Gaylord Tilters, Sweepers: What’s the difference?


Gaylord Tilters, Sweepers: What’s the difference?

Plastics processors have long relied on a simple technology, a pick-up lance or wand, connected to a vacuum system, to draw material from Gaylord Tilters. Just put the wand into the material and, when needed, turn on the vacuum to draw material to the destination.

But as the material around the wand is removed, voids form. So, either the wand or the material around it must be repositioned so that the wand can continue to draw a consistent flow of material. An operator can do this by moving the wand in the Gaylord, or the process can be automated using a Gaylord tilter or a Gaylord sweeper.

Gaylord tilters hold a Gaylord of material on a metal base. They offer a fixture that holds a wand in one corner of the full Gaylord. As material is drawn out, the Gaylord is gradually tilted upward so remaining material shifts, falling downward onto the wand and simplifying removal.

There are two basic types of Gaylord tilters:

  • Raised platform tilters are manually operated. As the level of material in the Gaylord goes down, the operator uses a handle or foot pedal to activate compressed air, which gradually fills an air bag under the platform. This action gradually lifts up and progressively tilts the Gaylord, enabling the material to flow to the lower corner, where a fixture holds the wand in place.
  • Floor level tilters are designed for heavier loads, up to 3000 lb (1361 kg). They activate automatically when a weight sensor detects that the Gaylord is about half empty. Then, they progressively tilt the Gaylord, directing remaining material to flow toward the lower corner where the wand has been positioned.

Another automatic method for material removal is a Gaylord sweeper. The sweeper is mounted on an overhead frame and set up over a full Gaylord.  The sweeper frame holds a rotating vacuum pick-up tube that is connected to a motor. At the bottom of this tube is a rotating pick-up wand assembly and a couple of fins or paddles, all oriented to rotate like a clock from the 12-4-8 positions.  The top of the pick-up tube is connected by flexible tube to a vacuum source and material destinations.

After the frame is set up over a Gaylord, the pick-up tube is released until it contacts the top of the material. When the sweeper detects vacuum (demand for material), the motor activates, and the tube rotates slowly. As it rotates, the fins on the tube push material outward, piling it into a circular hill that makes it easy for the wand assembly to pull it in for conveying to its destination.

The sweeper assembly is counterbalanced, designed to “float” near the top of the material and work its way down to the container bottom. Material not reached by the rotating wand – typically found in the corners – must be removed manually.

Comparing Costs of Gaylord Tilters and Sweepers


Wand and Manually operated tilter Wand and Automatic tilter


Labor-Setup time (Position Gaylord, Wand, Startup)


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Labor-Monitoring time (Check flow, move wand)


** *


Labor-Remove remaining material from Gaylord


* *


Equipment cost


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