After its introduction more than 40 years ago, the big bag has become indispensable in industrial production. What began as a low-budget container for the simplest raw materials and debris is now increasingly being used for more sensitive raw materials. This means that with some bulk materials, the almost dust-free and safe emptying of the big bag can be extremely demanding due to their physical properties.
This process, formerly known as "dust-free emptying of big bags", is currently under a closer review. New legal requirements and guidelines as well as the use of raw materials that can be dangerous for the operator, also make this imperative. Especially in the field of additive manufacturing with metal powders or alternative drive technologies, such as in electromobility, manufacturing processes - which in the past were only carried out on a laboratory scale - have grown to industrial scale. This is where the container form, that was known as low-budget packaging in its early days, is now making its grand entrance: the big bag.
This so-called glove box is of essential importance, especially for critical, toxic or potentially hazardous raw materials, such as those used in battery production.
A sophisticated suction system with pre-filter and HEPA 13 filter works closely with the housing to provide optimum protection for the operator. Once the big bag is securely connected to the system, emptying takes place under OEB 3 standard. The air volume remaining in the empty big bag, which still contains residual particles of the critical raw material, is evacuated directly after emptying. In this way, the empty volume is extremely reduced and dust leakage from the empty big bag is kept to a minimum. The necessary manual activities that have to be carried out with the help of gloves, as well as the connection and emptying processes, are combined with the new emptying system in the glovebox. But why go to all this effort?
The particle concentrations measured in the development phase are used as standardized design criteria for new installations. Consequently, a new installation must always be designed and commissioned in partnership between the subsequent operator and the plant manufacturer in order to be able to comply with the necessary AGWs.
Since the legislator's requirements have become more and more stringent in recent years and thus follow the changed acceptance of impairments caused by pollutants, it is obvious that the regulations will also tend to become stricter in the future. The prospect of emptying big bags on an industrial scale in conjunction with the next higher containment level OEB4 (1 µg/m³ to 10µg/m³) will lead to more frequent container changes, especially with regard to the expected higher throughputs in the new industrial plants. This opens up many opportunities for more efficient and economical (partial) automation of big bag emptying processes. Nothing is more constant than change - especially when it comes to legal guidelines. In this context, AZO has its finger on the pulse of the times, recognizes tasks at an early stage and accordingly offers contemporary solutions for special tasks.