Made in Lavenham

Made in Lavenham

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Medicentre...

The Medicentre was a new innovation adjacent to the cosmetics factory, and housed a range of approximately 30 herbal products such as ‘passiflora herbal tranquilisers’ and diahorrea tablets. As you went into the Medicentre from the main factory floor at Riverside works, to the left was a small office in which there were various testing machines for the tablets (the manager was a qualified chemist-type person). The small room adjacent to the office was the quarrantine area where the boxes of tablets were stored for 30 days (maybe longer) before they could be taken to the packing area.

In front of the office was a seperate room within the Medicentre which housed the machinery for filling the pots with the tablets. There was a stainless steel filling machine which measured out the correct number of tablets. A filler would hold a plastic pot underneath and the pot would be filled, then placed onto a very short conveyer belt to a cotton wool machine. A length of cotton wool would then be pushed into the top of the pot before someone else snapped on a lid. All the labels had to be put on by hand, which was far from easy.

A shrink wrap machine, which was situated near the entrance doors to the Medicentre, was used to make multi-packs and these would be boxed up and sent elsewhere as ‘orders’.

Only a few of us worked in there. I liked the fact I got to wear a white coat, despite not being a supervisor, which meant that nobody rushed you to finish your tea in the canteen. The filling machines had to cleaned down with surgical spirit after every use to avoid any cross-contamination. At the back of the Medicentre, behind the filling room, was the warehouse area where all of the orders were made up. There were tall racks of boxes all filled up with multi-packs of tablets in their plastic wrappers. I remember when I first worked in there, Christopher Holloway came down a few times to help me. When the packs of tablets had all been put into cardboard boxes, labelled and loaded onto pallets, the orders would be taken through the back doors. This was where fork lift trucks would move them around and presumably eventually load them into lorries.

I remember the manager was called Richard (he was in a band in his spare time!), and the supervisor’s name was Janet.

This video shows someone using a manual shrink wrap machine, similar to the one we used in the Medicentre (and in other places in the factory)…

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