The Sweeper

Oct. 29, 2008
'The Sweeper(TM)'from Maguire Replaces Bulky and Expensive Tilters and Eliminates Need for an Operator to Vacuum the Bottom of a Gaylord Over and Over

'The Sweeper(TM)'from Maguire Replaces Bulky and Expensive Tilters and Eliminates Need for an Operator to Vacuum the Bottom of a Gaylord Over and Over When Resin Levels Are Low

ASTON, PENNSYLVANIA, One of the most vexing problems for plastics processors whose resin is supplied in Gaylord boxes is how to completely empty these containers without wasting operator time or resorting to cumbersome box tilters. Now a new device called The Sweeper(TM) forever solves that problem, reducing labor and material waste, saving energy and plant space, and avoiding the high cost and safety issues of conventional tilt tables, according to Maguire Products, Inc.

The Sweeper continuously sweeps the length and breadth of the top level of resin in the container, reaching into every corner, as it uses vacuum to transfer the resin to a processing machine or dryer. The device descends along with the level of resin in the Gaylord until the container is empty. Because The Sweeper removes resin from the Gaylord without unwanted interruptions, there is no need for operators to stand by to ensure that the processing machine does not run out of material or that un-dried material does not enter the process.

"We've designed The Sweeper to serve as a safe, sensible device that works with any standard loading system and takes up only a few more inches of space than the Gaylord itself," said Steve Maguire, president of Maguire Products and inventor of The Sweeper. "Even as resin levels become very low, the device continues doing its job without operator intervention, until there is nothing left in the Gaylord but a few scattered pellets amounting to less than a handful."

A Gaylord is a bulk container made of heavy-duty corrugated paperboard, sized to fit on a standard pallet, and typically holding 1,000 to 1,500 lb. (450 to 680 kg) of resin. As material levels in a Gaylord get lower and lower, the conventional lance or wand at the end of the vacuum conveying line repeatedly becomes uncovered unless the operator moves it, and as levels get very low the operator typically has to use the lance to "vacuum up" remaining material. Alternatively, some processors have employed tilters that use powerful hydraulics to lift heavily loaded Gaylords; these take up twice the floor space of the Gaylord itself and have pinch points that present safety issues for workers.

Mode of Operation for The Sweeper(TM) Is Simple and Safe

The Sweeper is mounted on a structural steel stand that straddles the Gaylord, giving access to a forklift truck or pallet jack for putting full Gaylords in place or removing empties. Above the Gaylord is a set of vertical rails on which a counter-balanced trolley can move up and down. The trolley carries a standard aluminum conveying tube, which in turn is coupled to a lower, rotating tube that is driven by a very low-speed (1 rpm) gear motor.

The rotating action of the tube drives a transverse sweeping device that moves over the top of the load of resin pellets like a sled through snow, driving pellets from the center of the Gaylord to the sides. There the pellets are vacuumed up by the slotted end segment of a 3-foot (0.9-m) flexible hose that is affixed to the bottom of the rotating tube. As the vertical tube rotates, the flexible hose is dragged along the top of the Gaylord contents in a swept-back, trailing manner that enables it to reach not only along the four sides of the Gaylord but into every corner.

A vacuum switch ensures that The Sweeper is operating only while the vacuum loading system is pulling material. As a result, The Sweeper is always in "ready" mode and does not have to be manually started or stopped. The entire unit plugs into a standard 115 volt outlet and requires less than 2 amps.

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