A Case Study on Fume Booths and Filling Machines


A long-standing customer called us with a unique problem. They were filling special 20 gallon open-mouth fiber drums with hot, viscous and toxic liquids. The operation required the filling machine operator to wear something like a space suit to prevent him from breathing toxic fumes and getting splashed by acid chemicals. In addition, the thick liquid made the drum filling operation a very slow process.

The Customer

Listed as one of the world’s top ten chemical manufacturers, this customer has processing plants in seventeen states. They contacted us because they already have many of our filling systems, and because Specialty Equipment is a well-known leader in the manufacturing of drum fillers for hazardous chemicals.

The Challenge

The hot, toxic liquid filling operation posed three problems:

  1. Fumes: To protect the operator from breathing toxic fumes, the “space suit” was required. Working in a space suit was no longer acceptable.
  2. Splash-back: To protect the operator from acid splash-back, the suit again was necessary, but no longer a viable option.
  3. Slow-fill: The viscosity of the liquid was so thick it required pre-heating in order to flow, becoming like axle grease every time the filling operation stopped for more than ten minutes.

The Solution

The solution for this customer became a drum filling machine with special heat traced components built within a custom-made fume booth. An isometric concept was created to show the size and scope of the project then a proposal followed. The customer was very pleased and easily justified the cost.

The Customization

The unique drum filler within a fume booth consisted of the following components:

  • A welded steel, sealed fume booth
  • A semi-automatic single drum filling machine
  • NEMA 7 control panel with a PLC and operator touch screen
  • A constant-temp, heat jacketed, infeed manifold and filler lance assembly
  • An air operated, up/down hood covering the open drum to prevent splash-back
  • Special manifold with two Hastelloy ball valves and a Hastelloy lance
  • Infeed and discharge pneumatic sliding doors
  • In/out powered roller conveyors with air motors
  • Plastic see-through windows on the top and all four sides
  • A special light inside the enclosed steel booth
  • A fume-line connection to the customer’s exhaust system
  • A 20 gallon pull-out, sealed overflow pan under the filler
  • A pair of long-reaching thermal gloves for the operator
  • Electrical rating of class 1, division 1

The Benefits

The end results for the customer were; an OSHA approved filling machine and fume booth with complete operator safety (and no space suit), a smooth liquid flowing operation allowing for 20% more production, and a more than adequate payback on their capital equipment investment.

Our willingness to custom-make liquid fillers and our well-known reputation for building rugged, long lasting filling machines are the reasons why Specialty Equipment is listed as a preferred vendor to many of the world’s largest chemical, cleaners, coatings, and sealant manufacturers.

Specialty Equipment Company has been in business since 1969 and is now the largest manufacturer of drum filling, conveying and palletizing systems in North America.

Let us know how we can solve your filling machinery problems.

See the fume booth drum filler – item 801 for more details.

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