Macclesfield based Gradus Accessories are leading extruders of a comprehensive range of contract interior accessory products, including stair edgings, floor trims and wall protection. They have recently unveiled their new site which has consolidated their multi based operation into one core manufacturing base, named Springbank.

Gradus investment in this project has included a Central Material Feed System, provided by Summit Systems aimed to make their operation far more flexible and also to improve product quality and new product development capability.

Colour changes are a core fact of life for Gradus. Their product range uses in excess of 39 colours and the Maguire Gravimetric Blenders on all their lines, with automatic loading systems have streamlined their production. The Blenders are sited on a mezzanine floor above the extrusion lines and material is gravity fed as required from Octibins located in a dedicated area of the facility via purpose built DayBins. Allowing multi material choice to any line quickly and easily, two material selection manifold tables have been installed, one for rigid PVC lines and one for flexible PVC.

Personnel at Springbank speak of the vast improvements this sytem has brought to their processing. Now, all forklift activity is kept well away from the extrusion lines as they are only required to lift the Octibins from storage racks onto the adjacent DayBins. Previously, Octibins had been sited next to the lines as required and involved a pick up wand on each Hopper Loader to convey the material into the processing machine. Manufacturers operating this system will sympathise with the difficulty of maintaining the wand in the Octibin as the amount of material within decreases.

Gradus Manufacturing Manager, Mark Riley, said of the project "We were impressed by Summit's professional yet flexible approach. From the initial sizing and quotation of the system through to the installation and commissioning Summit's team gave us confidence in their ability." He added "This system has given us precise control of colouring, reducing our waste and therefore our costs. Simply, it works - its easy to control and has improved our production."

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