|Overhead Conveyor System Reduces Congestion for Florette
A specially developed overhead conveyor system is streamlining production on the factory floor at Florette by releasing valuable storage space and keeping operators in one place. The leading producers of over 230 varieties of ready-to-eat bagged salads and vegetables had the system installed earlier this year by Birmingham(UK)-based Rusmail Conveyor Systems to help modify methods of working and create 72sqm additional floor space.
Anthony Fremond, Project Engineer for Florette said: "The 173m loop overhead system allows us to limit the amount of people traffic crossing the floor because the conveyor brings empty cartons direct to the operators for packing at a top rate of 90 boxes per minute. Previously the operators had to move from their workstations to do this. Now there are no interruptions to the flow of work and everything is running more smoothly."
The other advantage of an overhead installation is making use of otherwise wasted roof space which means the floor area is only used to store pallets of packed cartons ready for shipment. Meanwhile, the empty cartons take up no additional ground space as they move around at a height of 4 metres on the conveyor above. The highly reliable lightweight system has a number of built in health & safety benefits. Mr Fremond explains: "Operators can load and unload the system at working level thus reducing the need for bending and stretching and so protecting backs and preventing RSI. Additionally, the system has a very low noise level contributing to an improved working environment."
The Rusmail system developed in partnership with French company OCA, also performs well on efficiency and maintenance. The variable speed conveyor runs on three 0.25Kw motors, which sustain it throughout the year in shifts lasting from 8 to 17 hours, making it very power efficient. Maintenance wise the system can be automatically lubricated at the touch of a button and the cable itself is robust enough to last 7 years or more before it needs replacing.
Mr Fremond concludes: "Choosing an overhead conveyor system gave us a simple, neat solution to remove some of the complexity from the production line and greatly improve our working methods."