To streamline filling operation and increase efficiency as part of a new ISO program, Fuchs turned to Franklen Equipment who specializes in flow meter batching systems.

Fuchs Lubricants, Harvey, IL, a manufacturer of machining lubricants and hydraulic fluids, used to fill its 55-gallon drums with product using a scale in the traditional fashion. Empty drums were moved onto the scale platform, where the empty weight, or tare weight, of the drum was taken and added to the total net product weight. Once the drum was filled, a forklift truck was needed to move the drum from the scale platform to a pallet. This process required a lot of material handling, not to mention the workforce and floor space needed. Furthermore, when the scale failed to trip the control valve, lube oil shot out the bunghole and sprayed over the work area.

To streamline filling operation and increase efficiency as part of a new ISO program, Fuchs turned to Franklen Equipment, a New Lenox, IL, company specializing in flow meter batching systems. The company was able to offer an automatic drum-filling system that used a coriolis mass flowmeter capable of filling drums by mass (in pounds or kilograms) or volume. There is no need to find the tare weight and add it to the product weight to establish gross weight.

Benefits of the new system included the following.

  • It had a much smaller footprint than a scale platform drum-weighing arrangement.
  • It is portable.
  • It has inherent overfill spill protection, as the meter senses the mass prior to it arriving in the drum; the scale senses the mass after the drum has been filled.

This last feature has OSHA and EPA connotations, as product spilled on the plant floor can present physical and environmental hazards. Simply put, the metering system has “prior knowledge,” and with this information action can be automatically taken to prevent spills. The scale weighing system has “post knowledge” — too late to prevent spills.

Franklen offers a standard filler, a portable unit mounted on a wheeled cart. However, Fuchs needed a stationary filler that could operate in close quarters. Franklen was able to customize the filler unit and add other features that were needed to achieve the desired results. For example, some of the products the company manufactures are somewhat foamy. When low flow startup was added, the first 30% were able to be delivered at a programmable reduced flow rate.

Another customized feature was a semi-automatic blow-down operation that allowed Fuchs to use plant air to purge the system. This reduced waste between product changes.

Since the new system was installed, Fuchs is now able to fill drums in half the time and with half the number of workers needed. It allowed for a manufacturing bottleneck to be opened, and for production floor space to be saved as well. Fuchs has since purchased three more filling systems, and is considering a fifth for a high-viscosity product.

For more information on filling systems, contact Franklen Equipment Inc., 2324 E. Washington St., New Lenox, IL 60451-0700; phone 815/727.9600; fax 815/727.9619.