Addo Food Group: getting critical two-way communications up and running on a complex site
Clear and fast communications for the complex food manufacturing industry
Addo Foods is one of the UK’s premium chilled savoury food manufacturers. With known brands such as Wall’s and Pork Farms pastries, in a market that is valued at £1 billion, they are immensely busy all year round.
The complex layout and age of their Poole manufacturing site in Dorset meant that there were problems with communications which were affecting efficiency. Chat-Com was able to assist by creating a new two-way communications system that worked flawlessly site-wide, ensuring production problems were dealt with immediately and not delayed due to dropped or lost signals.
Client requirement: establishing communications across a challenging site
Food manufacturing at the Poole manufacturing plant is fast-paced and nonstop therefore any problems that arise or changes to orders that come in have to be dealt with immediately. A delay in getting information from one part of the site to another could result in clients waiting for their order, factory equipment out of action, and food that needs to be discarded.
The site is best described as a bit of a rabbit warren. Much of it is also underground, and when the two were combined it resulted in ‘dead zones’ for standard radio and mobile phone reception.
Our brief was to implement a two-way communications system that would eliminate dead zones and put in place the necessary tools to enable staff to communicate effectively and improve health and safety across the site.
The first step was to find a solution that would give good coverage across the site, despite the underground location and ‘blind spots’ that passages and tunnels create.
We undertook an extensive site visit to understand the difficulties posed by the location and layout. Following that, we discussed the key reasons for radio communications requirements which included:
- Immediate access from production to engineers to fix equipment faults and problems.
- Open lines of communication between operations and manufacturing to discuss order changes.
- Safety for lone workers in isolated locations.
Our Recommended Solution
After an extensive site survey to determine the most suitable location we erected a temporary antenna with a repeater system and achieved full coverage of the entire site. This both receives and re-transmits a signal, giving greater coverage.
We recommended and implemented use of the Hytera PD6 Series radio for all staff. The PD6 series is highly robust and and reliable with IP67 compliance to ensure smooth working in moist and dusty environments. It’s features enable ‘all call’ as well as private calling options (much like a telephone for a private conversation) making it ideal for this situation.
From the moment the new radio antenna was operational, things have improved at the Poole site. Specifically:
- Communications are instant with no loss of detail or Chinese whispers as news and information are conveyed to staff.
- Engineering failures and faults with equipment are reported immediately and repaired quickly, reducing downtime.
- Lone workers are fully protected with systems in place for quick and effective communications.
- Operational benefits are already being reaped, a result of the ability to discuss order changes and be more agile with prompt communication.
Following this positive outcome at the Poole site, we have delivered a similar successful radio solution at the Shaftesbury location.