We were approached by one of our clients, for whom we have built several balers and compactors in the past. However, this time, they needed something a bit different. This site would need to be able to empty Dolav bins, which are food-grade polyethylene pallet boxes.

The Challenge

  • Dolav bins come in a variety of styles that make using a comb or trunnion-style bin lift impossible.
  • Some Dolav styles do not have any way to secure the bin during tipping, and those that do are not strong enough to support the stresses of repeated tipping and quickly fail.
  • The bins do not have their own wheels.
  • The SC3000 would be positioned under a shelter in the yard, so we had height and space limitations as well.
  • It had to be simple to use, for both reliability and usability.

The Solution

We sent an engineer to their site to grab one of the Dolav bins and get some measurements of where the new compactor was going to be positioned.

Back at the workshop, we got the measurements for the bin and made a mock-up in our design software. Our designer created a few quick concept designs that he tested in his software (it can highlight parts colliding and stress points). These tests quickly got us to one design that suited the requirements; this one also fulfilled the ‘simple to use’ requirement the best.

The design was a modified trunnion bin lift with a cage attached to hold the Dolav bin securely. The original bin lift did have some minor collision points, so some repositioning of the hydraulic components was needed to perform correctly. As this was all done in the design stage, there was no material wasted to learn these lessons, and only the designer's time was used. This is one of the ways we can easily add bespoke work to our production line without disrupting the flow.

After a quick double-check of the measurements, we sent the parts list to get laser cut along with ordering the rest of the metal. The main body of this static is the standard SC3000, and no changes were needed to accommodate the new type of bin lift.

The manufacturing stage went smoothly with no significant changes needed. The only thing different from normal on the production line was the customer wanted the static compactor painted a bright red; unusual colours are on-brand for this company.

The final concept design that we decided to put to production
The SC3000 with Dolav Bin Lift in situ
The SC3000 with Dolav Bin Lift in situ

Key Benefits

The final design allowed a Dolav bin to be loaded using a standard pump truck into the side of the cage. The site uses pump trucks for moving the Dolav bins normally, so this was nothing unusual for the team.

A locking mechanism prevented the Dolav bin from moving during operation.

A full safety cage surrounded the bin lift for additional safety during operation, which is also a good reminder to remove the pallet truck as the gate will not close with it in place, and the compactor will not run until the gate is fully closed.

The Road Ahead

We have a six-monthly service schedule with this customer on all their balers and compactors, so we will be regularly inspecting this compactor. When we perform the first service, we will also get some feedback from the people using it so we can update the design if we ever need to make a Dolav Bin Lift again.