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MCM provide the handling solutions for Electrolux

When Electrolux looked at improving the handling and transportation of cooker component parts from their press area, through a pre-treatment facility and returning them to numerous enamelling application un-load stations, they invited MCM Conveyors of Oldham to tender for the project as they had previously undertaken projects at the Spennymoor plant back in the 1990's. After reviewing several tender proposals, overhead conveyor specialist MCM Conveyors was appointed to provide a total handling solution.

The whole system was designed to give maximum flexibility and efficiency with bespoke basket type jigs suspended from load bars, attached to
overhead 'Power + Free' trolley sets and conveyed around a series of process/ delivery conveyor circuits to designated un-load stations.

From three loading stations, product is routed from one building to an adjacent unit over a 6m gangway, feeding down to five enamel application booths (1-5). Each trolley set carries a common single jig, which is capable of holding a variety of components in differing quantities according to size. The average number of components carried in each jig is 16 and grouped to five major classifications according to destination. As a norm components are conveyed through a pre-treatment plant and dry-off oven for product cleaning, but there is also a number of component classifications that bye-pass this stage and feed directly to the Enamel Application booths.

Working closely with Electrolux management, MCM conveyors designed an identification and routing system based on the use of 'coded flags' located on the trolley by two captive pegs and read by strategically positioned code readers. It is a very simple and reliable system, requiring manual setting of each trolley / jig. This provides the following identification and routing information to the PLC – components requiring pre-treatment or not; enamel application un-load stations destination (1/2/3/4/ or 5) and jig loaded or empty.

The system design enabled one, two or all three loading stations to be operated. To facilitate the simultaneous operation of all three load stations, a buffer store of four trolley sets accumulate at each station to ensure continuous operations and maximum line efficiency.

After leaving the loading stations, trolleys pass through a small buffer store and then through a code reader where they are directed via a switch junction and power transfer, either into the pre-treatment plant or through the bye-pass. The normal route would be through the pre-treatment plant, where trolleys are transferred onto a slower conveyor for processing through pre- treatment and the dry off oven.

After processing, they are returned back onto the high speed delivery conveyor, where they pass through three small storage banks before being transferred onto a Re-Circulating Conveyor. This has a dual function to deliver to the five individual 'Enamel Application Unload Stations' and also acts as a storage facility for both empty and loaded trolleys as the system dictates.

The system has the control and capacity to cope with any process back-up, diverting to storage banks or, re-circulating via loading stations as required – at which point, they can be off-loaded for palletising and delivery by fork lift truck should more drastic measures be required.

Empty trolleys are released from the Enamel Application Unloading Stations by an operator push button, returning on the Re-Circulating Conveyor back to the loading stations as required.

The system has now been successfully installed and is operating trouble free. A spokesman for Electrolux reported, “MCM Conveyors worked very closely with our Project Team and we developed a good working relationship. MCM's commitment in delivering this project could not be faulted and the installation was completed on time and within budget.

It was important that production was not disrupted and MCM Conveyors worked through a production shut down period to successfully complete the project within the strict time slot available. Electrolux is now operating the system on double shifts and the efficiencies in handling are there to be seen.

As a result of this success, further smaller material handling projects have been undertaken by MCM for Electrolux, and based on the above experience would not hesitate to recommend them”

For further information / reader enquiries please contact:

MCM Conveyors Limited,
Amber House,
Crompton Street,
Oldham OL9 9 AA
Tel: 0161 284 2222
Fax: 0161 627 0075

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