Amber Install Overhead Solution for Moving Rubber
Fothergill Polycom Ltd (formerly Ferguson Polycom Ltd) manufactures and supplies rubber compounds and rubber-coated fabrics from a custom-designed new facility in Oldham, Lancashire. They are the leading niche manufacturer of custom and industry standard black filled and coloured master batches and compounds in cut and continuous sheet form and narrow strip. These are used in a variety of industries and processes, including compression and injection moulding, calendering, coating and extrusion.
Fothergill Polycom Ltd has over 4,000 formulations on file and continues to design and develop compounds and master batches to customer specific requirements, as well as industry standards. Typical applications include automotive mouldings and extrusions, seals for use with water and gases, coatings, calendering and cured sheeting. Both natural and synthetic polymers are processed through their internal or open mill mixers, and they have the flexibility to offer small and single batch requirements, useful for small scale development work or highly-specialised compound requirements.
As part of its on-going programme of investment and continuous improvement, Fothergill Polycom Ltd relocated to new premises just a short distance away, ensuring the location did not inconvenience the workforce, as well as remaining adjacent to the road network in Greater Manchester.
Amber was approached by Fothergill Polycom to provide a method of transporting rubber from the mixers to the rolling mills at their new facility on Drury Lane, Oldham. This method previously utilised a belt conveyor. However, this had proved to be very inefficient. The rubber had a tendency to fall over the edges of the belt and touch the floor, which increased the chance of rejection due to contamination.
The steep incline of the existing belt conveyor also meant that the rubber tended to fall back down the belt, so that operators had to intervene on a regular basis to help the transportation process. The new location of the mixer meant that the rolling mill was very close, and the angle to deposit the rubber would be even greater at the new site presenting a much greater challenge.
Amber's brief at the Drury Lane facility was to transport the rubber from the mixers to the rolling mills, without the rubber touching the floor, without wastage, without operators having to intervene in pushing the rubber to the rollers, and at the same time giving full access to the rollers from both sides and all in a much more restricted space.
After numerous ideas, Ambers Industries' solution was to create a circuit utilising standard components consisting of straight track, bends and chain, together with a frame to support a bucket, designed to fit beneath the mixer which would hold the rubber.
The bucket was designed to remain in the horizontal position beneath the mixer ready to be loaded, as well as during its vertical climb prior to being fixed for the vertical tipping action, ensuring the rubber ejects over the rolling mills. The bucket was also Teflon coated to help prevent the rubber from sticking on discharge.