Gentle product handling – Why is it important?

Colin Fairweather, CEO, Facet Engineering

The physical characteristics and nature of a product usually determine how it should be handled and what type of conveyor will be best suited to the application. If a product is fragile and prone to breakage, then gentle handling will be required to ensure that damage is kept to a minimum. 

Product damage has major implications for productivity and cost-effectiveness. Goods that are damaged during conveying result in a decrease in product quality and overall yield. For many high-value goods, breakage and product loss can directly impact the bottom line and negatively affect the overall profitability of the production line.

Minimising breakage, maximising profitability

When products, such as nuts, are broken during the handling process, their value can drop by up to fifty percent. In this instance, the producer is not able to charge a premium price and is forced to sell the goods at a highly discounted rate. In many cases damaged product needs to be crushed or powdered, which substantially lowers its resale value. Where product form or shape is important, broken portions need to be completely removed or disposed of to prevent problems in maintaining minimum quality as well as health and safety standards.

For delicate goods, gentle handling is vital to maintain product integrity and minimise breakage wherever possible. To this end, the Facet Swing Tray Elevator, also referred to as a pivoting bucket elevator has been designed to do exactly that. The swing tray elevator, which is comprised of a series of buckets attached to two strands of chain, is capable of handling a wide range of dry, granular, free-flowing products.

The swing tray elevator has been designed to convey product, horizontally, vertically, and horizontally again in a Z-shape, without transfer points. This allows for the direct feed of product into a packing system and with its multiple inlet and outlet points enables product to be moved from one process to another without spillage or breakage. The configuration of a swing tray elevator reduces the overall floor space requirements and allows for more flexibility in the set-up of the production line equipment.

Future expansion and high capacity

The swing tray elevator’s modular design enables easy assembly and installation and also allows for future expansion, should this be required at a later stage. The swing tray elevator has been successfully used to convey a variety of products including snack foods, nuts, grain, beans, cereals, pasta, coffee, pet food and many more. The elevator buckets are available in three sizes, 305mm, 450mm and the recently added 610mm, with capacities as high as 20 tonnes per hour.

Bespoke solutions for your project

As experts in gentle handling conveyors, Facet Engineering specialises in developing bespoke solutions for our clients that suit both their business needs and their budget. Facet Engineering offers the complete conveying solution; from individual machines to complete production plants. We design and manufacture to suit the desired capacities and dimensions, and also offer installation and after-sales service with the supply of spare parts and servicing.

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