Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc recently worked with Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) on a project to improve its efficiency by installing an automated conveyor system for handling Morrison’s high quality hand collated and tied bouquets of flowers at their major packing hub in the Midlands.
The project required the handling of water filled buckets from automated water dosing machines at the start of the process through to filled buckets with completed flower bouquets in a strapped case on the outfeed.
As Morrison’s quite rightly pride themselves in the quality and freshness of the flowers on sale at their stores it was imperative that the bunches were handled with maximum speed through the system whilst maintaining the minimum of handling by packing personnel.
The system comprises principally of 3 off 25m long heavy duty waterproof modular slat conveyors integrated side-by-side, each with their own variable speed drive to fine tune bucket throughputs in line with packing volumes. Empty buckets are de-nested and individually part filled with water/preserving solution before being automatically fed onto the 2 outer 400mm wide conveyors so as to be closest to the packing personnel. Once a bucket is loaded with a full bouquet, the operator simply slides it from either side onto the third, central conveyor which is wider to accommodate and protect the overhanging flower heads.
At the end of line process, the buckets are manually transferred either singly or in pairs into pre-erected cases, the lids of which are then banded shut using Gordian strappers for easier carrying and avoiding the use of blades/ damage to the flowers at the store. CSL utilised ZLP (zero line pressure) non-contact accumulating conveyor to queue the cases to allow a controlled feed into the Strapper, with ZLP being used on the outfeed on route for palletising.
The end of the system is mirrored to allow 2 cases to be strapped and sent for palletising simultaneously. The new system has delivered both improved efficiencies and increased throughputs in producing the completed flower bouquets ready for delivery to one of Morrison’s many stores and distribution centres around the Country.