European Conveyor Systems Ltd has completed the installation of a heavy-duty pallet handling system at McCain Foods' factory near Peterborough to provide significant buffer storage between production and cold store.
ECS undertook the contract on behalf of Single Source Storage Services Ltd (4S), who had been appointed by McCain Foods (GB) Ltd as systems integrator to improve product handling operations between production and storage.
The production area at the Whittlesey factory manufactures various types of McCain food products, which are packed in boxes, stacked on pallets and shrink-wrapped before being transferred into the cold store. The previous system allowed very little buffer accumulation of pallets, which was restricting the higher output needed from the factory to satisfy increasing demand.
The new system conveys the pallets from the output of an existing pallet stretch wrapper and on to one of two zero-pressure accumulation conveyors, depending on where the product is required in the cold store. Pallets are routed to the correct lane by a chain transfer or a turntable. The accumulation conveyors provide space for pallets to queue without making contact with each other, acting as buffer storage within the cold store. At the end of each conveyor pallets are off-loaded by fork lift trucks. Sensors detect the position of the trucks to ensure safe operation.
The new conveyor system is designed to handle GKN Chep pallets measuring 1200mm x 1000mm and with a maximum weight of 1000kg each. Nominal maximum throughput is 120 pallets an hour. It is based on the Gebhardt range of heavy-duty pallet handling equipment and has a programmable control system, which also provides system status information via a Human-Machine Interface (HMI).
Installation was undertaken while the cold store temperature of -28°C was maintained. Disruption to normal operations was also minimised by installing approximately 80 per cent of the new equipment, removing some of the existing conveyor system and then making the final connections.
European Conveyor Systems Ltd
Tel: 0115 987 4363