Leading UK conveying and automated handling specialist, Advance Automated Systems, has recently worked with Cargill, one of the largest global suppliers of aqua feed, to provide an enterprising conveying solution at their Westfield site in Scotland.
Manufacturing superior quality aqua feeds, Cargill’s products are supplied to salmon farmers in Scotland and around the world. In the supply chain, feed is bagged into bags on pallets and bulk bags with a single lift point. Bags are 500kg,1000kg and1250kg, with all having the same footprint.
The process of moving bulk bags around the site incorporated multiple lifts and handling, together with excessive forklift traffic moving through the production areas to collect from the dispensing hoppers. Associated issues included inefficient handling of the product, as well as the potential for a higher risk of accidents with forklift trucks operating in the production area around operators.
Advance presented a fully costed proposal that resolved the current operational issues of multiple handling and the concentration of forklift truck traffic. The solution was based on the installation of a section of modular belt on an automated shuttle that will simply travel along guide rails stopping at multiple out-feed points to feed the bulk bag onto one of several accumulation lanes.
With a conveyor system consisting of Intralox modular belting, Lenze SMART motors, Siemens S7 PLC for system logic and a Siemens KTP700 touch screen HMI for system control and feedback, the solution was manufactured, programmed and installed by experienced Advance engineers.
Following installation, Atholl Cameron, maintenance & projects manager, said: “The big bag conveying project is part of our ongoing capital plan to streamline flows and improve H&S by reducing traffic movements. We approached various companies to look at the project, but Advance were the only company to give a quick response, provided innovative solutions to our requirement and also accommodated various changes along the way.
“They also suggested some good value engineering solutions that helped the return on the project, which was installed on time and on budget.”
“This project showed the ability of Advance to utilise our standard core product alongside our ability to design bespoke equipment,” said Advance’s sales & marketing manager, Shaun Graham. “The main technology behind the conveyor system is very similar to our Advance SmartLine™ Pallet Conveyor System, however, as the product was not suitable for being transported on a traditional roller conveyor we adapted our designs to use a modular belt conveyor for the product zone.”
“In addition, each zone is driven via its own Lenze SMART motor and is only running as and when it is needed, making the whole system very energy efficient.”