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tesco-washerA dedicated crate washer installation, from specialist manufacturer Oliver Douglas Ltd, is now operational at the latest in the growing number of purpose-designed home distribution centres being opened by one the UK’s leading supermarket organisations. The facility, at a new site in Middlesex, features an Oliver Douglas Trayline continuous wash and rinse system, which provides key features that are helping to ensure delivery trays and crates are cleaned to the highest standard. The installation is thereby contributing to both site efficiency and the maintenance of excellent cleanliness standards.

Because the Trayline unit has been positioned as a stand-alone facility, it can be operated as and when needed, allowing crates to be stored for cleaning and then periodically run in batches through the washing process. This helps to control operating costs while optimising the ongoing supply of clean crates a key requirement at the site as Phil Cooper, Product Development Manager at, explains.

“Products are held and picked on a zone basis to match customer requirements with bagged and non-bagged items then loaded into 20,000 plastic totes that move on a conveyor running throughout the premises, to the despatch area,” he says. “On their return from delivery, there is an ongoing requirement to ensure that the delivery crates are regularly checked and cleaned, which is a need now fulfilled by the Trayline installation.”

He points out that the machine is designed to be operated by one person. Crates are loaded by placing them base down one at a time for movement along the roof of the machine, at the end of which they are inverted as they turn and are taken up by the conveyor. This automatically feeds them in a controlled manner through the wash chamber with washed and rinsed crates then delivered back to the same operator.

With a length of little more than 3 metres, a width of less than a metre and a height of approximately 1.5 metres, the Oliver Douglas Trayline 2 installation in Enfield requires only a small footprint and was thus easily located in a dedicated area of the premises. Capable of handling up to 200 units per hour, it has been configured to accommodate the specific crate dimensions and design – some 20% lighter than many others – importantly, without damaging the embedded barcode.

As with all our wash systems, the Trayline series is manufactured from heavy gauge stainless steel and features a re-circulated wash facility. This contributes both to its economic operation and ensures a high quality fresh water rinse is maintained,” comments Paul Careless, Sales Manager at Oliver Douglas, who have gained a leading reputation for washing and cleaning systems in both the food and non-food sectors over more than 50 years.

Rather than functioning as part of the picking and processing line, it was important that the facility was installed separately and was versatile enough to allow to operate it only as and when required,” he continues. “The Trayline unit is now producing high quality cleanliness results for this growing part of the Tesco organisation and we are delighted to have been involved with such a successful and major company in the field. We believe it is an excellent example of the capabilities of our technology and, in particular the Trayline design,” Paul Careless concludes.

The 100,000 sq.ft. handling centre in Enfield is the fourth in a series of dedicated facilities now being brought on-line by the organisation in the London and Kent area. The site can handle up to 26,000 product lines across both food and small non-food items and, significantly, has been configured to make the most of mechanised processing and handling – a factor which is fully reflected in the decision to install the Oliver Douglas Trayline system.tesco

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