Lite-ing the way
Litecast’s new factory in Ansley Common, Nuneaton, is a 5,400 sq m (58,000 sq ft) building on a 60-acre site that the company has purchased.
Production capacity is 72,000 linear metres of cast concrete beams per week, compared with 42,000 linear metres at the old site, a mile away on the town’s Purley Chase industrial estate.
Excluding the cost of the freehold land, Litecast has invested £10m in the new facility.
Managing director Jonny Leroux said that the new factory was originally intended to be a replacement for the old site when planning began five years ago. “However, with sales as strong as they have been in the last year, we’re now thinking we may keep some of the old site operational as well,” he said.
Litecast, in fact, is now able to double-cast every day and it is aiming to be carbon-neutral.
New Concrete Plant
The key component of this new factory, the new complete batching plant to feed the entire operation, was studied in depth throughout the development process within Litecast, selecting MCT Group as the best partner for this important step for the
group, meant also to strengthen their presence in the United Kingdom construction business by starting a proprietary asset for the precast elements manufacturing.
The plant itself comprises of a receiving hopper where the lorries discharge their materials and these are then taken via a bucket elevator to the aggregate storage hoppers. The materials are then distributed into the correct compartment through a reversible shuttle belt, and all of these functions are controlled by the MCT Aggregate Feeding system, which runs independently from the main control system.
6No. Aggregate hoppers with a capacity of 60m3 each, 360m3 in total, then receive the materials, and these are monitored via laser probes to ensure the precise volumes are both checked for materials used and materials being properly discharged when filled from the aggregate feeding system.
When a mix is called, the materials are collected by MCT’s Mobile Aggregate weigh batcher, capacity of 2m3. The ‘mobile scale’ travels under each compartment and receives the correct material volumes, it also allows the materials to be discharged in any order allowing ‘premix’ of material prior to arriving in the mixer. There were several reasons why this was used over a conventional batching / weigh belt arrangement. Primary reasons were greater accuracy of materials being weighed, lower investment costs, elimination of material spillage.
The ‘skip hoist’ then take the materials to the 3000/2000 planetary mixer, which provide the factory with their concrete. Upon the mixer platform are the normal components such as Cement Weighing, Water distribution, Admix & dust extraction.
The mixer has 2 doors allowing further expansion to second travelling bucket line if required in the future. Cement is fed from 3 No. Silo’s 3x 100T (80m3) to the mixer.
The concrete is discharged into MCT’s travelling bucket, of which 2 were supplied serving bay 1 & 2, with total distance is 200M all of which is controlled via MCT’s own control system, providing the optimum delivery around the entire site in automatic mode.
The rollover buckets each have a capacity of 3000 liters and can travel at speeds of up to 200M per minute.
The mixers and travelling buckets are washed via MCT’s own deigned washing heads and all the washed water and materials are gathered below the plant where they are separated and this water is recycled back into the plant, the waste material can also be recycled.
All of the dosing, mixing and concrete distribution is controlled via MCT’s very own Compumat system, which is intuitive.