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Tray washers supplied by Industrial Washing Machines (IWM) are helping AF Blakemore and Son to minimise the environmental impact of its operations.

The key is the use of reusable plastic trays for deliveries to the Spar grocery stores that AF Blakemore supplies, in place of the disposable cardboard cartons previously used.

Marc Deakin, general manager at AF Blakemore, said: ‘We started to consider making the move to trays about three years ago.

‘But one of the issues we had to address was keeping the trays clean.

‘With a small number of trays, manual or subcontract washing might have been an option, but, if the changeover was successful, we would be handling tens of thousands of trays per week.

‘In-house washing was the logical option.’ After carefully evaluating the requirements at AF Blakemore at that time, IWM recommended the installation of a Crusader T600 tray washer.

This has a maximum capacity of 600 trays per hour, and provides sustained jetting with hot water and detergent to ensure thorough cleaning.

For economy, and to help protect the environment, the detergent solution is recirculated from a heating wash tank, using an energy-efficient 7.5 kW pump.

The Crusader T600 machine also provides solenoid-controlled cold-water rinse from the mains and, in the AF Blakemore installation, it is fitted with a single blow-off section to remove excess water from the trays and assist with drying.

When AF Blakemore required more tray capacity, IWM recommended the larger Crusader T1500, which has a nominal throughput of 1,500 trays per hour split over two conveyorised lanes It shares many of the features of the Crusader T600, but adds post-wash sustained jetting with hot water for even more effective detergent removal and, if the 85C water temperature option is used, a high level of sanitisation.

The Crusader T1500 is modular, allowing its configuration to be matched to the end user’s needs.

For AF Blakemore, two blow-off sections are fitted, plus one heated section to allow a proportion of the pallets to be delivered fully dry and ready for immediate use.

IWM further customised the AF Blakemore T1500 by re-designing the standard in-feed system so that it would accept trays from a raised platform rather than from ground level.

Thanks to its move to tray-based deliveries, which has to a large extent been made possible by the reliability and performance of the tray washers, AF Blakemore is now able to recycle more than 89 per cent of its waste.

And since the company’s suppliers now pack their goods in trays loaned to them by AF Blakemore, they save money on not having to buy cardboard boxes.

A proportion of these savings have been passed on to AF Blakemore, so it would be easy to argue that the tray washers will pay for themselves over a short period of time.

Industrial Washing Machines

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