COTSWOLD MECHANICAL LTD

Complete Handling and Packaging Solutions

    • Direct Fill Systems
      Direct Fill Systems
    • Complete Line Solutions
      Complete Line Solutions
    • Weighing and Counting
      Weighing and Counting
    • Product and Container Handling
      Product and Container Handling
    • Special Applications
      Special Applications
    • Entry Level Systems
      Entry Level Systems
    • Platforms & General Fabrication
      Platforms & General Fabrication
    • Integrated Systems
      Integrated Systems


 

News

Things that we think you want to know ........

FEBRUARY 2016  NEWS UPDATE

 

Packaging News February Edition      (See Packaging News Article)

Belt-weigher does souper job at Hugli

Cotswold Mechanical's belt-weighing machine has boosted productivity by 50% on Hugli's bulk powdered soup operation. Cotswold Mechanical's CMW5000BF belt weighing and filling system automates the filling of tubs with powdered soup without crushing dried particulates or creating too much dust .

Redditch-based dry blended food producer Hugli UK, part of the 250m Swiss headquartered Hugli Group, has undergone significant growth in recent years - particularly on the food service side of its business. "Over the last three years we've seen double digit growth in food service and catering packs," said Chris Hurt, managing director of Hugli UK. One of the in-demand products was 2.25kg catering tubs of powdered soups, and this was resulting in capacity and efficiency issues. "Our old packaging line was heavily reliant on manual labour. It needed to be replaced with an automated line for productivity and demand reasons," explained Hurt. Filling was being carried out by hand, supplemented by an auger - usually the filling method of choice for powdered products. However, the auger caused the product to compact, crushing or damaging particulates such as dried vegetables and noodles. "Our soups contain ingredients that make them difficult to fill using conventional volumetric filling systems. We needed a system that could accurately fill products with varying bulk," said Hurt. .

At PPMA in September 2014, representatives from Hugli paid a visit to Cotswold Mechanical's booth to see whether it could come up with a solution. "We knew from experience that we couldn't run the product on a standard vibratory linear weighing machine as this would just compact the product. A multihead weigher wasn't an option either, as this would create clouds of dust, so we decided to run trials on one of our belt-fed weighing machines," recalled Doug Phillips, sales director at Cotswold Mechanical. Another feature of the powdered soups was that they contained entrapped air, which resulted in the product 'peaking' above the tub, and potentially spilling down the sides. "Effectively, you need to shake the tub to settle the contents as you fill it, but it isn't possible to weigh and shake at the same time," said Hurt. To overcome this problem and contain the dust from within the tub during the filling operation, Cotswold Mechanical designed a pneumatic rise and fall filling chute. "This unit automatically 'dips' into the tub during the filling operation whilst at the same time a pneumatic cylinder taps the bottom of the container to settle the product below the fill line. The rise and fall chute then automatically lifts clear again to allow the next tub to be indexed into position," explained Phillips. Convinced that the system specified by Cotswold Mechanical was capable of running this challenging product, in November 2014, Hugli UK placed its order. "Cotswold Mechanical was very approachable, easy to deal with, receptive to our suggestions for design features, and offered quite a short lead time. The machine itself was simple and easy to use, and, most importantly, able to fill the soups efficiently," said Hurt.

At PPMA in September 2014, representatives from Hugli paid a visit to Cotswold Mechanical's booth to see whether it could come up with a solution. "We knew from experience that we couldn't run the product on a standard vibratory linear weighing machine as this would just compact the product. A multihead weigher wasn't an option either, as this would create clouds of dust, so we decided to run trials on one of our belt-fed weighing machines," recalled Doug Phillips, sales director at Cotswold Mechanical. Another feature of the powdered soups was that they contained entrapped air, which resulted in the product 'peaking' above the tub, and potentially spilling down the sides. "Effectively, you need to shake the tub to settle the contents as you fill it, but it is not possible to weigh and shake at the same time," said Hurt. To overcome this problem and contain the dust from within the tub during the filling operation, Cotswold Mechanical designed a pneumatic rise and fall filling chute. "This unit automatically 'dips' into the tub during the filling operation whilst at the same time a pneumatic cylinder taps the bottom of the container to settle the product below the fill line. The rise and fall chute then automatically lifts clear again to allow the next tub to be indexed into position," explained Phillips. Convinced that the system specified by Cotswold Mechanical was capable of running this challenging product, in November 2014, Hugli UK placed its order. "Cotswold Mechanical was very approachable, easy to deal with, receptive to our suggestions for design features, and offered quite a short lead time. The machine itself was simple and easy to use, and, most importantly, able to fill the soups efficiently," said Hurt.

In March 2015, the turn-key automatic filling line was installed. A triple head denester deposits three containers directly into three individual pockets of a flighted indexing conveyor. The containers are then automatically indexed one at a time into position under the outfeed chute of the CMW5000BF belt weighing and filling machine. The weighing machine preweighs the correct amount of product and deposits it into the tub through a pneumatically operated rise and fall chute. Once the product has been deposited, the rise and fall chute lifts clear to enable the next container to be indexed into position. After every third index of the pocketed conveyor, the denester deposits another three containers into the next three pockets. The next section of the system is the automatic lidding area, where a pneumatically operated arm takes the lid from a preloaded stack and places it onto the filled tub. The conveyor then indexes the tubs along to the lid pressing station where a pneumatic cylinder presses the lid firmly onto the container. The final station is where a pneumatic 90 degree transfer unit pushes the filled and lidded containers off the main indexing conveyor and onto the infeed of an inline metal detector. Frequent changeovers are a feature of the soup filling line, so it was imperative that the system was easy to strip down for cleaning. To achieve this, all contact parts - including the belt of the linear weigher - were designed to be quick release. Consequently, a complete system strip-down takes no more than five minutes.

According to Hurt, productivity on the line has increased by 50% since automating this operation. "We've seen a significant increase in productivity and no longer have capacity issues. We're running on days at the moment - eight hours a day out of a potential 16 - so there is plenty of scope for further expansion," said Hurt. The line is future-proofed not just for capacity expansion, but also for changes in container shapes and sizes. "The system was designed such that the denester, filling chute, and lid placing and lid closing systems can be changed to run other shapes and sizes of containers if required in future," explained Phillips. Hurt added that weighing accuracy had improved significantly, and that the line had gone from being a largely manual operation to a "single-person" operation. Hugli expects to see a return on the investment in less than three years.

 

 

 

MAY 2015  NEWS UPDATEE

100 NOT OUT

Cotswold Mechanical Limited are proud to announce that only 3 years after the launch of our new range of linear weighing and counting systems we have now passed the 100 machine sales milestone and are already well on the way to our second century.

The company can point to a number of factors when analysing why the launch of the new range of machines has been so successful including the design, build quality and reliability of the entire product range plus the continued support of our valued overseas agents & UK based O.E.M suppliers but we think that one of the biggest factors of all is our willingness and flexibility as the manufacturer to work with each customer to ensure that every machine we produce is tailored to their exact needs.

The fact that we were already an established fabrication company and manufacturer of all types of conveyors has also enabled us to combine all sides of the business to supply a growing number of full 'turn-key', systems comprising loading platforms & access gantries, product infeed elevator conveyors, container indexing, lidding and handling systems and of course the linear weighing and counting systems themselves.

Thanks to our customers and their continued feedback, we are led to believe that we have now become the premier manufacturer and supplier of linear weighing and counting machines within the UK.

 

February 2014 - Update:-   

Packaging News February Edition   (See Packaging News Article)

 

Auto-Filling Line for Multi-Compartment Savoury Buffet Snack Tray     (Click on picture to see video)

  When contract packing company Hider Food Imports Limited of East Yorkshire (www.hiderfoods.co.uk) needed a supplier of a 'Turn-Key' system to automatically present & fill a six compartment plastic buffet tray with savoury snacks foods at a speed of 900 trays per hour, they turned to Cotswold Mechanical Limited of Gloucester.

The project itself presented a number of challenges as each of the six compartments of the tray were to be filled with a different variant of snack food, each compartment was either a different shape or in a different orientation to the others, each of the six product variants needed to pre-weighed to its own relevant target weight prior to being deposited into the designated compartment of the tray, the filled products must not protrude above the top of the tray as this may cause a problem with the film seal & under no circumstances was there to be any cross-contamination of products from one compartment to anothe

The final design comprised a flighted belt indexing conveyor to feed the plastic trays in turn under one of six CMW4000 automatic linear weighers, each machine was fitted with a pneumatic rise and fall chute to overcome the cross-contamination problem and the finished tray was gently shaken to settle the products below the seal area.     

As a manufacturer of conveyors & automatic linear weighing systems, CML were ideally placed to design and manufacture the system to the exact customer requirements as Joint Managing Director of Hider Foods, Duncan Hider explains. "As a contract packer we needed to find a company that was willing to work with us to supply an automatic tray indexing and filling line that would not only allow us to complete the existing contract but was flexible enough in its design and function to enable us to use it to pack different products and packaging formats for other clients";