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Tsubaki chain provides the solution for Europe’s largest potato processing plant
The Albert Bartlett & Sons potato  processing plant based in Airdrie Scotland has been the site of a £30m investment over the last four years. It is both the company headquarters and arguably the most modern and environmentally friendly installation of its type in Europe. Having operated Tsubaki roller chain supplied by local power transmission specialist Scots Bearings alongside OEM equipment chain and other branded replacement chain the maintenance team at Bartlett has decided to standardise on Tsubaki roller chain. 
Steve McInnes of Scots bearings comments, “the most notable aspect of dealing with Albert Bartlett & Sons, other than the size of the plant and the level of technology employed there, is the company’s unswerving focus on quality. Due to a poor wear life displayed by both OEM and other branded chain in this relatively harsh processing environment we were asked to source a better quality alternative. We have now supplied Tsubaki replacement roller chain to the plant for the past two years and it has indeed resulted in extended wear life, resulting in a decision to standardise on Tsubaki replacement chain products”.
Airdrie is arguably the most modern and environmentally friendly facility of its type in Europe. Rainwater is collected from the factory roof for use in the washing process, and dedicated lines enable the water and soil residues washed from local, organic and imported produce to be re-cycled separately. The company has also invested in robot technology to improve safety and efficiency and installed Hydro coolers to remove field heat, reducing condensation and naturally extending the shelf life of the new potatoes.
This attention to detail is carried throughout the plant, famously within the industry, each potato that passes through the system has it’s picture taken at least three times, the images are processed and used to sort potatoes into finely judged quality grades. One of the main reasons for this level of automation is so that the plant can react quickly to changes in demand; a ‘cold snap’ will result in an instant rise in demand for potatoes for example, the Bartlett packing lines are able to change hoppers and re-start sorting, packing and labelling the new product virtually seamlessly in order to meet tight delivery deadlines with supermarkets.
The speed and time critical nature of the operation all mean that any maintenance has to be planned for far in advance, and ideally the maximum wear life is expected of every component. If for instance the roller chains that drive the conveyors, drum washers or packaging lines can deliver twelve months additional service life for example, they will have covered any slight premium in cost many, many times over.
There are 25x potato processing and packing lines, all of which will be fitted with Tsubaki replacement roller chain in a variety of sizes. The replacement chain is held in consignment stock onsite by Scots Bearings and replaced as and when necessary. Standard roller chain is used presently, but looking to the future, Tsubaki Lambda lube-free chain is seen a further upgrade possibility on some areas of the plant, and also lube-free Lambda WP water protected chain for use on the drum washers where stainless chain is currently used.
For editorial enquiries contact: Roland Renshaw, DMA Europa. Tel: 01299 405454  Email: roland@dmaeuropa.com
Contact for reader enquiries: Marketing Department, Tsubaki UK Ltd, Osier Drive, Sherwood Park, Annesley, Nottingham. NG15 ODX. Tel: 01623 -688788 Fax: 01623 -688789       e-mail: sales@tsubaki.co.uk. Web: www.tsubaki.co.uk

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