Cadbury Schweppes, the fourth largest confectionery manufacturer in the world, has installed FlexLink conveyors for handling its flagship brands, including the household names Cherry Ripe and Crunchie.
The project was part of a major upgrade of the packaging facilities at the Ringwood Plant in Victoria. Running for three years, the system has reduced wastage, increased flexibility and enabled greater capacity utilisation.
Stable transportation for a variety of brands
“The purpose of the system was to transport the bars from the wrapping machine to the carton loader then merge the two lines, while at the same time allowing operator access though the system,” explained Duncan Ferguson, Maintenance Manager at Cadbury Schweppes.
The main consideration for Cadbury Schweppes was that the design needed to have enough flexibility to accommodate the wide range of products produced on one system. Product stability was another important issue as it was necessary to raise production above the ground. With the previous system, cartons were crushed as they dropped from the carton erector onto the conveyor, resulting in congestion and high amounts production wastage.
As the production line operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, it was essential that the solution was a reliable one with minimal maintenance requirements.
Complete solution for elevating, rotating and merging
FlexLink offered Cadbury a complete solution for integrating their inner carton packaging line, comprising of alpine, incline and variable speed conveyors, a rotation unit and merging station.
Two parallel conveyors were installed at the transfer point from the erector to the conveyor, thereby eliminating carton damage by providing a greater support surface for the product. The conveyors employ adjustable guide rails to ensure that the various sized bars remain stable on the conveyor at all times.
The alpine uses a compact spiral configuration to elevate the cartons 2m above the floor, creating a safe walkway for operators and saving valuable floor space. The two lines are merged with a pneumatic pusher, equipped with a brake, which stops oncoming traffic from the adjacent lane to prevent product collision. The rotation unit then provides 90-degree orientation of the cartons before sealing.
Increased utilisation of packaging facilities
Implementation of the conveyor system at the Cadbury plant has improved efficiency in the packaging process by reducing cost and enabling more effective utilisation of resources.
Installation of the twin lane conveyor from the carton erector has reduced wastage by 30 kg per day, saving the plant thousands annually.
The modularity of the system has also increased line flexibility. “The system was chosen for compatibility and interchangeability of its components,” said Duncan Ferguson. “The conveyor parts can be reconfigured for future changes in layout.”
Following the success of the project, Cadbury selected FlexLink as a preferred supplier of conveyor systems and extended the solution to another line at their Claremont plant in Tasmania.