No need to shout in Milbanks's new factory


No need to shout in Milbanks's new factory

The first slabs have been ceremonially cast at the brand new factory of Milbank Floors Ltd in Brandon, UK. Factory staff are whistling while they work - the new extruder is so silent you can hold a conversation standing right next to it, and the entire plant has been designed to comply with the strictest of environmental and safety regulations. Elematic was in on the project right from the designing phase and has delivered the plant, recycling system and all.

In Concrete Issues 4/2005, we introduced Milbank Floors Ltd and followed the planning of their new plant for hollow-core production, a plant equipped with Elematic's latest technology. At moments, the project held its collective breath and hoped for the best, such as when the building license was put on hold due to environmentalists demanding more thorough information on the impact of the plant on the environment. However, soon everyone could relax and continue with the building scheme, as the Elematic-delivered production systems complied with even the strictest ecological requirements.

Making the best slabs ever

Now, up and running, the plant has met the expectations of Milbank management and workers alike. Paul Hobson, Managing Director at Milbank Floors says he never doubted it would. "We knew that Elematic, being the world's biggest, could deliver an exemplary plant and they did, and with very good speed as well! The machinery has made a wonderful slab straight out of the box, and we are very happy with the start-up phase - no material is lost at the beginning of casting." Production Director at Milbank Floors, Mr. Chris Ward, is equally enthusiastic: "This is absolutely the best quality hollow-core ever produced in the UK; I have never seen a slab so good!"

No noise, no dust

Production workers are enjoying the extremely low noise level and cleanness of the factory environment. In addition to the silent machines, life is better when also the noise, dust and water from sawing is kept within a sealed area - the Elematic fixed sawing concept sees to that. Shortly, when the last details of the recycling system have been screwed down, the water and slurry will go into the system and come out ready to be reused. "We are really looking forward to recycling", states Mr. Paul Hobson. Elematic has designed all machines to be ergonomic and easy to use. "Safety aspects have been considered carefully for the whole factory, and we have done our best to implement them so as not to disrupt or slow down work in any way", explains Elematic's Senior Export Manager Mr. Tarmo Sahala.

Positively easy to operate

Milbank's new, highly automated plant includes 6 casting beds of 150 m each, sophisticated casting machines, plotting and bed cleaning equipment, the fixed sawing concept, and a recycling system. An additional 6 casting beds are planned for the near future. "The high degree of automation weighed heavily in our decision to buy the plant from Elematic. The ease of operation is wonderful! We have absolutely no problems getting the mix right, as we have had previously. Not forgetting that automation also enables maximum output and keeps our labor cost low", describes Mr. Paul Hobson.

Professional humor

The cooperation between Milbank Floors and Elematic progressed smoothly throughout the project, regardless of differences in culture background and mother tongue. A healthy sense of humor on both sides helped. "Elematic machinery expert Hannu Lehtonen commissioned the plant and we are very pleased with his input. What he does not know about hollow-core commissioning is not worth writing about! He joked a lot and got on well with everybody, and at the same time he handled everything really professionally".

Impressive potential

Elematic is present at the factory initialisation to ensure that everything starts up smoothly, and provide the training to operate the new plant to maximum effect. Initial training has commenced and is still continuing for some time. "I believe we were selected to provide Milbank with this plant because we could include everything in the delivery - planning, training, environmental considerations, even the recycling system. This is what differentiates us from the competition and keeps us a leading one-stop-supplier", Mr. Tarmo Sahala reflects. It seems that Milbank Floors is making good progress towards the goal Mr. John Milbank, Chairman of Milbank Industries, mentioned when interviewed for the previous Concrete Issues article: "The intention is to double our turnover with this new plant". Milbank's Paul Hobson agrees things are looking good. "We have already been showing customers around the factory and they have been very impressed by the potential of our new plant".