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Ingredient Masters, Inc., has introduced an innovative system for sequentially introducing dry and liquid materials to a mixer. The heart of the system is a “Super Sack” bulk material handling system, which incorporates multiple air-actuated dispensing hoppers, a robotic scale cart which moves between them, and an innovative, space-saving support structure. Dispensers are polyethylene, and with capacities between 3.5 cu. ft. and 105 cu. ft. There are ten standard dispenser sizes. Other components include a vacuum transfer system, a fiber handling (“loss-in-weight”) scale hopper, and a 50-lb. bag handling system with multiple hoppers. The hoppers are agitated, and are equipped with screw feeders; they discharge above a common platform scale. The liquid handling portion of the system discharges three to seven ingredients; surge tanks feed continuously and are refilled via gravity flow each time a full tote is connected to the system.
Centralized computer control is via an Allen Bradley PLC and a PC. Software is Allen-Bradley RSLogic 5000 for the PLC logic and RSView for operator graphics. A Microsoft Access database stores recipe and ingredient information, and records batch data. An unlimited number of recipes can be stored; each is date-stamped with the most recent revision or approval. A master list of ingredients, including operating parameters for each, is maintained in the database. The system maintains a deductive inventory for each dispensing hopper and tracks ingredient lot numbers for recording in the batch data.