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John R Boone increases productivity and capacity for Ringtons Tea

08 August 2014

A new blender has transformed scented tea capacity for Ringtons Tea, as Paul Robertson, Chief Engineer at Ringtons explains.

J.R. Boone Mixers have supplied a new production line, featuring a J.R. Boone Rotary Drum Blender, to UK-based prestige tea and coffee manufacturer Ringtons, allowing them to make substantial improvements to the efficiency and capacity of their black scented tea production process. The turnkey project included pressurised flavour spray addition, a big bag / tote bin discharge station, HMI and an automatic system for cleaning the blender between batches. The entire system was designed for Hazardous Area use.

Before the new J.R. Boone system was supplied, Ringtons used the main blending line to produce a premix of the base blend that was then mixed with the scented oils in small batches to produce the final product. A time-consuming process that meant that a 1400kg production run could take as long as eight hours to produce, and the pre-mix process took up valuable production capacity. 

Paul Robertson, Ringtons Chief Engineer, had worked with J.R. Boone previously and knew of their international experience in the tea industry. Following discussions, J.R. Boone proposed a system that featured a large drum blender with an inbuilt pressurised spray lance system to add the scent, together with a pneumatic, floor-level feed point for the mix components, so staff would not need to climb to reach the mixer floor, and tote bin or big bag discharge.

A mixer load is made up of a range of tea types. Tea is loaded at floor level in response to one of more than thirty recipes held in the HMI and elevated directly to the top of the blender. Mixing in the J.R. Boone Drum Blender is shear free, with the mix components being gently and completely fluidised within the large drum. The result is an efficient, homogenous mix in the shortest possible time, with low power usage. Liquids can be added, using J.R. Boone’s unique spray lance system, at concentrations of as low as 1:150,000 with no need to premix.

Following discharge to a FIBC or tote bin, the blender is automatically air purged for self-cleaning.

The design is intrinsically hygienic, the mixing elements welded to the inside of the drum, so an air blast can effectively clean the blender and personnel have no need to access the inside of the machinery. 

All the equipment was designed, supplied and installed by J.R. Boone without any disruption to existing manufacture. The new blender has transformed scented tea capacity; production that would otherwise have taken a full shift now requires only a couple of hours to complete, and the installation has also liberated important capacity on the main blending line. It is also more efficient in manpower than the previous arrangement. 

“We couldn’t be happier with the way the system has performed,” says Robertson. “I knew that J.R. Boone is very experienced in tea manufacturing, and they have worked really well with us throughout pre-inspection, trials at their factory and through the installation process.”

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