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Sweetener & Beverage Manufacturer Sugar Railcar Unload & Transfer System

The existing sugar unload system was a vacuum pneumatic system. In the first phase of the project, ADF performed a study to identify why the effective sugar unload rates (22,000 lb./hr.) and the original effective design rates (30,000 lb./hr.) did not match, as well as provide recommendations to increase capacity. Once the study was completed, the client chose the conceptual design option that would allow the facility to unload 5 railcars per day. This option involved gravity unloading of railcars into an unloading pit to allow for an effective unload rate of 60,000 lb./hr.   

ADF completed the following:

  • Process Design:
    • Process study that determined the root cause for the slower unloading rates and provided recommendations to close the gap between the actual and intended unload rate.
    • Estimated probable cost of the new equipment, construction, materials and detailed design.
    • Created five conceptual designs involving different unloading techniques with varying unload rates.
    • Worked with vendors to develop a cost-effective, operator-friendly solution, including:
      • New unloading system allows hopper gates to be opened simultaneously to minimize dead time.
      • Designed the railcar boot lifts such that three could accommodate 10 different styles of railcars.
      • Designed the railcar scales to have an extended “sweet spot” to accommodate 10 different styles of railcars.
    • Finalized specifications and developed equipment list, which included an unload screw conveyor, railcar scales, airlocks, high pressure blower, diverters, dehumidifier and dust collection system.
    • Obtained quotes from multiple vendors for the screw conveyor and pneumatic transfer system.
    • Updated facility P&ID with equipment and instrumentation tags.
    • Created a functional description for the new unloading process.
  • Mechanical Design:
    • 3D laser scanned the rail bay and created a 3D model of the existing sugar unload system.
    • Created five conceptual 3D models for consideration.
    • Created and finalized 3D model for new unloading area based on approved equipment drawings.
    • Created equipment layouts with elevations and sections showing tie-in locations.
  • Structural Design:
    • Designed new rail car unloading pit foundation and steel.
      • Special design considerations were required to allow for trucks to pass over the unload pit.
      • Obtained budgetary quotes for sheet piling and/or lagging, which were required due to the new pit being located between two silo footers.
    • Created structural drawing package, including plans, elevations, sections and details for all structural steel and foundation.