The sticky business of syrup making equipment and stainless steel valves
EAGLE SYRUP FILL VALVES
By Larry Bush
Summary: "An article about the sticky business of syrup making equipment and stainless steel valves."
The syruper Fill-To-Level (FTL) machine on four Eagle snack cup production lines would sometimes fault from low syrup levels or the Operator would notice cups on the line with low levels of syrup. This condition usually occurred due to the air operated stainless steel valve in the syrup fill line. The valve would become partially or totally plugged with solidified product and sugar.
Usually, the valve could be operated on and off rapidly, manually, by switching the supply air from one air fitting to the other on the valve causing it to open and shut. This action would usually free up the valve internally. The syrup is hot and with the mechanical action of the opening and closing, the valve would become clear and operate freely.
Sometimes, a valve would totally freeze up. Recently, I was called to Eagle 2 FTL Syruper to assist with low syrup levels. I checked the operation of the valve and it was not opening or shutting completely. The syrup reservoir tank was filling very slowly and the Eagle could only be run at a reduced pace.
I could find no spare valve for the air operated syrup valve to the fill-to-level syrup bin on the syruper. There were no spare parts to rebuild a valve, either. Four of these valves are installed, one for each eagle.
All four lines are running at the same time. There is no way to isolate one syrup valve individually. The entire syrup line to all four Eagles must be shut down and the syrup line drained, the valve removed and repaired, reinstalled and then the line refilled. Then all four Eagle lines can be restarted
This situation could be alleviated by the purchase of: 1) one more air operated, stainless steel syrup valves; 2) the purchase of four rebuild kits; 3) the purchase of four stainless steel, manual, isolation valves; and 4) the installation of these four isolation valves just upstream of the air operated syruper valves on each machine.
We continue to have problems with these valves not opening fully. The syrup level drops and there are cups with low levels of syrup. The cost of these items and the installation of the isolation valves would be more than justified by the reduction in downtime and low fill levels.
By having the spare valves on hand and the individual isolation valves installed, the individual line could be stopped, the isolation valve shut, the air operated valve replaced, the isolation valve reopened, and the Eagle line restarted. Only one line would be stopped for the short time it would take to replace the valve and restart the line.
The plugged valve could then be removed to the shop for cleaning and/or rebuild. After repairs, the valve would be placed into the parts room for the next problem situation.
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About the Author: Larry Bush has been an electrician for 47 years, and in maintenance management for 22 years. Download his new e-Book "Maintenance Policy and Procedures Manual" !!Please copy this article onto your websites, just keep all links and credits in place. Thank You