Conveying methods for tea are critical; moving it efficiently while ensuring that the product going into the final package has an unchanged particle distribution. This proves to be a challenge for most conveyors.
Solutions in the tea industry have ranged over the years from bucket, screw, drag, dilute and dense phase pneumatic conveying systems. Each system has strengths and weaknesses, but there is no question that a void has existed in the marketplace for a conveying system that can move tea long distances without product degradation.
In order to accommodate various food industries, MPE developed the Chain-Vey®, a tubular drag chain system that utilizes 316 stainless steel chain to gently move tea utilizing directly molded-on, food-grade “pucks” that are pulled by the chain through a stainless steel tube. This chain is extremely durable (10,000 lbs. tensile strength) and will not stretch, fray or deteriorate in any other manner. The result is an extremely energy efficient system that protects the tea from damage declassification and segregation.
Turns, or corners, in the system are accommodated through the use of “sweeps” that can range from 10 – 90º and are designed to minimize friction. When necessary, “live corners” are utilized to facilitate long runs and multiple turn situations. Once the tea reaches one of several destination points, it is discharged utilizing a drop bottom valve whose design maximizes product integrity, eliminates leakage and minimizes carry-over.
Additionally, Chain-Vey conveyors allow operators to quickly see product fill, and process status (ex: where tea is being discharged) by the use of sight glass tubes in the conveying lines and windows at all drives, discharge valves and tension units. Typical power requirements for the Chain-Vey are as little as 1 HP and, when compared to alternative conveying systems, such as dilute or dense-phase pneumatic systems, the energy savings can be as much as 90%. Assume that the requirement exists for a 100 foot conveyor length at a run rate of 12 hrs/day and 250 days/yr., a Chain-Vey will achieve electrical energy savings of up to 90%, or up to $5,000/yr. on a single conveyor.