“Does what it says on the tin” – enhancing Frederic Robinson’s Bottling Line

    Combining an impressive heritage, stretching from 1838, with innovation, Frederic Robinson’s Brewery is one of the UK’s largest independent family brewers, with 340 pubs across the North West and Wales. As well as a state of the art brew house they also have contract packing facilities for bottles and kegs at their Unicorn Packaging Centre serving over 50 customers as well packaging their own products.

    When it was decided to upgrade their bottling line some real challenges were faced due to space constraints. Key aims included better line efficiencies, improved traceability and greater throughput required due to the growth in Robinson’s contract packing business and also in the success of the now legendary “Trooper”.

    This best selling product takes its name from the Iron Maiden song which is inspired by the famous Charge of the Light Brigade. TROOPER is a Premium British Beer handcrafted at Robinson’s brewery. Malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon

    First In First Out Accumulation Conveyor

    The project aims were fulfilled by a conveyor solution supplied by Enterprise Tondelli. Originally accumulation between the tunnel pasteuriser and labeller was achieved by the use of a bi-directional table. However with the installation of a new large tunnel pasteuriser there was no longer space available for this. Additionally a bi-directional conveyor table does not allow first in-first out in the event of a stoppage which reduces the ability for traceability.

    Working closely with the Frederic Robinson project team headed by Graeme Hall, Operations and Packaging Manager a number of schemes were developed to find the optimum solution. Due to the wide range of bottles handled from 250 ml to 750 ml a very flexible product was needed.

    A conveyor solution supplied by Enterprise Tondelli from their manufacturing plant in Italy was supplied and installed. The high capacity flow through accumulator or FIFO allows over 9 minutes conveyor accumulation in the event of a line stoppage whilst also giving the first in/first out capability. This has resulted in improved line efficiencies with fewer stoppages. The simplicity of the solution, no change over parts and very compact footprint achieves all of the key aims of the project.

    Mr David Robinson, Director of Frederic Robinsons Brewery advised that “working with Enterprise Tondelli was very simple and straightforward and has given us excellent results for the project. We definitely will consider them for future projects.”

    This opinion was echoed after the completion of the project by Mr.Graeme Hall Operations and Packaging Manager, who commented “We had some initial concerns that there could be jamming or problems with pressure on the conveyors but our minds were put at rest after seeing a FIFO accumulation table in the UK and the solution offered by Enterprise Tondelli does exactly what is says on the tin and achieves all of the key aims for the project. Nothing was too much trouble for Enterprise and we were very impressed with their flexibility and wealth of experience. Their use of 3D conveyor modelling helped a great deal with the visualisation of their scheme for the team.”

    3D Rendered Conveyor Accumulation

    The bottling line is equipped to package bottles into multipack sleeves, cardboard trays and shrink wrap, boxes. Bottles are filled and closed with either a crown cork or aluminium screw cap in a range of coloured crowns and screw caps available. 3 labelling machines allows them to apply a simple wet glue wraparound body label, wet glue patch labels to the front, back and neck of a bottle or plastic pressure sensitive labels to the front, back and neck of a bottle. Further details of Frederic Robinson’s contract packing facilities can be found at www.robinsonsbrewery.com.