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Publication numberUS3741440 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 26, 1973
Filing dateNov 5, 1971
Priority dateNov 5, 1971
Publication numberUS 3741440 A, US 3741440A, US-A-3741440, US3741440 A, US3741440A
InventorsW Sanders
Original AssigneeMet Eng Co De
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular blending system
US 3741440 A
Abstract
Easily assembled and disassembled modular blending plants are provided having demountable operative units organized to permit ready modification of capability and capacity of the blending plant. The modules are organized into a rectangular superstructure. The operating units are arranged in a predetermined vertical relationship, being supported by platform cross beams of a predesigned organization.
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United States Patent [1 1 Sanders, Jr.

[ June 26, 1973 MODULAR BLENDING SYSTEM [75] Inventor: ,William I. Sanders, Jr., Oakland,

Calif.

[73] Assignee: De Met Engineering Company,

Oakland, Calif.

[22] Filed: Nov. 5, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 195,957

[52] US. Cl 222/132, 222/181, 259/165 [51] Int. Cl B67d 5/60 [58] Field of Search 222/143, 181, 185, 222/1, 132; 52/236, 650, 185, 637; 259/165 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,617,031 11/1971 Paris 259/165 2,900,109- 8/1959 Hoopes et a1 222/181 X 3,255,927 6/1966 Rupert et al 222/143 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 636,397 1/1928 France 259/165 Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-John P. Shannon Attorney-Charles E. Townsend, Jr. et al.

[57] ABSTRACT Easily assembled and disassembled modular blending plants are provided having demountable operative units organized to permit ready modification of capability and capacity of the blending plant. The modules are organized into a rectangular superstructure. The operating units are arranged in a predetermined vertical relationship, being supported by platform cross beams of a predesigned organization.

7 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PMENIEB JUIIZB 1875 INVENTOR WILLIAM I. SANDERS JR.

1 ATTORNEYS PAIENIEDmzs ms 3. 741. 4 40 saw a or 7 INVENTOR.

WILLIAM I. SANDERS JR.

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ATTORNEYS PAIENIEBJBIIZB ms 3 741 440 SHEEI 6 0f 7 FlG 7 INVENTOR.

WILLIAM l. SANDERS JR.

ATTORNEYS PAIENIEDJURS ms 3. 741.440

' an II 7 INVENTOR g WILLIAM l. SANDERS JR.

ATTORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention Blending plants find wide use in varied industries. Because so many products employed today, either in their final form or as intermediates are combinations of materials which must be homogeneously blended, blending plants have become important elements in many manufactories. With the variety of uses for blending plants, even in the manufactory, versatility is frequently an essential element for a blending plant.

Blending plants find use with manufacturers of basic raw materials, who wish to supply the raw material which has been modified in a variety of ways. For example, polymer manufacturers may wish to supply their polymer blended with a variety of dyes, stabilizers, and plasticizers. Alternatively, the manufacturer may supply the raw material to a blender who will custom blend upon order from a user. Finally, the user of the raw material may have a sufficient requirement to have its own blending plant.

In providing blending capacity, industry has primarily relied upon incorporatingvarious pieces of equipment in a haphazard and disorganized fashion. Normally, existent buildings are used, where the various parts of the blending plant, the connections and controls are subject to the exigencies of the structural elements and conduits present in the building. This has lead to extremely inefficient operation and utilization of space.

Furthermore, because of the nature of the blending plant, it is frequently an added element to an already existing factory. Therefore, the need for the blending plant usually exists at the time the determination to build the blending plant is made. In such situations, speed in assembling the blending plant and having it in operation becomes an economic necessity. In most cases, where blending plants must be built from scratch, significant times must be spent in design, followed by assembling, and then ironing out the various problems which normally result with a custom designed plant.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Individual modular platforms are provided which are spatially coordinated to provide a rectangular framework, whereby a blending plant can be rapidlyassem- DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of an assembled blending plant;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a top module;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of an intermediate module, turned 90 from the views of FIGS. 2 and 4;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a bottom module;

FIG. 5 is a partial side elevational view of an alternative module,

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the module depicted in FIG.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of the framework of an upper module;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the framework of the bottom module.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS The elements of a blending plant require a blender, a measuring apparatus, which may either weigh and feed or meter by a controlled rate of feed, and a source of supply to the metering device. Usually, and most conveniently, hoppers are employed, which with minor components can be filled, as required. While blending plants can be operated in a continuous manner, they are usually operated in a batch manner, employing relatively short time cycles. The equipment is disposed to provide rapid feed from the measuring devices to the mixer or blender, so as to minimize the time taken in introducing the various components into the blender.

The various units are disposed to feed downwardly into the next operating unit, until the materials reach the blender. The blender is also disposed to discharge downwardly. Thus, gravity provides a primary motive force for moving the various materials from one operating unit to another.

Preengineered platforms are provided which are positioned in horizontal overlying relationship employing a basic rectangular superstructure. The platforms are held by upright beams at predetermined elevations, providing the appropriate aligned spatial relationship between the various operating units.

The design of the platform permits the easy mounting and dismounting of various operating units in order to be able to vary the capacity and capability of the plant, without significant modification of the plant. Prior consideration is given to the positioning of the upright beams and the design of the platform for rapid and accurate assembling.

Turning now to consideration of the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an exemplary multitiered blending plant structure with a number of operating units in place. A multitiered modular blending plant 10 is depicted having four platforms, a lower or bottom platform 12, intermediate platforms 14 and 16, and a top platform 20.

The lower platform is elevated and supported by a plurality of upright square beams or piers 22. Mounted on the platform above an opening is a blender 24. Positioned above the blender is a weighing hopper 26, a major component hopper 30 and a fluid hopper 32. The weighing hopper 26, major component hopper 30 and fluid hopper 32 are connected by flexible conduits 34, 36 and 40 respectivelyto the blender 26 through appropriate openings in the top of the blender 24.

Above the weighing hopper 26 in circular array are a plurality of microingredient hoppers 42 having flexible conduits 44 which connect the microingredient hoppers 42 to the weighing hopper 26.

The particular blending plant depicted in FIG. 1 is designed for a maximum of eight microingredients, one major solid ingredient and one liquid ingredient. This plant is sufficiently versatile to supply the needs for a wide variety of blending plants, particularly plastics blending plants and chemical blending plants. However, for other uses, there may be a need for a larger number of fluid storage or feeding vessels or major component storage or feeding vessels. Therefore, while the subject plant is exemplary of the nature and design of a blending plant, and will suffice in a wide variety of applications, it is understood that by minor modifications, variations as to the number and type of ingredients may be readily achieved.

Turning now to a consideration of the individual platforms and their associated equipment, as already indicated the lower platform 12 is elevated from the ground and supported by piers 22. The blender 24 is the last step in the process of blending, and, therefore, the product from the blender 24 will either be packaged or be employed in further processing. To provide a convenient means for unloading the blender, platform 12 is designed in the shape of a large block U 48, as depicted in FIG. 8, having a large outer U shaped structure 45, and a small inner U shaped structure 47. The three sides of the large U shaped structure 45 are three sides of a rectangle, defining the outer frame structure of the modules. The inner U structure 47 is a diminutive of the larger outer U structure 45 and proportional in size. The small U shaped structure 47 has two side beams 46 and an inner cross beam 50. At each of the corners of the large block U, a structural supporting pier 66 is provided for support. The corners of the outer U structure 45 determine the position of the supporting beams of the skeletal structure for the blending plant. Short support beams 49 are mounted on beams 46 to provide a mounting for the blender 24.

The U frame structure provides suitable support for the heavy weight of the blender and the torsional and vibrational forces which result during operation of the blender. The blender has a discharge hatch 52 which discharges downwardly. The inner sides 46 and 50 of the small U structure 47 define an area in which the blender unloads, allowing gravity to cooperate in directing and unloading of the charge from the blender 24.

The blender 24 has a mixture drive motor 54, mixture hydraulic power unit and controls 56 and cleanout doors 60. A removable platform extension 62 is provided to permit repair and maintenance of the blender 24, or other operations which would necessitate room for people to stand while working on the blender. This extension is supported by columns 64 and can be readily removed.

The corner pillars or piers 66 carry the main load of the building and act, in effect, as the bases of the columns, which provide the major support for the modules. A plate decking 70 is provided on the platform around the blender 24. Also, a railing 72 is provided as a safety precaution. Stairway 74 is joined along one side of the platform 12 so as to provide easy access to the platform. Access to the second platform 14 is by stairway 76 behind the blender 24.

The second platform or lower intermediate platform 14 is supported by columns 80 which are aligned with corner piers 66. The second platform 14 has inner cross beams 82 and a main outer rectangular frame 84. Cantilevered from the frame 84 is a balcony 86 and stairway landing 90. The stairway landing 90 provides access and egress to the stairs 76. The center of the second platform 14 has an opening 92 defined by inner crossbeams 82 through which conduits 34, 36 and 40 from hoppers 26, and 32 respectively pass.

Weighing hopper conduit 34 is connected to a butterfly valve 94. Similarly, major component hopper conduit 36 and fluid hopper conduit 40 are connected to butterfly valves 96 and 100 respectively.

The second platform 14 provides access to these valves, whereby an operator standing on the second platform 14 can operate the valves. Also, the flexible conduits are interrupted by flange connections 102. If for any reason, the conduits or valves should become clogged, the second platform 14 provides an easy access to repair and maintenance of the conduits. Similarly, if the hoppers require inspection or maintenance, the second platform is conveniently positioned for ready access to the hoppers.

The second platform 14 need not be used to support any of the individual units. Rather, it serves to provide access to valves, conduits and hoppers. Like the bottom platform 12, the second platform 14 is covered with a suitable decking 98.

Upright beams 104 are mounted on the corners of the outer frame 84 of the second platform in alignment with upright beams 80 and piers 66. These beams provide the major support for the third platform 16. Intermediate beams 106 may be provided to add further support for the outer frame of the third platform. Stairway 108 connects the second platform 14 with the third platform 16, with railings 109 around the balcony 86 and platform 14 providing a safety factor.

The third platform 16 is a load carrying platform, in that the various hoppers are suspended from the third platform, intermediate the third platform and the second platform. Depending from the cross beams 112 are supporting rods 114 which support an adjustable frame 116. Alternatively, the rods can be fastened directly to the major component hopper 30. Extending downwardly from the adjustable frame 116 are supporting rods 118 which connect with hoop 120 encircling the major component hopper 30. The weighing hopper 26 is similarly suspended from platform 16. On top of the major component hopper 30 is a diverter valve 122 for introducing the major component into the hopper 30 or diverting the material from the major component hopper. Only one flexible conduit 44 is shown feeding into the weighing hopper 26 in FIG. 3.

The liquid hopper 32 can either be mounted in the same manner as the other hoppers, or can be stationed on the second platform 14. This is a matter of choice, depending on convenience, accessibility, and size of the hopper. The liquid hopper 32 has a plurality of butterfly valves 123 mounted on the top of the hopper for controlling the introduction of one or more fluids into the hopper 32.

The third platform 16 has decking 125 and railings 127 and serves as an access platform and storage. As will be discussed subsequently, with minor modifications, the third platform 16 may serve as the top platform when microingredients are manually added directly to the weighing hopper 26 rather than being stored in microingredient hoppers 42 and fed from these hoppers to the weighing hopper 26.

Stairs 129 connect the third platform 16 with the fourth platform 20. The L-shaped balcony 131 extends the area of the platform 16 providing extra space for movement and storage. Railings 135 are provided on the fourth platform for safety, with a balcony 138 provided for enhanced storage area. The fourth platform 20 is covered with decking 139.

The fourth platform or top platform 20 has an outer rectangular frame 125 as can be seen in FIG. 7. The

outer frame is supported by corner beams 126 and inner beams 128. An outer octagonal frame 130 and ,inner octagonal frame 132 are formed in the platform 20, with a portion of each of the long sides 133 of the outer frame 125 providing a side of the outer octagon 131). The corners of the two octagons 134 and 136 are joined by inner cross beams 140. The two octagons and their associated cross beams form eight regular trapezoids 142. The trapezoids 142 provide housings for the microingredient hoppers 42. Alternatively, the inner octagon 132 may also provide a housing for a microingredient hopper.

The microingredient hoppers 42 are mounted by convenient brackets 144 and 145 to the beams forming the sides of the trapezoids 142 and suspended therethrough. At the bottom of each hopper is a vibrator feeder 146 which connects with conduits 44 to provide a channel for feeding into weighing hopper 26. At the top of each microingredient hopper 42 is a cover 148, which may be removed for batch introduction of the particular material.

Supporting the corners 134 of the outer octagon 130 are upright beams 147. These upright beams 147 are supported and rigidly affixed to crossbeams in the inermediate platform 16.

In the event, that hoppers are not necessary or undesirable for microingredients, the system can be readily modified to avoid' the use of the microingredienthoppers. In that event, the fourth platform is not present. The upper intermediate platform 16 is designed, so to have supporting frames for the hoppers suspended from thecross beams 112, or to have the cross beams 112 provide spaces which may act as housings for the hoppers. Therefore, the hoppers may be mounted on the cross beams, much in the same manner as the microingredient hoppers are mounted on the top platform 20. Different brackets are used for mounting the hoppers, which may be removed when the hoppers are moved andsuspended from the third platform, when the fourth platform is added.

In the modified arrangement, whereby'microingredient hoppers are not employed, a substantially square opening 150 is provided, which provides a housing for the weighing hopper 26. The weighing hopper 26 has an opening 152 at-the top to which ingredients can be introduced and weighed in the weighing hopper 26. Adjacent the weighing hopper, the cross beams 112 of the third platform form a small housing 154, in which the fluid hopper 32 is held in position by mounting brackets 156. Thus, the third platform is adaptable for either having the hoppers suspended from the inner cross beams 112, or mounted on the inner cross beams 112.

The blending plant is assembled by first constructing the individual platforms. Except for the bottom platform, the other platforms are defined by a rectangular frame constructed of channel beams. The bottom frame uniquely has a block U'structure. Appropriate cross beams are then fitted into place by bolts, welding or other means for providing a rigid coupling. Conduits may be fitted in place through which utility lines run,

' permitting rapid connection of the utility lines when as sembling the plant.

The necessary supporting beams, frames and accessory parts may be shipped to the site. The ground would be prepared, such as by forming a concrete slab or employing a preexistent floor. Conveniently, a prefabricated building having only a ground floor could be used to enclose the plant. The supporting piers for the bottom platform could either be secured to the first platform, at the times of fabrication of the platform, or shipped separately to the erection site to the ground or slab and the preassembled bottom platform mounted on the piers and welded to the piers. The supporting upright beams for the second platform would then be positioned at the four corners of the frame and welded in position. The second platform would be positioned on the four supporting beams and welded at points of contact. Decking stairways and balconies could be added as convenient during the assembling.

The third and fourth platforms would be mounted in the same manner as described above on the four corner supporting beams erected on each of the rectangular frames. Additional supporting beams, as required, are

provided to support the load bearing third and fourth platforms.

The various units could be positioned as the plat forms are rigidly secured and utilities and control lines connected. When the structure is completed, the blending plant may be used directly. Access stairs are provided for each platform and portions of the platforms are cantilevered to expand the area for storage, movement, or other purposes. The associated stairs and access platforms are all cantilevered from the major frames so as to be readily mountable and demountable from the frames. Supporting columns of lighter weight than the basic structure may be employed to add further support for the balconies and stairs.

Elevators can be used to raise the microingredients to the top platform 20. The various ingredients may be introduced into the different hoppers where they can be stored. The liquid or liquids can be pumped up to the liquid hopper 32, and the major ingredient introduced into the hopper 30 by belt, blower, elevator, or other means.

A wide range of versatility is provided in the number of ingredients which can be introduced into the blender. While one can start with one or more microingredient hoppers, as the need arises, the fourth platform has available positions for adding additional hoppers. The third platform provides a frame structure for adding additional hoppers, either liquid or major ingredient, as required, and permits variation in the size of the hoppers employed, which may be suspended from the third platform. The flexible conduits also provide for varying the size of the various hoppers employed and, to a degree, the distance between the operating units. Great flexiblity is achieved in modifying units, adding units, and replacing units.

In addition, the motive operation depends on gravity. There is a smooth flow downward of the various ingredients into the mixer. Once the ingredients are raised to the appropriate level, they are easily metered downwardly in the appropriate amounts into the blender. Thus, holdups of ingredients and possible mechanical failures are minimized during the charging 'of the blender.

Furthermore, the structure primarily relies on four supporting columns which are a plurality of beams affixed, by welding and/or bolting, to the major frames of the individual platforms. The basic superstructure is based on a simple geometrical solid, namely a right parallelepiped. The construction is therefore quite simple and assures the accurate positioning of the various operating units.

In association with the various platforms, various utility lines are installed, so that they are properly positioned for providing the necessary utilities and controls for the hoppers. Because the position of the hoppers is predesigned and predetermined, the various lines can be readily installed in their proper positions, during the construction of the superstructure, and the hoppers, motors and valves efficiently and speedily connected to the utility and control lines.

In addition, a central control panel is provided which is not shown. The control panel is on the ground and is connected by appropriate lines to the various valves, motors, sensors, and other equipment which either provide information or require control. Since the modules are designed with capability for expansion, the lines and control panel are designed to adapt themselves to such expansion. As convenient, the additional lines may be provided initially, or may be added when required. Similarly, the necessary meters and switches may also be added to the control panel as required or may be provided initially.

By employing modular structures which are assembled in elevated overlying relationship, rapid construction can be achieved. Since the various units are designed for components normally employed in blending plants, the components are readily fitted into place and can be quickly connected up with the necessary utilities and control lines. Furthermore, the various operating units are disposed so as to permit gravity flow from the various storage hoppers downward into the blending plant. This provides for a smooth efficient transfer with a minimum potential for breakdown.

Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail by way of illustration for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that certain changes and modificiations may be practiced within the spirit of this invention as limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A superstructure for a modular blending plant which comprises:

a plurality of elevated horizontal platforms in overlying relationship comprising:

a first bottom platform having a frame with a block U configuration for mounting a blender over the inside of said block U and discharging downwardly, said block U configured frame having four peripheral right angled corners;

second and third upper platforms in ascending order having rectangular frames with right angled peripheral corners, the corresponding peripheral corners of all of said frames being in substantial alignment;

four outer load bearing pillars supporting said peripheral corners of said block U configured frame;

load bearing vertical columns in alignment with said pillars positioned between corresponding corners of said frames;

said second platform having inner cross beams and connecting rods suspended from said inner cross beams for mounting at least one measuring and feeding means in a position intermediate said first and second platforms; and

said third platform having a plurality of inner cross beams forming a plurality of housings in circular arrangement for housing a plurality of hoppers.

2. A superstructure according to claim 1 having in addition, first, second and third balconies cantilevered respectively from said frames of said first, second and third platforms and a plurality of stairways: a first stairway extending from the ground to said balcony of said first platform, a second stairway connecting the balcony of said first platform to said balcony of said second platform and a third stairway connecting the balcony of said second platform to said balcony of said third platform.

3. A superstructure according to claim 1 having a platform intermediate said first and second platforms, and having inner cross beams defining an opening through which conduit means can pass from said measuring and feeding means to said blender.

4. A method for building a modular blending plant at a plant site comprising the steps of:

forming at least one rectangular frame and a block U shaped frame member having the same peripheral dimensions as said rectangular frame member;

disposing cross beams in a first said rectangular frame member to provide support for at least one metering and dispensing means;

installing at least four pillars at a plant site to provide load support at the outer corners of said block U shaped frame;

removably affixing said block U shaped frame to said pillars, at said outer corners of said block U shaped frame; removably affixing at said outer corners of said block U shaped frame, upright load supporting members;

removably affixing on said upright load supporting members said first rectangular frame at the corners of said first rectangular frame; at a time subsequent to the affixing of said frames, in-

stalling blending and dispensing means on said block U shaped frame and metering and dispensing means on said first rectangular frame; and

detachably connecting said metering and dispensing means by flexible conduit to said mixing and blending means.

5. A method according to claim 4, wherein balconies are cantilevered from said block U shaped frame and said first rectangular frame and stairways installed from the ground to said block U shaped frame and from the block U shaped frame to said first rectangular frame.

6. A portable fluid processing unit comprising upper, intermediate and lower platforms, first hopper means mounted on said upper platform, second hopper means and a weighing and receiving hopper mounted on said intermediate platform, blender means mounted on said lower platform, leg means mounted on said lower platform to suspend said lower platform above a primary surface, first removable spacer means removably mounted to the top portion of said lower platform and the bottom portion of said intermediate platform having sufficient height to space said intermediate platform above said blender, second removable spacer means removably mounted on the top portion of said intermediate platform and to the bottom of said upper platform to mount said upper platform above said intermediate platform in spaced relation above said second hopper means and said weighing and receiving hopper means, and first conduit removably interconnecting said first hopper means and said weighing and receiving hopper means, second conduit removably interconnecting said weighing and receiving hopper vated position at said corners by said upright load supporting beams;

the first and lowermost platform member supporting ingredient blending and dispensing means;

a second and higher platform member supporting at least one metering and dispensing means for metering and dispensing blending components to said blending and dispensing means;

vertically disposed flexible connecting means operably connecting each said metering and dispensing means to said blending means; and cantilevered from said platforms, platform extensions, and

stairs.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/132, 222/181.1, 222/181.3, 366/33, 366/18
International ClassificationB01F13/10, B01F5/24
Cooperative ClassificationB01F13/1008, B01F5/247, B01F13/1005
European ClassificationB01F13/10A2B, B01F5/24D, B01F13/10A2