Issue: Green Coffee Beans- Bulk Automated Unloading Project

The existing unloading process was labor intensive and required frequent manual adjustments to successfully unload a trailer. The goal of the project was to automatically unload all connected trailers, and limit the required manual tasks by operators for connecting and disconnection of the pneumatic hoses at the start and finish of each unloading process.

InLine Engineers designed, installed, and successfully commissioned a new automated unloading system capable of unloading green coffee beans at rates exceeding 50,000 lbs/hr, while meeting the bean breakage specification, with zero operator intervention during the unload process and then switching from an empty trailer to a full trailer to continue the unloading process without any manual intervention.

The system design involved several aspects including retrofitting the existing trailer hopper discharge manual valves with actuated valves, construction of a new trailer unloading canopy structure, and design and installation of an actuated chocking system to secure a parked trailer during unloading.  Another key aspect to the project was the dilute phase pneumatic conveyance system design, which involved critical equipment selection, proper piping design and system sizing.

An important aspect of the design was the controls integration to automate the product release from the trailers, maintain system conveyance pressures and velocities for achieving the design unloading rate, and programming safeguards to automatically detect and prevent line plugging. InLine Engineers designed, constructed and , commissioned the systems, and trained operations and maintenance personnel prior to turning the system over to the customer.