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Low headroom Bulk Bag Dischargers improve output for Shower Tray manufacturer

Posted on 17th July 2010 by

Our sister company, Spiroflow Ltd., has supplied 2 of our Model T5, Low-Headroom Bulk Bag Dischargers with integral Flexible Screw Conveyors to shower tray manufacturer Just Trays Ltd of Farnley, Leed, UK.

Just Trays Ltd (JT) is the UK’s leading manufacturer of shower trays and are very proud to be a UK manufacturing company. They were founded in 1988 and combine decades of experience and craftsmanship with innovative technology. This has produced a series of unrivalled ranges of shower trays to suit each and every application. The two key principles at the core of their business are quality and innovation. Over the last few years they have continued to invest and develop in both areas. The production facility in Leeds has seen over £1million of capital investment in the last two years – improving equipment, staff and processes to ensure they produce the highest quality shower trays, every time. At JT they are conscious that ‘one size does not fit all’. With that in mind, they offer over 800 choices of shower tray in six ranges, from engineered installation solutions through to hand-made contemporary designs. As they say, “If there was only one type of installation, we would only make one type of tray!”

The most recent element of their £1million investment has been the purchase of a new casting machine which has an output that will enable them to literally double capacity on their low profile tray production line. Total tray capacity is currently running at something over 200,000 trays a year. Their previous casting machine included an integral bulk bag unloading hopper. The bag was loaded into place and supported during discharge by an overhead hoist. When difficulty was experienced in discharging calcium carbonate from compacted or otherwise problematic bags, the hoist had to be used to raise and lower the bag to promote flow.

JT’s new casting machine differs in that it requires calcium carbonate beads and, additionally recycled glass beads, to be delivered to 2 separate buffer hoppers at the top of the machine. These additives are then metered, at differing rates, into the mixing chamber where they are mixed with resins according to the specification of the shower trays to be cast.

Faced with the task of identifying the best way to feed calcium carbonate beads and recycled glass beads in to their new casting machine – and with no suggestions forthcoming from the machine manufacturer, Darren Rhodes, Operations Director, made good use of the copy of Solids & Bulk Handling magazine he was handed during a visit to an exhibition. In the magazine, he readily identified Spiroflow’s product range as a possible solution. He then used the web to locate others offering similar equipment. As he confirms, “My criteria were: UK manufacture, a competitive price, a supplier with a reputation for quality products and a quick delivery. In the end, it was Spiroflow that met them all”.

The Bulk Bag Dischargers supplied to JT are Model T5 low headroom Dischargers. With this model the top frame is removed to floor level, a full bulk bag installed and then the frame, complete with bag, is re-sited. Installing the bag this way considerably reduces the headroom required meaning that ‘Spiroflow’ Bulk Bag Dischargers can often be used in places where others cannot.

JT’s Production Manager, Ricky Dumbleton, visited Spiroflow to witness discharging and conveying tests on their calcium carbonate bead and recycled glass bead materials. As a result of the tests, the Bulk Bag Discharger for the calcium carbonate beads was furnished with bag massagers to promote the flow of compacted bags. Darren Rhodes notes, “This is much more efficient, clean and safe than having to bump the bag up and down on a hoist”. Additionally, the Flexible Screw Conveyor integral with the calcium carbonate beads Discharger was supplied with the more usual round spiral whereas the integral conveyor for the recycled glass beads Discharger was fitted with a flat spiral screw due to the fragile nature of the glass bead.

The new casting machine was delivered and installed whilst the previous one was still in operation so not to disrupt production and thus the supply of shower trays to market.

To save JT having to disrupt their installation schedule, we were able to loan 2 Bulk Bag Dischargers with appropriate Flexible Screw Conveyors from our comprehensive stock of Test Centre machines pending manufacture of the new equipment. The subsequent installation of the new ‘Spiroflow’ equipment was a joint effort between JT and Spiroflow over a weekend, again so as not to lose any production time during the working week. In conclusion, Darren Rhodes reports, “The ‘Spiroflow’ equipment has been in operation for 10 weeks now and it is absolutely to our satisfaction”.

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Carolynn Sarver

Director of Marketing
Carolynn has been with Spiroflow Systems, Inc. for nearly six years. Previously she led marketing initiatives at Fortune 500 companies & international tech firms in the US, Canada & Australia.