Staffordshire-based company JWCI Process Engineering has solved a cheese storage challenge for its customer with the help of track roller guidance systems from Schaeffler UK. The tracked storage racking systems, which were designed, manufactured and installed by JWCI, have increased cheese storage capacity at the customer's cold storage facility by more than 70 per cent - without the customer having to expand its existing floor space.
Established in 1998, JWCI is a small-to-medium sized company of process engineers based in the village of Fole near Uttoxeter. The business employs around 30 staff and has an annual turnover in excess of £1 million. The company specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of processing equipment and pipework systems for a variety of customers in dairy, food, chemicals and other process industries. Systems provided by JWCI include hygienic cooling systems, centralised cleaning and washdown systems, mobile and tracked storage racks, boiler units, electrical control systems and accessories such as hygienic pipe fittings.
John Clarke, Managing Director at JWCI comments: "Many of our customers require bespoke solutions tailored to their specific requirements and so it is critical that we have good support from our suppliers in order for us to react quickly and deliver bespoke systems on time to the customer."
The bespoke tracked racking system has been operating reliably for the customer since April 2013. John Clarke adds: "We had to meet very strict timescales and budgets on this project and so it was important that our suppliers delivered on time and within budget - both of which I'm pleased to say Schaeffler did. We would therefore have no hesitation in specifying Schaeffler products again in the future."
He continues: "Over the last five years or so, JWCI has designed and installed storage racking systems of various designs for cheese producers. The first project involved the design and installation of a relatively small system, designed to fit the existing floor space for a customer. The second project, for a different customer, was installed as a trial racking system. The success of this spurned a third project in 2012, which involved the design and installation of a much larger cheese racking system to be installed in a second floor storage room at the customer's site. This system was designed to utilise the whole room, from floor to ceiling."
In this third project, the customer - a small UK-based producer of Stilton cheese - needed to increase its production output significantly without having to invest in new cold storage facilities or expand its existing storage floor space for cheese products. Clarke states: "Unless a solution was found to the storage issue, this could have prevented further growth of the customer's business. We therefore designed a stainless steel tracked racking system that utilised the existing storage space much more effectively, which meant the customer could increase production output significantly without having to invest in new premises or expand its existing cold storage facility.
"We designed, manufactured and installed a fully hygienic tracked racking system that could be easily moved by a single operator, eliminating trip hazards and resulting in a safer working environment."
The slabs of cheese, which typically measure 220 by 300cm, are stored in temperatures of 10-12degC. The storage racks are 3.5m high and 18m in length, and utilise almost all the existing space in the cold storage area - from floor to ceiling. As and when required, the racks of cheese products can be manually pushed or pulled from storage by simply sliding the racks back and forth along the low-friction top guide rails, which requires minimal effort. Essentially, the top guide rails prevent the storage racks from falling over by supporting the loads and ensuring that the racks remain inline at all times.
JWCI designed and built the storage racking systems during 2012 and assembled these on site in April 2013. For the racking system top rails, JWCI specified a total of 48 × 3m-long LFS series solid profile guideways from Schaeffler, as well as LFR series locating track rollers and bolts.
LFR series locating track rollers are double-row angular contact ball bearings that comprise an outer ring with a Gothic arch profile, an inner ring and two ball and cage assemblies. The inner ring and outer ring are made from 100Cr6 rolling bearing steel. The special outer ring provides two-point contact in the contact zone with the raceway. The bearings can support axial forces from both directions, as well as radial forces.
Chris Lait, Regional Sales Engineer at Schaeffler UK comments: "For the cheese storage racks, we custom engineered the track rollers in stainless steel in order to provide maximum corrosion resistance and to protect the guides from frequent washdowns, as well as to withstand the low ambient temperatures in the cool storage facility. In addition, the bolts, which are manufactured in high-strength screw steel, were supplied with concentric and eccentric collars, which enabled JWCI to easily assemble the top rail guideways to the racks on site. The track roller guides are dry running and so do not require relubrication, which was also important to the customer in terms of minimising maintenance and servicing of the racking system."