Currently, the Hyflo line is used for made-to-order lower volume foam products. It will also be a development machine for formulations between leaving the laboratory and finding their way onto the larger line.
In the future, this line will be expected to be a higher volume plant, manufacturing the products it was initially used to develop, Wood said.
Earlier on the day that Urethanes Technology visited the factory, Wood’s team had been carrying out product development work with a potential client on the new Hyflo line.
Vita has since made another significant investment at the site, with the installation of a new curing facility in the second half of 2017. Although this is principally fed by the Cannon-Viking line, according to Wood it can equally be linked directly to the UBT line, thus providing greater flexibility for growth and protection against business interruption.
All about Cannon Viking
Cannon Viking is as old as the polyurethane industry itself. Along with firms such as Hennecke, it traces its roots back to the late 1950s. Commercial manager Jonathan Rayner explained that, in his experience, at production of around 1000 tonne/year many customers switch from boxes to small continuous machines.
Customers can then progress in size through the company’s range up to Maxfoam models from 400, 600 to 800 Maxfoam Trough and Elite Liquid Laydown to the CMax 800 and 1000 models as the volumes grow, he said.
The Cannon subsidiary claims to be the only European slabstock manufacturer offering a complete integrated turnkey solution from tank to block cut off. It also claims to be the only Maxfoam manufacturer which builds its own controls in-house. ‘This allows us the flexibility to develop and modify our products to customer requirements,’ Rayner said.
The company’s machines offer closed-loop control which, Rayner said, ensures chemical metering and machine performance are as accurate as possible.
Its CarDio carbon dioxide and filler technology has been a real growth area for the business over the past five years, Rayner said.
Cannon Viking also claims to be a pioneer in computer control. ‘We have a team of four who write the software for Viking machines,’ Rayner said. ‘This is a unique feature, but it is a standard product for us. We can link directly to customer’s machines if they are having trouble.’
In terms of machinery development, Rayner said: ‘Mechanically, we don’t see a lot of changes. A pump is a pump, but the controls side of the business is really changing.’
The company has been located on the western side of Manchester since its early days. ‘A lot of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers are nearby,’ Rayner added. ‘Manchester is an engineering city.’
Manchester for engineering
He said that Cannon Viking buys the pumps, motors and mass flow meters. ‘We assemble and dry-test each new machine here using a tried-and-tested modular design,’ he said.
The 4500m2 site in Trafford Park handles 40 projects/year, including 10-15 new machines, Rayner said. The rest of the work includes upgrading components for customers who cannot stop their machines. ‘We supply new components such as mixing heads or metering lines or controls or flat-top equipment to optimise their machinery,’ he said.
Rayner added that the company has been fortunate to have hadt five years of continuous growth. ‘We are finding that while many customers are looking at refurbishing, a lot of are buying new machines to replace old or are opening up new branches and want to use familiar machinery,’ he said. ‘We find we are supplying hardware and know-how and project management today.’
Like other companies that have been around for some time Cannon Viking, has a long list of clients. Most recently, business has been good in parts of Latin America. The company is working on projects in Peru, Argentina and Mexico. Recently completed projects, in addition to the Vita Group line, include a high-pressure liquid laydown MaxFoam plant for Mentvil in Argentina, where, Rayner said, one machine replaces two existing foaming lines.