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CONVEYING & MATERIALS HANDLING


Power-and-free tracks combined for true


product line flexibility


‘Power-and-free’ is a name applied to overhead conveyor chain systems with the ability to provide zoned buffer storage for loads – impossible on conventional overhead chain conveyors without stopping the complete system.


Buffer storage comprises sections of track able to accumulate loads to either sort and route to differing processes or to allow linear movement of items at varying rates as various manufacturing cells can operate at different rates, or even different shift times.


Storage zones can be power-assisted or completely free for manual movement, depending upon the application.


Midland Handling Equipment Ltd (MHEL) has a full range of power and free systems


capable of transporting the lightest components to those as much as eight tonnes. The conveyors utilise the company’s ‘Trakmaster’ powered systems for the drive medium, with a variety of trolley tracks suspended beneath, depending on the size of load to be carried and its weight. The connection is via specially designed pusher dogs attached to the chain at the required pitch, which engage with a towing dog on the front trolley of the load bar. These towing dogs can have either a fixed or an overriding type towing latch system, dependent on whether the load bars are required to accumulate at specified stop positions or not.


The switches and merges available offer a wide variety of customised storage configurations to be provided – often utilising a single drive system for optimum running costs. Power-and-free configurations also offers the power and freedom for zoned processes and can allow clear floor areas for production.


MHE systems for JCB paint lines


An example of a heavy duty power-and-free system from Midland Handling Equipment Ltd.


50 SURFACE WORLD december 2013


A typical heavy duty power-and-free system from Midland Handling Equipment Ltd is the one installed earlier this year at the manufacturing plant of global excavator manufacturer JCB in Pune, India. The ‘Trakmaster 406 TC’ conveyor is based on


similar MHEL systems installed at other JCB manufacturing sites. The new facility allows JCB India to process more components with less manual handling and to a higher quality finish.


The conveyor was designed and manufactured at the company's Leicester factory, then shipped in containers, with the steelwork being made in India to MHEL drawings and specifications. MHEL engineers then travelled to India to install and commission the system and train the JCB staff fully in its operation.


The 600ft long system incorporates two 6 metre high lift stations at the load and unload points, with a capacity of four tonnes per load bar. Excavator parts are loaded onto one of twelve 5.8 metre long load bars at the lift station and automatically transported through a primer, top coat, oven and cooler plant before being unloaded and transferred to the production line. Every stage of the process is fully automated with touch screen HMI interface to give operators information on each product and load bar status.


Another ‘Trakmaster 406TC’ heavy duty power-and-free line, this time 1,200ft long, has also been supplied to JCB in Brazil this year.


www.mhel.co.uk read online@ www.surfaceworld.com


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