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Ultra Pure Silica

The client

Adwan Chemical Industries is a world leading producer of high quality silica based minerals, with a total of 13 plants (7 in Saudi Arabia, 5 in Algeria and 1 in Syria) Chemicals produced by Adwan are used in a variety of industries including glass, ceramics, paper, textile, paints, pigments and coatings, plastics, water treatment, fracking, adhesives, detergents and pharmaceuticals.

High quality raw silica sand is excavated selectively to ensure high content of SiO2, required grain size and low content of impurities.  At their new state-of-the-art plant near Riyadh, Adwan process silica sand in four stages – washing, sieving, attritioning and drying to produce industrial white silica sand having an extraordinarily high purity, with Si02> 99.5 wt%.  Modern high tech, sieving and bagging facilities enable Adwan to mill their product to meet each client’s exact requirement.

Due to the outstanding quality of its fine and ultra-fine products, Adwan have continued to grow since their inception in 1994.

The challenge

Growth in demand from India and China for their ultra-fine chemicals meant that Adwan needed to dramatically increase their processing capacity and achieve greater efficiency through economies of scale. Therefore, they decided to invest $20m in a new plant to quadruple throughput.

Hi Tech Process Demands Hi-Tech Packing Solution

Adwan defined specific performance deliverables from their new packaging systems:

  • Weight accuracy – Adwan’s customers add products to a batch production process, therefore, bags of consistent weight are essential
  • The new bagging lines are an integral part of Adwan’s state-of-the-art extraction, processing and logistics process, therefore, reliability of the packaging machinery is vital
  • Adwan wanted to reduce the cost of packaging consumables (bags) and therefore wanted minimum wastage, bags to be as small as possible and preferably made from re-cycleable materials
  • Good Pack & Pallet Integrity – their products must arrive in perfect condition – they are shipped across continents by road, rail and seas, therefore, bags must not leak and pallet loads must be stable and well protected/wrapped.
  • Adwan’s customers specify the exact grade of silica sand that they require, therefore, the bagging systems needed to be versatile - able to pack milled products with a wide ranging particle size distribution.
  • Proposed equipment must be proven to handle abrasive silica based product and run in an inhospitable desert location, with a maximum daytime temperatures of 50 degrees centigrade and night time of 5-6 degrees (carrying the risk of condensation). 

A collaborative Approach

Webster Griffin’s design team took time to ensure that they fully understood the proposed factory environment, how Adwan planned to operate, the workforce profile, Adwan’s production targets and into what type and size of bag Adwan wished to ship its product to market.

The Solution

Given these challenges, Webster Griffin advised changing the 25kg packs from paper valve sacks to plastic bags made on their form fill seal (FFS) bagging machine.

One of three high speed
jumbo bag filling lines

Accumulation of bags on
roller conveyors

Velocity Form Fill Seal
bagging machine for silica sand

Faster, Cheaper, Cleaner – FFS technology offered distinct advantages

 Moving from pre-made valve sacks to bags made on FFS appealed to Adwan for the following reasons:-

  • Cost saving on every bag  – bags made on FFS are less expensive than pre-made valve sacks constructed of paper or plastic
  • Pay-back – improved long term efficiency of the packing operation and a small saving on each bag soon adds up – initially paying for the technology and then adding to profitability in the future
  • Productivity – Webster Griffin’s FFS technology can pack sand twice as fast as valve sacks can be filled and does not require an operator in attendance (film reel only needs replenishing every 6 hours)
  • Cleanliness – because the powdered silica is always enclosed within the FFS packing machine – or encapsulated with a bag – the filling process is dust free.
  • Capital cost saving – Form fill seal bagger costs significantly less to buy than a valve sack filling station with automatic sack applicator and ultra sonic valve sealing devices.
  • Improved product security – plastic bags made on FFS are impervious to moisture, therefore, bags do not deteriorate when wet and shelf life of the product is extended by months.

Form fill seal wins on all fronts

The new packing complex includes three high speed bulk bag filling lines – each incorporating Webster Griffin’s unique bag suspension concept and filled bag transport conveyors.  Adwan had previously purchased 4 (four) big bag systems from Webster Griffin and appreciated their robust technology and reliability

Webster Griffin’s solution comprised of:

  • 3 automated high speed Big Bag filling systems with bag handling conveyors

  • 1  fully automatic form fill seal bagging and palletising line for 25kg bags

  • 2 robot bag palletising systems each combined with fully automatic pallet stretch wrappers

Why robot Palletizers?

Okura Series III Robot palletisers were proposed rather than conventional palletisers as they have fewer moving parts, thus requiring  less maintenance than ‘layer’ or ‘gantry’ Cartesian palletisers.  Because one Okura robot could simultaneously receive and palletise bags from two bagging lines, the solution saved space and is much more compact than employing conventional ‘layer’ palletisers.  Owing to Okura’s unique ‘OXPA’ self teach system, they are also easily re-programmed for different sizes of bags and stacking patterns.

Finally Okura robotic palletises from Webster Griffin had a proven track record of working relentlessly in inhospitable environments – with thousands of installations world-wide in a multitude of applications within the chemical and mineral process industries.

Mr Mohammad Abbas - Materials Department Manager and
Mr Ali Nahyer Al – Anazi - Production Section Head - Silica Sand

Webster Griffin trained Adwan’s
team of operators and technicians

The Service Solution

Adwan also considered the excellent spare parts and after sales service, support that they had received from Webster Griffin and the fact that parts are still available for the first machine they bought from Webster Griffin in 1994.

Against alternative suppliers from Italy and Germany, Adwan selected Webster Griffin

Webster Griffin Managed the Entire Project

Webster Griffin acted as project manager, undertaking M+E (mechanical and electrical) design of the bagging complex. All machinery was pre-assembled, tested and shipped - then installed by a local contractor under the supervision of Webster Griffin’s Engineering Director, Xavier Barraud. When the process was on stream, Webster Griffin returned to carry out the commissioning and training of technicians and operators.

The Result

Adwan  Chemicals’ new silica packing plant is up and running and achieving the cost savings anticipated, improvements in productivity and ensuring that they can grow and fulfil the demands of their customers well into the future.

“Working with Webster Griffin means that we not only get the best solution for our needs, but we have also been able to rely on them to design, build and commission the new system. Knowing that we will be able to draw on their service support in the future also gives us peace of mind.”


Quick view

Client: Adwan Chemical Industries
Location: Saudi Arabia
Product: Silica Sand of extraordinary high parity to quality, various grades from 0.125 to 3.0mm

Unrefined silica sand before processing

Adwan’s ultra pure 99.5 wt% white silica sand


Multi-line packing complex: including fully automatic form fill seal bagging and palletising line, valve sack palletising and pallet wrapping system, three high speed bulk bag filling lines, integrated plant control