The Problem

Whin Hill Cider have been producing traditional Norfolk ciders and apple juice since 1993. As demand grew they found it necessary to invest in a new apple press. This was installed at their North Norfolk premises in 2000, and has generally proved successful. However, they were experiencing one particular problem.

The press was fitted with an automatic system using a motorised auger that fed apples into a mill for crushing. As the apple pulp in the mill builds-up this system should interrupt the feed of apples, allowing the milling action to clear the pulp before resuming the feed. It was found that this automatic system was incompatible with some varieties of apples that were used for cider, and did not respond to the build-up of the pulp. This resulted in the feed running uninterrupted and delivering apples to the mill continuously. An excessive accumulation of apple pulp ensued, clogging-up and ultimately jamming the mill.

As a short term expedient they switched the feed on and off manually, for a few seconds every minute. Apart from being a tedious job it also tied up one man (half the workforce) while they where processing the apples. Having established that a simple method of switching the feed motor on and off periodically was all that was needed to overcome this problem they tried to find an engineer willing to modify the machine. Unfortunately this search was in vain, and they persevered with manual operation until in September 2003 they contacted Boa Systems. This was just as their season was commencing, so the solution had to be provided quickly.

The Solution

Fortunately the requirement was quite straight forward and in a little over 2 weeks we were able to manufacture a simple self-contained timer. The unit had controls to independently set both the run time and the rest time of the feed auger and included a manual override to supplement that on the original machine. The timer was housed in a robust plastic enclosure that would protect the electronics from the moisture that might be encountered as a result of the periodic wash-downs that occur in the food processing industry.

We delivered the fully tested unit to Whin Hill Cider who were to do the installation when production schedules permitted. The installation was simple, requiring only 2 cables to be connected. A standard 3-core mains supply lead provided power and was for connection to a convenient supply point in the existing machine. The output, a relay contact, was provided by a 2-core lead that could be connected into the existing feed motors control circuit. The customer was able to do the installation without any problems and after a couple of days of operation that verified the function of the unit confirmed to us that all was OK.

        I've installed the unit and it works perfectly...

Thank you for an excellent job.           

Jim Fergusson (Whin Hill Cider)



More information about Whin Hill Cider's products can be found on their web site at
Post: Whin Hill Cider, The Stables, Stearman's Yard, Well-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1BW, England.
Tel: +44 (0) 1328 711033 Email:
Fax: +44 (0) 1328 711033 Web site:
Some photographs kindly supplied by Whin Hill Cider and used with their permission.
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