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North East fabricator engineers solutions for a zero-waste future

Posted on 02 May 2021 and read 371 times
North East fabricator engineers solutions for a zero-waste futurePolystyrene blocks on conveyor with new conveyor below capturing waste product for recycling

Cramlington-based S&B EPS, a manufacturer of expanded polystyrene, has hit its zero-waste target, thanks to a new innovative conveyor system solution supplied by Tech Projects in Gateshead.

S&B EPS has been manufacturing expanded polystyrene for over 40 years and required a conveyor solution to enable it to reduce product waste during production.

Tech Projects was able to design and manufacture a solution that would firstly improve the quality of the end product delivered and secondly provide an automated solution for handling product waste.

The company has more than 20 years’ expertise in designing, manufacturing and installing conveyor systems for a range of industries and has specialist capabilities in stainless steel fabrication.

The first conveyor delivered has enabled S&B EPS to ensure that any waste material from the blocks of polystyrene produced are automatically moved separately along the conveyor to a shredder.

The shredder takes the waste material and produces pellets which are then recycled, this has removed any need for manual handling. The conveyor is manufactured from mild steel and operates at a low level and low speed to minimise any damage to the polystyrene blocks and has a lead in edge.

The motor on the conveyor system is interchangeable with motors on other conveyors. This means that S&B EPS doesn’t need to hold as much stock, because if there was a fault with the motor, the company would be able to easily swap the motor for one from another conveyor – reducing any future downtime and keeping the 6.5m conveyor line continually operational.

Following the successful design and installation of the conveyor to manage recyclable waste, Tech Projects was commissioned to design and manufacture a conveyor system to handle the safe transfer of the finished polystyrene block.

S&B EPS’s previous system featured a series of rollers which moved the finished product along the line with another conveyor lifting the product onto another roller bed before the product was stored, ready for dispatch. This process often meant that chips were taken off the edges of the blocks, resulting in damaged product which could not be used.

Buffalo conveyor belt

The solution designed by Tech Projects introduced a new buffalo conveyor belt, which performs well in abrasive and high-impact conditions. It also introduced a pusher to automatically move the block forward which prevents the block from being damaged on its corners, as it no longer jumps between the belts and the whole process is more effectively controlled.

Darren Smith, S&B EPS managing director, said: “We are continually reviewing our working practices to help us work smarter and we are striving to meet recycling goals. Working with Tech Projects has enabled us to achieve a 100% recyclable product, with any waste being captured and recycled into a new product.

“I am extremely happy with the solutions designed by Tech Projects. These have enabled us to resolve issues around the movement of our product, with less waste and product damage. We are also experiencing additional benefits such as improved speed and efficiency through automated solutions. This has also provided safer working conditions through the removal of manual product handling.

“Over the past few years, we have invested heavily to expand our warehousing and manufacturing facilities to 100,000ft2 and we look forward to working with Tech Projects in the future as we continue our investment in technology and machinery.”

Michael Donachie, Tech Projects general manager, said: “Working with S&B EPS has enabled our team to showcase its extensive design and manufacturing capabilities and we have once again provided an innovative solution which enables a business to make significant efficiencies.

“We are also delighted that we have been able to help S&B EPS hit its zero-waste target.
“We hope to work with Darren and his team again and provide more bespoke production and automation solutions to S&B EPS.”

Tech Projects, a company owned by Go2 Engineering Group, can also draw on the complementary capabilities of a growing portfolio of engineering companies. It is therefore able to offer a wide range of engineering services to industry, including – but not limited to – non-destructive testing products and equipment, hydraulic fixtures, manual fixtures and machine tooling and 3-D printing.

Tech Projects applies its specialist fabrication expertise to a range of projects including conveyor systems, material handling products and structural access solutions.

Tech Projects - Conveyor Solution for S&B EPS.MOV from Tech Projects on Vimeo.