Food manufacturer finds a safe way to move 1,500 kg pressure vessels. Staff safety is top of the agenda for ready meal manufacturer, Rowan Foods of Wrexham. The company, which is part of the Oscar Meyer group, were keen to find a quick and safe method of moving 1,500 kilo pressure vessels through the production area. The operation used to involve taking three production staff away from their duties to move the vessel from a filling station, to a weighing scale and then on to its final destination on the food assembly line. The whole operation took around seven minutes to complete and required a good deal of physical effort. Rowan Foods now use two customised MT5-400 electric tugs to move the vessels. The machines enable a single operator to move the 1,500 kilo load safely and quickly through the production area. It now takes less than five minutes to move a vessel from filling and weighing through to assembly. Engineering Supervisor, Stuart McGill, summed up the impact the machines have had on the production line "this part of the job used to be a bit of a struggle but the machines are great, they've made things a lot easier".
Being a food manufacturer, Rowan demanded that the MasterMover machines conformed to strict hygiene regulations. Each machine was customised in stainless steel and supplied with a sealed headset and control panel. In addition the tugs needed to be capable of operating smoothly in wet conditions, so the tugs were customised to IP34 standard.
Focus on safety
Staff safety is highly important to Rowan Foods and their MasterMover machines are equipped with a number of key features which guarantee the safety of both the operator and their colleagues. Each machine has a programmable speed control which ensures that the tug operates at a speed suitable for the busy environment found at Rowan. The tugs also have an electro magnetic braking system which enables the operator to stop the machine and its load almost instantly. Furthermore an anti pinning emergency stop button on the headset ensures that the operator cannot be trapped between the tug and an immovable object. On top of these features the innately safe design of the MasterTug shows through in the way that it is operated. Historically, heavy loads are pushed from behind, often, as was the case at Rowan, with obstructed vision of what is in front of the load. The MasterTug is designed to pull loads and can be operated safely with only one hand on the controls. This enables the user to face out in the direction of travel with a clear line of vision over any potential hazards. Once the user has reached their destination the load can easily be pulled or pushed into position at a controlled speed.