In 2018 managers at Yalumba Family Winemakers – Australia’s oldest family-owned winery – heard that tartaric acid was about to double in price. So they switched from liquid tartaric acid to a granular form supplied in one-tonne bulk bags. This required the installation of a bulk bag discharger. Yalumba senior process engineer Luke Wilson began researching bulk bag dischargers requiring minimal human intervention from manufacturers with experience in handling tartaric acid.
Yalumba specified a BULK-OUT™ bulk bag discharger with an integral flexible screw conveyor from Flexicon Corporation Australia. It was delivered and installed within eight weeks of order confirmation, allowing the winery to mix tartaric acid granules with water prior to the grape-crushing phase of the process.
Transferring contents of an entire bag to the mixing tank
The BULK-OUT discharger is equipped with a removable bag-lifting frame used to forklift full bags from the plant floor into the discharger frame. To unload a bag, an operator pulls the bag spout into a hopper intake chute equipped with a side access door, sealing ring and filter sock to contain dust. Untying the spout’s drawstring allows material to fill a 110-litre floor hopper with side wall angles engineered to promote flow into the charging adapter of the flexible screw conveyor. The flexible screw conveyor can transfer tartaric acid three metres at a 48-degree incline at rates to 4.25 cu m/h.
“From an operations point of view, loading the discharger is quite simple,” Luke says. “We don’t require anything fancy and can mix a bulk bag in under an hour, which for us was important. We were able to exceed our production requirements. Our business is making wine. We’re not experts in powder handling and conveying, and because we were on a really tight timeframe, we relied on the expertise of the guys from Flexicon. The system is quite simple. It just works.”