Wednesday 23 April, 2014
Here at Guttridge we supply conveyors to customers all over the world to solve very different material handling challenges. Many of our machines fulfil demanding duties in specialised and/or heavy industry but some meet applications much closer to everyday, domestic life. For example, a ‘well-known supermarket’ came to us in the search of the ideal solution for handling their used fruit and veg crates.
Regularly throughout the day the fresh fruit and veg trays used to deliver and present supermarket produce become empty. Supermarkets re-use these trays after they’ve been thoroughly cleaned. The first step in this cleaning process is removal of the residual fruit and vegetables rejected by shoppers, along with any leftover protective packaging.
At the supermarket distribution centre, returned, used trays are manually emptied onto a conveyor. The conveyor transports the waste to a designated waste collection area and the empty trays are then sent for washing. The supermarket that approached us had installed belt conveyors for this task, a simple solution, but not one that was proving fit for purpose. A belt conveyor, as the name suggests, transports material on a belt to a discharge point, where the belt passes over to the underside of the machine, discharging its contents.
In this instance the belt conveyors were not efficiently transporting and discharging the waste, primarily because of its consistency. Decaying fruit and vegetables were routinely adhering to the belt and getting trapped beneath it rather than cleanly discharging. The result: product carry back, regular machine malfunction, and stoppages that necessitated cleaning. This was costing the supermarket an unsustainable amount of time and money.
We provided an alternative, more robust solution: a simple, rugged, easily maintained, customised chain conveyor. In a chain conveyor, paddles forcibly move the product along. This is in contrast to a belt conveyor where the material simply sits on the moving belt. The machine supplied was specified to a very high duty to power through anything that it might encounter. Large, completely enclosed chains ensure that the waste is consistently moved through the conveyor and cleanly discharged. The scraping motion of the paddles eliminates carry back and keeps the conveyor operational at all times.
The new chain conveyor works well, the problem has been solved and the supermarket distribution centre is operating its tray recycling process far more efficiently. The result highlights the importance of choosing an appropriate machine and specifying it for the duty in question. Here, chain conveyors have the edge, because of the way they forcibly move the waste. These chain conveyors that have been specified to high duty should therefore be able to reliably meet the supermarket’s requirements for many years to come.
For more details on our chain conveyors or to see how they work, follow the links below:
With a foundation of 50 years of experience, Guttridge is a flourishing company, globally respected for delivering well-engineered, reliable materials handling solutions that continue to anticipate dramatically changing industrial needs.
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