As part of a new packaging line for Magnum ice cream at its plant in Gloucester, Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Foods Limited needed a conveyor system that would combine ease of installation with value for money and high build quality. VarioFlow S chain conveyors from Bosch Rexroth, which are specifically designed for food industry applications, provided a complete and convenient solution.
Seven conveyors are used to connect the machines that make up Unilever’s new Magnum packaging line, and many of these link machines at different levels. Since the Unilever engineers would be handling the installation themselves, they needed conveying products that, in addition to being sufficiently versatile to meet the needs of this project would also be straightforward to install and satisfy the necessarily demanding hygiene standards of the food industry.
After considering a number of options the engineers concluded that VarioFlow S conveyors would best meet their requirements. These chain conveyors from Rexroth are quickly assembled, easy to clean and require minimal maintenance. Products are reliably transported on an almost closed chain surface and the conveyors feature open profiles to ensure easy cleaning.
“In responding to our enquiry, Rexroth made an excellent presentation that quickly confirmed it really understood what we needed,” said Steve Cunliffe of Unilever. “We were particularly impressed by the company’s MTpro software that was used to give a clear three-dimensional representation of the installation.
There’s no doubt that this software significantly reduced the time needed to finalise our requirements and the design of the system. In fact, we have subsequently used MTPro ourselves. It’s versatile, powerful and intuitive, and it’s available as a free download from their website.”
In choosing the conveyor supplier for this project, the Unilever engineers also took into account Rexroth’s ability to deliver the conveyors ready assembled, rather than as a kit of parts, since they knew that this would considerably reduce the time required for installation.
“We received excellent service and support at every stage of the project,” said Steve Cunliffe, “and the company was able to help us by working to a very tight timescale. The conveyors were delivered to us, exactly to specification and ready for installation, less than five weeks after we placed the order – service like that simply can’t be faulted!”
As anticipated, the VarioFlow conveyors proved straightforward to install and commission. They have now been in service for nine months, and are meeting all of Unilever’s requirements in terms of performance and reliability. In fact, this installation has proved so satisfactory that Unilever has now chosen VarioFlow conveyors for another, even larger project at its Gloucester site.