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Russell Finex Ltd

Safeguarding your product, your operators and your future

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


FELTHAM (GB) – Increasingly, manufacturing industry around the world is subject to regulations and legislation affecting quality control measures and environmental factors.

The trend in the process industry, as for all industries today, is for more and more efficient use of plant and people's time. This is reflected in screening by the ever demanding requirements of processors for high efficiency – maximum throughput for minimum capital cost ' low running and maintenance costs, greater life of wearing parts, high reliability (minimal downtime) and ever finer screening with no blinding of the sieve mesh.

The challenge for the plant or process engineer is to select the most suitable equipment to obtain the best performance.

To understand the role a Russell 3 in 1 sieving station can play in assisting to achieve this, it is first important to understand the standards that need to be met.

The introduction of the COSHH regulations requires firms of all sizes to provide proper controls and safeguards in the workplace, where people may be exposed to hazardous substances. For example, the inhalation of dust can prove harmful and factory inspectors will not permit work to proceed continuously where only makeshift protection is provided. Alleged contravention of the regulations can lead to prosecution under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Ignorance is not an acceptable defence. All reasonable precautions must be taken and due diligence exercised to avoid committing an offence.

The pharmaceutical industry has adopted even stricter quality control in response to mounting pressure to conform to G.M.P. requirements and accepted codes of practice. Companies operating in the U.K. food industry are required to meet the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990; failure to comply can result in financial penalties, imprisonment and even the total closing down of a business.

Russell Finex were the first to identify the need for a high capacity check screening system that would contain dust and fit readily into existing process lines. Designed for low-level bag emptying and check screening of raw materials, the 3 in 1 sieving station has been developed to help companies in processing industries such as food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

In industries where hygiene standards are of the highest order, operator protection is of paramount importance, and product quality must be beyond criticism the Russell 3 in 1 system can play a vital role. The performance of the 3 in 1 system has been specified to meet the demands of the highest standards and the strictest control measures.

The low level bag emptying station is manufactured throughout in stainless steel. The dust hood is designed to connect with any existing dust extraction system and is integrated with a sieve deck to provide a dust-tightinterface, eliminating the need for a flexible connector and, thereby, increasing hygiene efficiency. Clearance between the sieve outlet and the floor is sufficient to take a typical wheeled bin. The bag tipping height has been determined with the operator in mind and follows Health and Safety Executive guidance on manual handling tasks.

There is an optional 'post box' through which empty bags can be transferred by the operator to a sealed container or a bag compactor to further reduce dust levels.

The high capacity stainless steel sieve is manufactured with a choice of surface finishes to satisfy the quality control standards of the various processing industries. A range of interchangeable meshes is available to suit various application requirements. The sieve is easy to clean down between batches and product changes, and requires only the minimum of maintenance and the quick disassembly of contact parts can be performed without the use of tools. The Compact sieve is also extremely quiet in operation, typically less than 70dBA.

Seated beneath the mesh is a magnetic trap to catch ferrous particles which are smaller than the mesh size. Standard or rare earth magnets are available.

Where bagged ingredients are used, particularly in the food and pharmaceutical industries, check screening is essential to remove items such as pieces of paper and string and, possibly, hazardous materials. The opening and tipping of bags is usually a dusty operation, made even worse by handling empty bags, and potentially injurious to health.

One company who have utilised the developments of the 3 in 1 are Thompson & Capper, a major manufacturer of quality vitamin and mineral supplement tablets and capsules. Prior to purchasing a Russell unit the company were using a standard sieve with no direct dust extraction facility or table for the operative to rest the bag for tipping. The operative held the bag over the sieve whilst feeding the contents in with a scoop. The sieve would discharge the screened powder into an open topped tub positioned under the sieve. All of these actions resulted in dust being generated in and around the sieve.

The new system provided solutions for all of these problems.There is now a sack tipping rest set at operator height. Having both a hood at the top and a pneumatic convey hose connection at the bottom dramatically reduces dust generation.

This system is completely self contained and fully enclosed under the sieve. The product is sieved straight through to an entrainment pot which is directly attached to the conveying hose and the conical mixing vessel used for blending materials prior to processing into the final'The new machine is integral to the powder transfer system and is far more ergonomic. It minimizes the physical effort for the operator and results in far less cleaning. The old sieve is still operational and being used for standard sieving.'

A major food manufacturer have also utilised the flexibility of the 3 in 1 by having specific modifications made to overcome collection problems when check screening all bags on opening. Previous machinery failed to provide the necessary bag rest and no extraction. The new machine offered immediate solutions with a tipping platform and dust extraction, however collection of the final product was still an issue. No conveying of the product after sieving was possible, either by spiral or vacuum due to the cleaning problems inherent with thirty different food powders having to be sieved, meaning the final product needed to be collected in a wheelie bin. Restrictions with the headroom in the plant and the measurements of the bin itself meant the standard 3 in 1 tipping height was correct but it did not allow collection of sufficient quantities.

The solution lay in re-engineering the design and making the entire sieving area more compact. The tipping height was maintained but the machine size was adjusted to allow for the wheelie bin and still collect the correct material quantity per run.

When considering the main factors which will affect the selection of the most suitable screening equipment thought must be given to the purpose of screening, the properties of the material to be screened and the operational features and benefits of the equipment available in today's markets.

With over 75 years experience Russell Finex have established the importance of the thorough evaluation of materials and equipment. Developments are continuously influenced by the recognition and understanding of the implications of ever stricter legislation and requirementsof the customer in the manufacturing industry.

© Russel Finex / Hollandsch Digital Media