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Recirculating spreader-feeder for use in food and sanitary processes

June 29, 2009
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Recirculating spreader-feeder evenly distributes powder and bulk coatings onto food products as they pass between the unit''s longitudinal discharge hopper and its lower collection hopper. The fully-mobile unit is positioned so that a wire conveyor belt with items to be coated passes immediately above the unit''s lower collection hopper as a uniform curtain of the coating material descends from the upper discharge hopper. A center-less auger along the bottom of the longitudinal collection hopper feeds material into the intake adapter of a side-mounted flexible screw conveyor that moves the material at a 75-degree incline into a horizontally-oriented conveyor positioned above a longitudinal discharge hopper. The horizontal conveyor has multiple discharge ports to apportion material across the length of the discharge hopper, and automatically starts and stops to maintain a preset fill level in the hopper. A small-diameter rotating agitator along the bottom of the hopper promotes uniform discharge through an adjustable screen that spans a gap along the hopper bottom. The conveyors employed are reportedly able to move both free- and non-free-flowing materials, including products that pack, cake, smear or degrade, with no separation of blended products such as seed mixes and spice blends, regardless of disparities in bulk density or particle size. Suitable for food and other sanitary applications, the system features all-stainless construction including motors and vibrators, and quick-disconnect fittings for thorough, rapid wash down.
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