Equipment & Technology

Aurora Process Solutions brings bulk baggers to the future

Aurora Process Solutions is using augmented reality to help bulk baggers bring their operations into the 21st Century.

Aurora Process Solutions is using augmented reality to help bulk baggers bring their operations into the 21st Century.

Manually bagging bulk materials exposes workers to risks. With bags weighing up to one tonne, if something goes wrong it isn’t easy to stop or control.

In addition, dust created through the bagging process can be harmful, especially if it is materials used in the construction industry. Rock, sand, gravel, and clay can create silica dust, which if inhaled, can cause the potentially deadly disease silicosis.

Manually closing bags is also often a slow process, can lack uniformity and means workers are spending more time around heavy, moving machinery.

Braden Goddin, Sales and Marketing Manager at Aurora Process Solutions says an increase in compliance requirements for safety and dust control has created more demand for innovations in bagging and decanting bulk products.

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“One key innovation is the PanPac fully automated bagging system – it’s a high-speed filling and closing system designed for automatically processing one, two, and four loop bulk bags in industrial applications,” he says.

The PanPac system handles bag presenting, filling, and closing. It can handle a wide range of bulk bag types and can be retrofitted into existing process lines or supplied as part of a turnkey solution.

“The bulk bags are placed on a reel instead of in a magazine format and are then automatically presented to the filling unit with a robotic arm,” he says.

“There has also been a lot of advances in the sealing of closed bulk bags using heat, ultrasonic or an automatic cable tying system. They create a strong and uniform seal with good integrity.

“Manual bagging systems are often closed by the tuck-in valve, or manually knotted using a drawstring closure. This takes a reasonable amount of time, during which the bag is stationary, creating a bottleneck.”

Uniform bags can also help when it comes to shipping, as it is easier and safer to stack and fill containers with bags that have a consistent envelope.

The system can also be fitted with a dust extraction device on the filling head, and when combined with an ultrasonic, heat or automatic cable tie closing system, can effectively eliminate dust emissions in the process.

Aurora’s automation advancement

Aurora works with small-to-medium enterprises to provide end-to-end services for manufacturers of bulk products, including grain, seed, flour, cement, and stockfeed. Its products include semi- and fully automated machinery to automate the packaging, conveying, conditioning, and palletising of commodities.

One such company is Biomar, a Tasmanian-based aquaculture feed manufacturer. The company needed a bagging system for its new facility and after weighing up the pros and cons, decided it needed an automated bulk bagging system to meet its production requirements.

Aurora worked with its Denmark-based partners at PanPac to provide a solution that would fit Biomar’s needs. When the bagging system was installed, Aurora supplied the company with a set of HoloLens glasses for maintenance, optimisation, and training.

Goddin says the Biomar uses augmented reality to link staff members on site with technicians in New Zealand or Denmark.

“This removes the tyranny of distance, which is vital for high volume businesses that can’t afford to wait for time zones or flights. When you put the HoloLens on, the program recognises the equipment and makes available assets like operations manuals to provide text and video-based instructions as well as a live feed to technicians,” he says.

Aurora will be exhibiting at BULK2021, and Goddin says the company will have an augmented reality experience on display at the event.

“You’ll be able to walk around and use the augmented and mixed reality to see how it works and how it could help your operation. It’s bringing military technology to the bulk materials industry.”

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