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Time is Money in Beet Haulage

19th January 1951
Page 57
Page 57, 19th January 1951 — Time is Money in Beet Haulage
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How Vehicle Turn-round is being Speeded up in the Factory and on the Farm

By Harold Wickenden THE farmer, the factory, and particularly the haulier, all stand to gain by a quicker turn-round of vehicles engaged in delivering suger-beet during the present campaign. It is, or should be, a combined operation, starting in the grower's sugar-beet field and planned for at the receiving end by the

factory. .

Above all, the transport organizations should fully equip themselves to take advantage of every facility offerecl by grower and factory. Whether the lorry owner is a farmer or small contractor operating one vehicle, or a unit in a large organization. time is money in sugar-beet deliveries. .

During the past four years. the British Sugar Corporation has spent a large sum on the provision of elevated roadways—or "aircraft carriers" as they have been termed—at those of its 18 factories where road deliveries predominate. An extension of these facilities to other factories is proposed.

Improvements at Bardney

A typical example of these yard improvements is at Bardney factory in Lincolnshire. When Bardney factory was first opened in 1927, 75 per cent. of its raw material was received by rail. As at all factories in those days, mechanical aids to loading and unloading were almost unknown, and every ton of beet had to be manhandled with beet forks at least three times, from the field to the carts, from carts to the rail wagons and from the rail wagons to the factory silos. A fourth handling occurred if the beet were clamped awaiting collection.

To-day, 80 per cent. of Bardney's raw material comes in by road. Thirty per cent, of the vehicles are tippers. mostly of the large, hydraulically operated type. These lorries can discharge their 12-ton or 16-ton loads in a matter of 2i minutes—far quicker even than the Elfa washing-out gun can do the work.

The elevated road which makes this rapid discharge possible was designed and constructed by the factory engineers on the spot in 1946. Built of reinforced concrete and supported on pillars 15 ft. high, it has an' elevated discharge frontage 300 ft. long. This makes it possible for dozens of lorries to tip their loads simultaneously.

At the height of the season, the average number of vehicles using this gravity discharge method is 30 an hour. Abopt 15 minutes is the average time taken to weigh in, discharge the load and weigh out.

During the present campaign; similar overhead roadways are in use at the Allscott, Brigg, Cantley, Ipswich and Spalding factories.

At Bury St. Edmunds, the largest beet-sugar factory in Europe, a fine elevated road was constructed in 1948-9 without the use of steel. Advantage was taken of the site, and instead of using the pillar and reinforced-concrete technique, a solid embankment was formed and crowned with a concrete road. The corporation considers that, costly as these engineering works are, the service to growers thus provided amply repays the capital outlay.

This will be true if farmers and haulage contractors mechanize still further their part of the combined operation of beet delivery. In fairness to the haulier, the grower should clamp his beet against a hard road.

A hydraulically operated digger-type loader, mounted on a tractor, is probably the most efficient method of loading lorries quickly. On the other hand, an elevator-type loader will make the best job from the grower's point of view, as the beet will receive preliminary cleaning while being loaded.

An efficient loader should handle anything up to 10,000 tons or more per season, operating for a contractor whose customers are reasonably near to each other, and where the delivery programme can be organized to effect the greatest economy from farm to farm. Such a loader, costing from E175 to £300, should be a sound enough invest ment and should serve a fleet of five or -six. lorries. For those preferring the elevator-type loader, one capable of handling at least 15 to 20 tons per hour should he purchased.

Coming to the question of the vehicle itself, it is surprising that even now so few, large tipping lorries are in use for beet haulage. The most suitable lorry or trailer for sugar-beet work is one which will discharge at such an angle as to empty completely the load in one operation, preferably by hydraulic mechanism. This statement may seem too obvious to make, yet a walk round a factory yard will prove that many lorries in use fail in this essential.

Looking back over the 25 years since the establishment of the beet-sugar industry as we know it to-day, the great strides made towards quicker loading and unloading facilities can be seen.

25 Years Ago

In 1925, there were practically no • beet loaders on farms. At several factories, such as at Popplcton and Colwick, the roadways between the silos were 4 ft. or 5 ft. below the top of the silo walls, Over this barricade, the sugar-beet had to be forked. The design was deliberate to prevent loose 'soil being thrown into the flume with the beet.

Lorries and farm carts were held up for hours because of these antiquated methods. Two or more men accornpanied each load, as all unloading was by hand, and many vehicles could not deliver more than three loads to the factory each day.

Then came the Elfa system, which reduced unloading time from about 60 to 6 minutes for the average lorryload, but did not entirely eliminate the queue. The Elfa itself provided a bottleneck which could cause the loss of an hour in vehicle turn-round.

The mechanical loader, the hydraulic tipper and the great overhead roadways at the factories have now combined to open up a new vista of efficiency in sugar-beet haulage to those who will take full advantage of them.


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