Friday 21st Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

YDC chills out with blast freezer for eight production lines

Yeovil-based Yoplait Dairy Crest (YDC), which produces fromage frais and children’s chilled yogurts and desserts, has a new blast freezer to chill eight production lines. The blast freezer, supplied by Transrent Holdings division Chill It, has given YDC “greater capacity and flexibility”.

According to Alan Mills, YDC despatch manager, the blast freezer can chill 14 pallets in just one hour, so 42 pallets can be chilled in just a three-hour period. “This is greater capacity than we previously had,” he says.

YDC’s blast freezer comprises a low level elevation platform allowing it to be fixed to the side of the building for easier operation. The blast freezer incorporates a ceiling-mounted five-fan Eurovent Certified Evaporator and uses the cross flow principle to ensure all product is frozen evenly.

Mills says: “The goods will come off the production line, into the main chiller, then into the blast freezer, then back into the main chiller for shrink-wrapping. An additional benefit is that the process will be simplified.”

The company, formed 12 years ago as a joint venture between Yoplait and Dairy Crest, is one of 32 dairies supplying chilled products to Dairy Crest’s distribution centre in Nuneaton.dimensional gifts that sell alongside cards. The company recently moved to a new 2,325sq m distribution centre at Tangmere, West Sussex, having outgrown its old storage and distribution site at Ford, Arundel.

Ian Wakefield, operations director for Carte Blanche, explains its storage needs: “We were looking for a tailor-made order fulfilment solution. We wanted to be able to store, pick and transport the small products around the warehouse whilst also providing a facility to store and pick bulky carton items.”

LSS beat off two rivals to win the business. Its solution comprised carton live and pallet live storage, pushback racking, an overhead conveyor system and a two-tier mezzanine floor. Wakefield comments: “They [LSS] spent a lot of time with us to ensure it was right. They also provided support by liaising with the overhead conveyor supplier, Polymark, to make certain that the combined solution would integrate successfully.”

The installation saw the old carton live racking (1,100 picking face locations) being dismantled and re-built in the new facility with the addition of a further 1,200 new locations. The carton and pallet live bays were configured into nine different picking zones. Plastic bins for small products are on the ground floor, with pallet live storage on the first and second floors for picking cartons.

The overhead power and free conveyor supporting 90 gondolas moves constantly around the three floors of picking zones, and from there to the packing benches on the first floor. A conveyor then transports the boxes of packed goods to the ground floor despatch bays. For the larger items, two upper levels of pallet live storage have been installed together with an upper deck for pushback racking for storing the most bulky products.

Wakefield says: “As we supply our products to 6,000 retail outlets across the world it is vitally important that our new distribution centre is both efficient and cost-effective. Our products are now picked, packed and prepared for distribution over the three floors with the minimum of manual handling and we also have ample storage capacity for our back up stock.