Ravensbourn Operations Director Trevor Tomalin looks at Ravensbourn’s recent innovations in container knowhow.
With many positive comments made regarding the Basco Omega Dolly; together with our own market research, we began discussing plans for our own version of a blow moulded dolly. It would be a project that would take us out of the comfort zone of injection moulding tool design and into the relatively unknown world of blow moulding tool design.
The brief we set had two objectives. Firstly, to produce a plastic dolly that would fit our most popular Bread Tray (It quickly became apparent that a dolly designed to fit Bread Tray No2&6 would also fit the similar sized Bead Tray No1) using the best design features from the Omega version. The second objective was more long-term, and that was to make the current use of steel dollies with our trays redundant.
Late December 2009 and the first technical meeting had taken place at Jackson Bakery in Hull. One of the first issues we came across was deciding what features to include. Many of our large customers have over years adapted and modified their range of steel dollies to match their production lines. The only problem with a fixed mould dolly is that once metal has been cut there is not a lot that can be changed or modified. Another technical Meeting followed in the new year at Maple Leaf Bakery In Walsall. Both Jacksons and Maple leaf as it turned out had very different systems in place; each with slightly different steel dollies, even though the Bread Tray was the same size.
The advantage of Computer Aided Design is that any changes we needed to make to the design took no time at all. After a few more meetings we finally had a CAD drawing of the second only blow moulded Bread Tray dolly in the UK market. Once the design was agreed and signed off it was off to the tool makers. As injection moulders we are used to 14/15 week lead times for tool manufacture but with blow moulding tools we were given a 7 week lead time.
Mid/Late May 2010 and the dolly tool was completed. As soon as a small production run was completed a number of tests were carried out to make sure the dolly did its job. A slight modification was needed to satisfy a customer’s requirements but then it was all go for full production.
In the 5 months since its launch the dolly has proved very popular with our customers and we look forward to continued success in 2011 and beyond.
November 2010 and we are now discussing the possibility of another plastic dolly to fit our smaller Bread Trays. So watch this space…