Advance installs bespoke buffer conveyor system

Since joining with EWOS® in 2015, Cargill has become one of the largest global suppliers of aqua feed, with 38 specialised production facilities and more than 2,000 employees in 20 countries.

Their Westfield site near Bathgate, Scotland, has 75 employees and manufactures superior quality aquafeeds and delivers tailor-made service and logistics solutions to meet their customers’ needs.


The feed products produced at Westfield are for salmonids (salmon and trout) which are supplied to salmon farmers in Scotland and around the world. In the supply chain, feed is bagged into bags on pallets and bulk bags with a single lift point. Bags are 500Kg, 1000Kg and 1250Kg, with all having the same footprint. 

Prior to the installation of a materials handling solution, bags were filled via a hopper positioned over sections of modular belt conveyor. Once filled, the bags were then lifted from the final section of the conveyor by forklift truck and transferred to a holding area. 

From there, the bags were ‘called-off’ from the holding area by forklift truck and deposited into the warehouse. 

The process had multiple lifts and handling, together with excessive forklift traffic moving through the production areas to collect from the dispensing hoppers. Associated issues included inefficient handling of the product, as well as the potential for a higher risk of accidents with forklift trucks operating in the production area around operators.


Along with other conveyor manufacturers, Advance was asked to provide a fully costed solution that resolved the current operational issues of multiple handling and the concentration of forklift truck traffic.

An initial idea was to feed bags from the hoppers onto a turntable conveyor that could rotate 90 degrees, feed bags off through a wall and onto an accumulating conveyor. Both hoppers could then feed filled bags onto a single line and transfer into the holding area.

In order to feed bags from the main line onto multiple accumulation/offloading lines, the bags would be rotated again via turntables and driven off at 90 degrees.

This solution would achieve the project goals and present the product into the warehouse for offloading via forklift but a more efficient and cost-effective solution was developed for the transportation of product from the production hall to the warehouse area.

The Advance Solution

An alternative and more cost-effective solution provided by Advance, was to install a section of modular belt on an automated shuttle that will simply travel along guide rails stopping at multiple out-feed points to feed the bulk bag onto one of several accumulation lanes. This option allowed for the removal of all turntables whilst still enabling the product to be transported from the production area to any of the 6 outfeed lanes.

This option provided the best solution for the customer and Advance secured the contract for the project.

The conveyor system itself comprised of Intralox modular belting, Lenze SMART motors, Siemens S7 PLC for system logic and a Siemens KTP700 touch screen HMI for system control and feedback. Fully manufactured, programmed and installed by Advance engineers.

“This project showed the ability of Advance to utilise our standard core product alongside our ability to design bespoke equipment. The main technology behind the conveyor system is very similar to our Advance SmartLine™ Pallet Conveyor System, however, as the product was not suitable for being transported on traditional roller conveyor we adapted our designs to use a modular belt conveyor for the product zone. Each zone is driven via its own Lenze SMART motor and is only running as and when it is needed, making the whole system very energy efficient.”

Shaun Graham, Sales Manager, Advance 

“The big bag conveying project is part of our ongoing capital plan to streamline flows and improve H&S by reducing traffic movements. We approached various companies to look at the project but Advance were the company that gave a quick response to the project and accommodated various changes requested, as well as providing innovative solutions to our requests. They also suggested some good value engineering solutions that helped the return on the project. The project was installed on time and on budget.”  Atholl Cameron, Maintenance & Projects Manager - Pallet Conveyors

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