Storage Solutions

The Background:

A market leading dry food manufacturer approached us with their biggest issue which is a line efficiency of 54%. We appreciate peaks and troughs are a normal part of food manufacturing, but our systems are specially designed to counteract this issue by removing bottle necks.

A responsive intelligent conveying and storage system allowed the business to operate as a smart factory by absorbing surges, buffering on demand and addback efficiently to maximise throughput of the packing distribution system.

The line was operated by an interactive control system that adjusted to ensure that the natural inefficiencies of over production were absorbed whilst product was inflight and streamed back into the main product flow on demand.

The Proposed Options:

Option One

To feed a bidirectional shuttle belt mounted to the existing store belt, which will help to produce an even layer of product into the storeveyor allowing even distribution.

Pros
  • Cheaper manufacturing costs
  • Storeveyor will only run when in store mode or when discharging stored product
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • We had to keep the same conveyor footprint
  • Less sensors and programming required
  • Lower running costs
Cons
  • Less controllability
  • Smaller access cleaning area between the storeveyor and the underslung conveyor
  • Additional platform supports needed
  • Longer installation time
  • Additional hopper with diverter needed
  • The belt may be more difficult to replace and higher cost of ownership and maintenance time
Option Two

To fit an underslung belt conveyor with a diverter chute mounted at the outfeed vibratory conveyor to either run the continuous flow of product or fill the storeveyor.

Pros
  • First in first out principle, ensuring only fresh products are packed
  • Product stored to prevent avalanche outfeed
  • Maximise the availability of useable buffer storage capacity
  • Storeveyor options on speed runs, variable speed inverters on both belt and vibrator options
  • Modular construction allows for shorter installation times
  • Robust smart hygiene design
  • Careful line methodology ensures gentle handling of products to virtually eliminate breakages or damage
  • Design loading suitable for platforms with our cutting edge design
  • Bug traps, crevice’s, general inaccessible areas of the storeveyor to guarantee a 100% hygiene which is what Cox and Plant pride themselves on
Cons
  • Higher food manufacturing costs due to excess wastage and unworkable products
  • Design interfaces are critical and often overlooked which is something Cox and Plant never does
  • Belt driven conveyors have a higher running costs than our variable speed drive vibratory conveyors
  • Poor design would result in avalanche outfeed resulting in spillage, overfeeding and wastage something Cox and Plant always avoid
  • Over complicated initial design results in higher maintenance costs and cost of ownership
  • Drop height may damage product and delicate options are available
  • Heavy cumbersome units restrict been housed anywhere other than on the ground floor with a concrete base which would require raising and lowering your product stream via elevators. Our designs will reflect your unique requirements.
Option Three

The platinum design of storeveyor utilising vibratory conveyors throughout the design. Top level vibratory conveyor is designed with a series of pneumatic gates to ensure the principle of “first in first out” is maintained. The main difference with this option are the vibratory conveyors on the lower deck allows for 100% hygiene levels ensuring not only is the unit bacteria free but also in the ever demanding world of allergens it is critical that no remaining residue is present.

Pros
  • First in first out principle, ensuring only fresh products are packed
  • We have supplied storeveyors up to 30m long with distribution systems to suit
  • Product stored to prevent avalanche outfeed
  • Maximise the availability of useable buffer storage capacity by the gated system
  • Vibratory conveyors operate at variable speeds
  • Modular construction allows for shorter installation times
  • Robust smart hygiene vibratory design. The vibratory concept eliminates bug traps, crevice’s and general inaccessible areas of the storeveyor
  • Minimum drop heights, soft slopes and landing ensures fragile products remain intact
  • Design loading suitable for platforms with our cutting edge design
Cons
  • Higher food manufacturing costs due to excess wastage and unworkable products
  • Design interfaces are critical to the systems functionality
  • Less controllability with a belt driven conveyor system compared to vibratory conveyors
  • Poor design would result in avalanche outfeed resulting in spillage, overfeeding and costly wastage
  • Overcomplicated initial design results in higher maintenance costs and cost of ownership
  • Ill-considered and impractical design can result in serious health consequences
  • Drop height may damage product hence our customised design to your needs
  • Heavy cumbersome units restrict been housed anywhere other than on the ground floor with a concrete base which would require raising and lowering your product stream via elevators. Our designs will reflect your unique requirements

The Solution:

Scenario: When both lines are running

When both lines are operational with the packing system calling for product, all our equipment will run at variable speeds to ensure throughput demands are met. Which in turn maintained a mono layer of product ready for the next production stage. The storeveyor will run at a set constant speed, and the shuttle system will feed at a faster rate than the storeveyor, to sustain a constant flow of product to the downstream equipment.

Scenario: When one line has stopped

When one line of the packing equipment stops for any reason i.e. reel change, maintenance etc. the system will still continuously feed the packing line if it is still calling for product. When all packing lines stop calling for product the line methodology would typically be:

  1. Vibratory gated conveyor runs at current speed
  2. Storeveyer stops running, and the shuttle system will carry on filling the storeveyor until it reaches maximum capacity
  3. All vibratory conveyors after the storeveyor will go in to inhibit mode and stop running
  4. When the storeveyor has reached capacity, a vibratory gated conveyor will open the discharge gate and deposit product into storage containers at ground level as part of the take off system.
  5. Our client opted for an addback system to be able to reintroduce grade A product in a metered and controlled fashion maximising production throughput and profitability
Scenario: After line stoppage

When the lines become operational and the packing equipment starts to call for product the following line methodology would typically be:

  1. Vibratory conveyors revert to run mode
  2. Distribution system ensures zero starvation and controls the feed to the packing equipment
  3. As required the vibratory gated conveyor will close the discharge gate and start feeding the storeveyor again on demand

When the storeveyor has product stored, which needs to be conveyed to the packing equipment it is essential to stop the “surge” of products flooding the line. To alleviate this we installed our Cox and Plant indexed feed system which controls the volume being deposited onto the main line. Once the surge of product is evenly dispersed, the line will return to its optimal operating speed maintaining the perfect monolayer of product to ensure the CCW multihead weighers are optimised by our groundbreaking synchronisation software.

The Results:

The ROI was so impressive the next phase of the project expansion was ordered 20 weeks after SAT (Site Acceptance Trials) and wet commissioning. The original expansion plan was in 2 years time but the ROI speaks for itself.