A Sticky Situation Results in business benefits
Caramel can be a challenging material to extract, particularly when delivered in one tonne totes. One of the ways the Burtons Biscuits came up with, was to put totes into a warm room to enable the caramel to flow easier from the tote via a pump then into a hopper. However, they found that one of the main drawbacks on this process of totes was that the caramel would stick to the inside walls of the tote as the pump sucked out the caramel.
At times this would mean that between 10% to 30% of the caramel would be left in the tote, unable to be extracted. The method was to connect a pump to the bottom outlet of the tote and transfer the caramel to a hopper, which worked well until the level of caramel in the tote fell to between 10% and 30%. From this point the pump cavitated and could not draw the caramel in, resulting in between 10% and 30% of the contents of the tote being returned to the supplier, costing anything between £50,000 and £140,000 per annum in unused caramel.
One idea that came from the Continuous Improvement team while looking at available options to reduce this waste or increase the yield was to revert to 200L drums of caramel rather than the tote. Kecol were asked to make proposals for transferring the caramel from the 200L drums to the line hopper and offered a Kecol H800SN Maxiprime unit c/w 10:1 ratio piston pump.
Kecol supplied a trial unit to Burtons for a two-week trial period to enable evaluation of the proposed system. Whilst the system transferred the caramel at the required rate and reduced the waste, the drum loader used by Burtons could not place the drum into the Maxiprime in the correct position. To resolve this, Kecol worked with Burtons Engineers and modified the standard Maxiprime to suit the existing drum loader. Burtons purchased 2 x H800SN Maxiprime systems and have reduced the waste caramel to less than 1%, significantly reducing expenditure and increasing yield.
A video of the systems in operation can be seen at