With over fifty years’ experience and a multitude of major projects under its belt, Edwards Engineering is a multi-disciplinary engineering firm fully equipped to handle complex projects, from concept to completion. Safely managing suppliers, tight timeframes and budgets is vitally important to the successful completion of a project.

Edwards Engineering had worked closely with Dundee based tea and coffee merchants Aimers Coffee and Tea Limited over a number of years. Aimers imports coffee beans from around 30 countries and professionally blends, roasts, grinds and packages coffee for the wholesale trade. The rapid growth of the UK coffee market necessitated the need for a brand new factory in Dundee.

The problem

Outgrowing the existing facilities which was based in an old jute mill in the city centre of Dundee, Aimers acquired a modern 32,000 square foot unit nearby at Dryburgh Industrial Estate.

The existing site had housed operations for more than 65 years, but as the volume of operations had vastly increased, the factory, spread over four floors, was increasingly difficult to operate within. Beans were brought in on the ground floor and sent straight to the top floor before being moved to the basement and then back to the ground floor. The new premises gave Aimers a blank canvas, allowing a bespoke set-up to be designed and installed from scratch, streamlining the production process throughout the factory.

A new roaster was purchased from German based Probat and Edwards was approached to install a complete bespoke system that would manage the production process from start to end; from entering the system to storage, moving the beans into the roaster and throughout the journey to eventual packaging and distribution.

The solution

Edwards took on a full CDM project management role, guiding Aimers in terms of processes and regulations and, over 15 months, Edwards designed, supplied and installed the materials handling equipment that transported the beans around the plant to each processing area, as well as all the electrical components and wiring. Working closely with Probat, Edwards also installed the roaster with DPS Group assisting with the controls and control panels.

Aimers’ reputation is built on the high-quality product it provides. Coffee beans are a delicate material so it was imperative that their characteristics were fully understood to ensure the transportation throughout was as gentle as possible. This had a great effect on equipment selection to ensure a high quality of end product; mechanical conveying equipment was required in some instances and softer equipment in the form of elevators in other instances. Strict food regulations meant stainless steel was the main component for pipework.

The outcome 

Aimers now has a significantly improved factory setting that allows operations to run smoothly. Product now goes through a streamlined process, with confidence that this process handles the high quality product sensitively and avoids damage thereby improving production yields.

“Our brief for Edwards Engineering was to come up with a design to transport and store beans which would maximise the available space in the new building and exploit the full capacity and throughput of the new roaster whilst making sure that the quality of the end product was not compromised. In order to achieve this we had to be able to transfer beans at a rate which would ensure by the time the roaster had completed one batch, the next batch was ready to go. We also needed as many storage silos as possible to ensure any bottlenecks were eliminated.”

“Edwards Engineering’s expertise and professionalism was a huge asset to this project. They guided the installation, taking on a project management role to ensure each stage ran smoothly and regulations were adhered to, all while delivering excellent engineering. Their locality and costs were a big plus, but the high-quality workmanship they carry out was the main reason we brought them on board.”

Eric Duncan, Managing Director of Aimers Coffee & Tea Ltd