for example be a silo which is mostly positioned at a fixed distance from the ground. The lower container 12 is for example a container provided for mounting on a truck. The lower container 12 contains an interior volume 15 for containing the granulate 9. The interior volume 15 is surrounded by a wall 13 and

contains a back wall 13 in which at least one granulate supply hole 2 is provided for supplying the granulate 9 to the interior 15. The granulate supply hole 2 can for example be formed by a door opening in the back wall of the container 12 or by a hole provided it this back wall. It is however also possible to load the granulate through a hole in any other wall of the container 10.

The loading device shown in figure 3 comprises a hopper 1 for receiving granulate 9 from the upper container 10. The hopper can have widely varying shapes, for example the shape of an inverted pyramid, or an inverted truncated cone or any other suitable shape known to the man skilled in the art. The wall 17 of the hopper 1 slants in the direction of the neck 4, preferably under an angle of about 60- 65°, more preferably about 62°. It has namely been found that with such a slope, an optimal flow of the granulate 9 can be obtained.

The hopper 1 narrows in downward direction into a granulate flow passage 3, which gives access to a neck 4. The neck 4 is bent in the direction of and is connected to the granulate supply 5. In that way, granulate flows from the hopper through the neck towards the granulate supply 5. The granulate supply 5 preferably forms an angle with the height direction of the hopper 1, which is less than or equal to approximately 120°. The angle is preferably approximately 30° so as to allow the granulate to be ejected from the granulate supply 5 over a sufficiently long distance and a sufficiently wide angle. In that way empty space in the lower container 12 can be reduced to a minimum.

In height direction of the hopper 1 a separation wall 8 is provided for dividing the hopper 1 into a first and a second compartment 23,24. The first compartment 23 is provided for receiving granulate 9 from the upper container 10 and supplying it in the direction of the granulate flow passage 3. The second compartment 24 is provided for supplying an air flow in the direction of the granulate flow passage 3 and improving and accelerating the flow of the granulate 9 through the hopper

1. The separation wall 8 preferably extends towards the granulate flow passage 3, so that both the first and second compartment 23,24 end up in the granulate flow passage 3 and give access to the neck 4. The separation wall 8 extends for example approximately parallel to one of the walls 17 of the hopper 1 and connects opposite walls of the hopper 1 with each other. It is also possible that the second compartment extends along the hopper wall 17. The separation wall 8 preferably extends over the entire height of the hopper 1, but may have a smaller or larger height.

The hopper may be covered with a removably mounted cover to avoid that granulate ends up outside the hopper 1 and is lost. The cover contains a hole through which the granulate 9 can flow from the upper container 10 towards the lower container 12.

The walls of the hopper 1 preferably transfer into each other in a seamless manner to avoid that any granulate remains in the hopper and that a subsequent granulate batch would be contaminated with a former batch.

As is shown in figure 3, in the granulate supply 5 a gas supply 18 is provided for supplying gas at a high flow rate in the granulate supply 5, in the direction of the outlet 27 thereof. Thereto gas, preferably air with a pressure of approximately 5-20 psi, preferably approximately 8.5-15 psi is used. The gas pressure can be for example adapted to the flow rate of the granulate desired, and to the dimensions of the lower container 12 that needs to be loaded with granulate. In that way at the position right beyond the outlet 11 of the gas supply lines 25 a negative pressure, i. e. a pressure below atmospheric can be created, as a consequence of which granulate is sucked from the hopper 1 into the granulate supply 5, accelerated by the gas in the direction of the outlet 27 and the granulate supply hole 2 and ejected and spread out in the lower container 12. The gas supply device can be any device known to the man skilled in the art, for example a fan 20. The fan 20 and the means for controlling the gas flow rate are preferably also mounted on the platform.

The gas supply 18 preferably comprises a gas supply pipe 21 connected to the fan. The pip 21 preferably transfers into at least three, or at least five smaller supplies 25, which extend throughout the neck into the granulate supply 5. The gas supply pipes preferably extend parallel with each other and with the wall 26 of the granulate supply to hinder the flow of the granulate 9 as few as possible. The outlet 18 of the gas supply pipes is preferably located in the granulate supply 5 to avoid that granulate flowing down from the hopper would end up in the gas supply.

As is shown in figure 3, preferably, two gas supply pipes are shifted in height direction of the device towards the hopper 1, the outlet of these two pipes being shifted in a direction pointing away from the outlet of the granulate supply 27, whereas the remaining three gas supply pipes are shifted in a direction pointing away from the hopper 1, the outlet of the three pipes being shifted towards the outlet 27 of the granulate supply 5. This shifted arrangement provides a uniform distribution of the gas in the granulate supply and thus a uniform acceleration of the granulate over the entire diameter of the granulate supply 5. The presence of only two gas supply lines in the neighbourhood of the granulate flow passage 3 allows the granulate to flow from the hopper 1 through the neck 4 into the granulate supply 5 without subjecting a too large resistance. The diameter of the gas supply pipes 25 is preferably adapted to the size of the granulate supply 5 so as to allow the passage of the granulate through the hopper 1 to proceed as fast as possible.

The flow rate with which the gas is supplied is preferably adjustable so as to allow the flow rate of the granulate 9 towards the granulate supply hole 2 to be adapted to the granulate.

The granulate supply 5 preferably has an elongated shape, and is maintained as short as possible to minimise the

contact of the granulate 9 with the wall of the granulate supply 5 and to minimise the risk of degradation of the granulate.

The combination of the hopper 1, neck 4 and granulate supply 5 is preferably rotatably mounted on the platform 22 in vertical and horizontal direction, and displaceable towards and from the lower container 12. The displaceable mounting in horizontal direction allows that the container is filled with granulate over its entire width. The platform 22 further preferably comprises an electrical control panel for controlling the fan. The loading device can be controlled from the platform 22.

With the platform of this invention widely varying types of granulate can be transported form an upper to a lower container, for example granulates of a plastics material or coffee. The shape of the granules may vary for example from almost ball shaped to oval or cylindrical or any desired shape.

The flow rate of the granulate from the silo 10 to the hopper 1 is preferably adjustable. Means for adjusting this flow rate may be the means generally known to the man skilled in the art. The means may include means for controlling the control valve provided at the outlet of the silo.

The device of this invention may be operated as follows. In the interior 15 of the lower container 12 a plastic envelope is inserted to avoid contamination of the granulate 9. The loading device is attached to the door opening 19 of the lower container 12 through the hooks 19. The outlet 27 of the granulate supply 5 is inserted into the plastic envelope. The lower container 12 is placed below the silo 10, in such a way that the hole in the cover of the hopper 1 is positioned below the outlet of the silo. The fan 20 is operated, the plastic envelope is filled with air. A gas, preferably air is blown through the gas supply 11,25 at a pressure of approximately 8.5-15 psi to create a negative pressure at the outlet 18 of the gas supply. The outlet of the silo 10 is opened, granulated

9 flows in the hopper 1 and from the hopper 1 through the first compartment 23 and the venturi 4,5 towards the container. The uniform distribution of the air from the gas supply 11,25 in the granulate supply 5 involves a uniform acceleration of the granulate in the granulate supply 5.

This in turn allows to obtain a uniform and wide spreading of the granulate 9 in the lower container so that the risk to damaging the plastic envelope is minimised. The fan 20 can be provided with a frequency adapter to vary the gas pressure and allow containers 12 with varying dimensions to be filled with granulate.