A conveyor system designed to transport goods ­continuously between ground and upper floor levels with maximum reliability has been ­completed by European Conveyor Systems as part of a major ­investment in ­production facilities at AarhusKarlshamn UK (AAK) in Hull.

AAK is Europe’s leading producer of speciality oils and fats for food and cosmetics manufacturers and also produces a wide range of products for retail.  In 2010 the company started a £4 million investment programme at its UK manufacturing site in Hull to upgrade production of liquid and semi-liquid product supplied in tubs, bottle-in-boxes and bag-in-boxes.

The project involved complete refurbishment of the production area, installation of new filling machinery, including a reduction from four filling lines to three, and replacement of part of the existing conveyor system.  This links the production area on the ground floor with the palletising and despatch area in a separate building and runs partly at high level above other production areas.

Because of the products involved, it was decided to install powered slat conveyors rather than conventional roller conveyors, which require more maintenance.  The slatted belts used are 400mm wide, in order to accommodate the various tubs and boxes involved.  These can be round or rectangular and weigh up to 20kg each.

In order to raise the products from the ground floor production area to the upper level 5.84 metres above while using the least amount of floor space, ECS has installed a pair of spiral conveyors – one taking tubs and bottle-in-boxes from two filling lines and the other dedicated to a bag-in-box line.  This solution has required a far smaller footprint than incline conveyors.

At the top of the spiral conveyors ECS has linked the new equipment to the existing system, which carries product at the upper level for 40 metres and then via a decline to the despatch area.  Galvanised-steel platforms have been installed at the top of each spiral conveyor to give access for maintenance.

The twin line has a nominal throughput of 36 items a minute, and the single carton line is rated at 14 items a minute.

The whole project was carried out in stages to allow AAK to continue production as normally as possible.  This involved ECS re-configuring existing conveying equipment to make space for the new system and working closely with AAK production staff to minimise disruption.

European Conveyor Systems

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