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The changing shape of Gramac.

The Changing Shape of Gramac

As a company which originally manufactured tomato grading machines, Gramac has grown substantially over its 30 year history with the E.F. Meering group. The company philosophy has always been to supply high quality durable conveyor systems and, as the typical Gramac system has grown, they have been designed to offer greater flexibility to ensure compatibility with existing plant and size constraints.

The company specializes in bespoke conveying systems for many industries but is probably best known for its continuing partnership with major companies in the food and beverage sectors.

The increasing demands of industry have been met not only by a constantly reviewed and updated product range but also by a comprehensive range of personnel-based services. With the increasing attention given to fast- moving-consumer-goods' packaging, they offer a full design study service to ensure that the product shape does not detrimentally affect production throughput. A full project management service is tailored to each contract to ensure that it runs smoothly, and offers a central source for information.

In recent years, the growth in electrically controlled conveying systems to cope with the demands of |just in time' production, and corporate computer links with production areas, has been met by an equally sophisticated range of programmable logic controllers. A dedicated electrical control department within Gramac offers a comprehensive solution to your conveyor system requirements, right from a simple stop start motor to complete production line monitoring and control.

The acquisition of Collingwood Conveyors and Unit Handling Systems now means The Gramac Group can offer conveying solutions to suit any company requirement, from a simple stand alone unit to a completely automated plant.

Tea Gets The Sack

Lyons Tetley are one of the largest tea blenders and packers in the UK. Their Greenford factory alone packs up to 175 different packaged teas on the 44,000sq ft site. In addition to their many brands, which are distributed throughout the UK and exported all over the world, the site also packs many own brand labels for supermarkets.

With such a large operation, Lyons Tetley have invested heavily in information technology to monitor all aspects of the tea's movement around the plant. A major part of this computer investment is used to monitor the factory's 48 silo's where predetermined quantities and types of tea are held prior to blending. These teas are identified and check-weighed at the unloading area in their chests and then monitored through to their correct silo.

Over the past decade however, the use of tea chests has gradually been reduced in favour of packing tea in aluminium foil-lined paper sacks. As well as the saving in cost, this has been undertaken as part of a material and energy conservation policy now in place within the company.

As the factory was previously geared towards processing tea in chests, they required a custom conveying system which could link up with their computer-controlled intake and storage systems and accommodate a mix of chests and sacks on the same line to ensure the blending processes remained unaffected.

"As we process a vast amount of tea a week, we had to have a system which was versatile and durable", commented a Lyons Tetley spokesman. He went on, "Gramac were awarded the contract as they always respond well to our requirements with innovative and viable solutions".

The new system commences with sacks of tea being loaded on one of two grip-face conveyors which carry them to the sack slitter station. On passing through the slitters, the sacks are opened and their contents loaded into re-usable plastics containers which are conveyed forward on powered roller conveyors. When tea is available, the system calls for an empty container and, when the container is in the filling position under the sack slitter, tea is deposited into it. Each filling station incorporates a vibrator to settle the tea within the container. These containers incorporate a readable, programmable electronic tag on their base which identifies the product within to enable tea to be directed through the intake system.

The now full plastics containers are conveyed to, and merged with, the wooden chests which enter the building at a different point. All chests pass through a checkweigher, and at this point the corresponding electronic tag reader is also located adjacent to the weigher to monitor the plastics bins (the wooden chests are identified before entering the building). Plastics containers and chests travel through the silo and blending area via a series of chain roller conveyors and transfer stations to ensure they are routed to the appropriate tipping station. Gramac also supplied the final part of the system where the plastics containers are returned by conveyors to the filling point.

Knife Edge Bend Range

With over 30 years proven experience in the belt bend market, Collingwood Conveyors have built on this expertise to research, develop and now launch a new range of knife edge bends.

The 132 KE range is designed to meet the increasingly complex needs of industry, ensuring a durable and cost effective medium for conveying unit loads. This new range also offers improved layout flexibility with a slim bed section of 130mm, even with a belt width of 1500mm. To ensure a wide range of product transfers, the knife edges are supplied with 20mm diameter end rollers having precision bearings.

Available with either mechanical or electrical variable speed motors, these bends are manufactured to accomodate belt widths ranging from 400 to 1500mm. To maintain maximum compatibility with other plant conveyors, the height is adjustable from 350mm (from floor to top of belt) upwards, with either a shaft or foot mounted motor. The range also includes ceiling mounted alternatives.

The conveyor deck, manufactured in rigidised sheet, is designed to cover the complete radius to ensure 100 percent belt support. These totally UK manufactured bends offer excellent value for money and competitive delivery schedules. Various versions in mild or stainless steel, made to a standardised design, are available to transfer through either 90 or 180.

Suitable for a wide range of product applications, these centrally driven bends are well suited to the food and other clean handling applications; an integral part of their design is ease and simplicity of maintenance.

Gramac Mechanical handling Ltd are located at Plumpton Road, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, tel: 0992 444211.

PHOTO : Gramac equipment installed at Lyons Tetley

PHOTO : One of the new 132KE knife edge bends
COPYRIGHT 1991 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:60 Years of Food Trade Review: 1931-1991; Gramac Mechanical Handling Ltd.
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:1063
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