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A Tasty Challenge

22 July 2010

At the Nestlé factory in York, a continuous programme of asset optimisation and process improvement means there is usually an installation of one kind or another taking place onsite

Among recent projects completed by contractor, Connaught, are the introduction of a new production line for Nestlé's Aero range and the move of Aero bubbles from one area of the site to another.

The York plant produces various types of Kit Kat and Aero confectionery, alongside Polo, Yorkie and chocolate for use across the site's production lines and at other Nestlé plants worldwide.

As part of Nestlé's continuous drive for production efficiencies and consistently high product quality, the company decided to redevelop the so-called 'Old York' part of the site, moving some production equipment to the remaining 'New York' part of the site, and investing in new plant machinery.

The project was put out to tender to three of Nestlé's preferred suppliers and Connaught tendered on the basis of a steel wire-tray specification to answer the needs of the job. Speed of installation was critical as the transfer of production to New York was on a strict schedule.

Health and safety, product quality and taking as many precautions as possible to avoid the risk of product contamination are key considerations too and the Cablofil system - also one of Nestlé's preferred suppliers - ticked the boxes.

Supplied in standard lengths of 3m in varying widths ranging from 50-600mm, the Cablofil system is designed to offer maximum flexibility and is particularly suited for industrial applications where the complex bends and joints required can be achieved quickly and simply onsite using an ordinary pair of bolt-cutters. Cablofil even offers on-site training for every project.

"For this project we didn't actually take Cablofil up on the offer of training," says Mark Manns from Connaught, "because the installation team had used the Cablofil system before. In fact, we use the system increasingly often and have always found it fast and easy to install, even on complex jobs such as the Aero line."

The Aero production line installation involves a chocolate delivery system, chocolate moulding plant and product packaging facility: a self-contained production area taking the product from raw ingredients to shelf-ready produce.

Mark says: "The chocolate enters the production area in a liquid state and it has to remain at a given temperature to control its viscosity through the holding and delivery system.

"This involves a heating system for jacketed tanks where the chocolate is kept warm as well as a distribution system taking the liquid chocolate to the production line itself. As a result, there are hundreds of power and control cables, all of which have to be clearly differentiated, visible and neatly contained well away from the product."

The installation required power cables ranging from 6-100 amp so Nestlé used a clear cabling system to help ensure the different types of cable can be identified at a glance. The power cables are SY cable which has a clear outer skin, while the control cables are grey. Owing to the open structure of the Cablofil steel wire tray system, the cables are clearly visible from the factory floor.

"With steel wire tray the cables are accessible as the system is open and they are clearly visible so if there's a fault it's much easier to identify and access the corresponding cables, which could help avoid costly down time," says Paul Nolan from Cablofil.

In most installations, the Cablofil system is laid as a cradle for the cables and can be used in floor or ceiling voids, attached to machinery, installed as vertical risers or suspended from ceilings. However, Nestlé's high standards of health and safety led the company to specify the tray should be installed on its side for the Aero line to increase the containment's openness still further.

In total about 3km of Cablofil steel wire-tray was used in various tray-widths and depths. It was installed as suspended rows of tray from a specially constructed steel frame, used as risers throughout the plant and installed on the equipment itself.

One challenging element of the installation was the machine specially built in Germany to mould and cool the chocolate. Liquid chocolate is pumped into this 6m tall and 70m long piece of equipment before being moulded and cooled and moved on to the packaging area of the production line.

"This huge machine has to maintain the temperature required to keep the chocolate in its liquid state at one end of the process and must cool the chocolate at the end of the moulding process,'' says Mark. ''As a result, there are lots of controls, which means lots of cabling. We had to ensure the cabling was installed correctly but it was neat and the cables were easy to identify and isolate if need be.

"Again, the Cablofil system's open structure made this complex task simpler as we were able to create a grid of steel wire tray and feed cables through the wire-mesh. Naturally, something so complicated to install takes time but using a system that is so flexible and simple to bend and join saved significantly on installation times."

Part of the time savings can be attributed to the Cablofil system's simple to use accessories: the system simply fastens together with its unique Faslock clip which requires no bolts or screws. Cablofil's screw-free bracketing system was also advantageous for Nestlé as it meant there was no risk of contamination from screws or nuts falling off into the production process.

Cablofil steel wire tray was once again used for power and control cabling to two processing lines that were upgraded on the Kit Kat facility: the upgraded oven line and the wafer line.

"Restricted space, the layout of the equipment in the room and the sheer volume of cables we needed to accommodate made it impossible to lay the steel wire tray on its side for the Kit Kat line,'' Mark continues. ''However, we were still able to create a neat, easily accessible installation and it was completed within just eight weeks."

"There's no doubt using steel wire tray ensured a faster installation," Mark adds. "But it's not all about speed. With a brand such as Nestlé, quality really counts and we’re able to work with Cablofil to ensure the best-fit solution is always identified, no matter how complex the installation."


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