When systems need to be versatile and robust

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With Sita’s boss predicting the UK is on course for an annual fine of more than €200m p.a., the UK’s waste management sector is under pressure to raise the ante when it comes to increasing recycling rates. What is the materials handling industry offering to help maximise productivity? Freelance journalist Claire Col investigates.

Sita boss David Palmer-Jones has been making news again saying that Britain is heading for an annual fine of more than €200m a year from 2020 unless there is an increase in household recycling. His comments were made at the second session of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s inquiry on waste management, which addressed concerns that Britain’s effort to meet EU recycling targets is faltering. Palmer-Jones said government officials believed Britain would face a fine of €700,000 a day if it fails to increase recycling rates to 50% and went on to say that the government is not doing enough to bolster the waste industry. 

“There is political instability, a lack of leadership and a lack of vision,” he said. “There is a real risk of market failure.” 

According to Defra any fines are hard to predict. In England 43% of waste is recycled and despite increases in recycling rates over the past decade, fears are that this has flat lined and might even drop.

Efficient material handling equipment is therefore essential to maximising productivity and controlling costs in these pressured times, and whether it’s storage for bulk, handling equipment or engineered systems, manufacturers need to be expert at problem solving to maximise efficiency while keeping costs down. 

Blue Group

Originally established in 1888, Blue Group and their partner company Blue Fuchs offer a comprehensive range of material handlers for scrap, ports, recycling and timber handling. 

Indeed, it was to Blue Fuchs that Quality Freight UK turned to for help at Ellesmere Port facility, recently investing in a new Terex Fuchs MHL 360E from Blue Fuchs.  

The Fuchs material handler (pictured top right) will operate at the company’s railhead which currently handles more than 200,000 tonnes a year, with varying types of cargo including bulk, container and fast moving consumer goods. The Fuchs MHL 360E will be used by Quality Freight to discharge rail cargoes as well as for loading ships.  

Reported to be robust in design, the Fuchs MHL 360E is said to be a versatile handler, “suited to the most rigorous and challenging loading conditions”. 

According to Blue Fuchs, the MHL 360E is designed with an operating weight of 46t and a reach of 18m, which makes it is a high performance handler.  

“The enhanced hydraulic system guarantees impressive lifting capacity with rapid operating cycles, and it’s this lift capability coupled with the manoeuvrability of the wheeled handler that makes the Fuchs MHL 360 a perfect choice for quality freight,” says a Blue Fuchs spokesperson. 

“Additionally, the highly efficient 186-kW engine ensures minimal emissions, exceptional fuel consumption and low noise levels,” adds the company representative.  

Quality Freight UK head Sebastian Gardiner states: “We have been very impressed by the productivity of the 360E, with the reach and lifting capabilities exceeding our expectations.” 

Milbury Systems

As a precast manufacturer, FP McCann and partner company, Milbury Systems provide pre-stressed concrete panels to a range of construction projects including waste and recycling centres. MRFs often require bulk storage bays capable of housing a wide range of materials and Milbury offer various solutions to suit individual requirements. 

“The precast freestanding units are an ideal solution for storage when the main building cannot tolerate additional load on the structural steelwork as these are independently supported solutions. 

“VCs are also ideal for permanent outdoor solutions,” states the company before adding its freestanding Rocket wall units are a quick and flexible way to create bulk storage bays for waste and recycling materials.” According to Kieran Fields, Milbury Systems’ marketing manager, the units are particularly suitable when the main building cannot tolerate additional load on the structural steelwork and they can be loaded from either side.

Milbury says the FP McCann Rocket Wall unit is shaped as an inverted Y providing high capacity storage of materials up to 16KN/M3. 

“The unique shape of this unit uses up to 30% less raw material than typical alternatives so Milbury can deliver more units per load. These units are manufactured with a smooth impervious finish resulting in no lodged material. Rocket units are designed to be easily moved and installed with fixing points located externally to ensure ease of installation,” explains Fields. 

ACP (Concrete)

Established in 1986, ACP (Concrete) is a specialist UK manufacturer of precast and prestressed concrete wall panels, forming part of the Thomas Armstrong Group. The Cumbria based manufacturing facility is reported to have the capacity to produce over 3.5km of wall panels per week. 

“All our concrete is mixed on site in our own batching plant and the raw materials are largely supplied by the parent company giving us quality control from start to finish. We have our own in-house engineer and all our products are designed to Eurocode 2 and are CE Marked,” explains Jeremy Nash, ACP’s sales director. 

“Prestressed concrete panels are made in a variety of thicknesses to suit different applications, for example 95mm thick for non-loadbearing walls, 145mm and 180mm thick for loadbearing walls such as waste transfer stations, MRFs, recycling bays and bulk storage buildings, right up to 280mm thick for the highest load situations such as AD silage clamps and flood attenuation tanks. Precast Arrow Panels are portable wall units available from 1m-4m high and are ideal for division walls, or to construct bunkers or provide temporary walls to extend a building/bunker.”

Indeed, it was to ACP that D L Rhodes & Sons engineers turned to recently for help with an emergency building project at a large waste transfer company. 

“There were health and safety problems with the existing walls,” recalls director Nigel Rhodes. “And we needed to install around 3000sq meters of internal wall quickly to reduce the downtime.” 

Elite Precast Concrete

Lincoln-based Elite Precast Concrete is a UK precast concrete specialist who supplies clients with interlocking concrete blocks which can be used for storing a variety of materials. 

“We have a huge range of ‘semi-dry’ and ‘wet-cast’ products which we supply to every sector of UK industry imaginable. We have clients including small start-ups, private individuals and international blue chip businesses,” says Owen Batham, Elite’s sales and marketing director. 

Among the company’s products is Legato.

“Elite is the only company in Europe to manufacture interlocking blocks using high strength (50N/mm2) concrete. This allows our Legato blocks to exhibit extreme levels of durability, combined with the flexibility of having their own cast-in lifting pin. As each standard block will build 1.28m2 of wall, they provide an incredibly quick solution in a wide variety of applications,” explains Batham.

Along with Legato, Elite also supplies clients with its Duo Interlocking concrete blocks. “The clever design (which incorporates a cast-in lifting pin flush with the concrete surface) allows the blocks to be easily dry laid on to any firm surface, creating bay dimensions to suit almost any site,” states the sales and marketing director, before adding that all the company’s blocks are Class A1 fire resistant which in view of recent fires at waste and recycling facilities is a definite plus.


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