Scott designed and built a fully automatic palletising system for a renowned viennoiserie producer in Flanders, Belgium. One of the main challenges was not to interrupt the cold chain required for the frozen bakery products. Two high capacity palletisers in combination with accumulation zones in the freezer ensure that this objective is achieved.
The Moeskroen Factory has six production lines located at different points around an established site, with limited space at the ends of each individual line. The baking and freezing processes are continuous and extremely time critical. Any process stoppages are costly, detrimental to quality and time consuming to clear up.
The packing operations have to take place at ambient temperature, with a frozen product, which is extremely temperature sensitive. There was a requirement for safe operator access between the lines and ingress of packaging materials. Total peak production was over 100 medium & large cases per minute making over 50 full pallets per hour.
Any solution needed to handle multiple case sizes with complex layer patterns, case weights up to 15 kg, occupy as little space as possible and offer future flexibility for future customer demands.
After engagement with the Alvey Scott team, a solution was developed based on vertical elevation at the end of each line to maintain access and ingress. Case transport at high level utilises unused factory space and brings case to a central buffer area located at high level within a minus 25 degrees centigrade cold store to protect the product.
Alvey’s unique buffering solution meant the product can be kept at a safe temperature. The buffering system whilst building up a full pallet load, enables continuous production and far fewer stoppages when compared to any directly coupled solution. The tables themselves are designed to run without any operator interventions and to be virtually maintenance free, ideal in such a cold environment.
Once a full pallet load is ready, cases are transported back out to ambient temperature and automatically palletised on one of two Alvey palletisers. Each palletiser has been rated for extra capacity and product flows can be switched to either unit depending on availability. Each palletiser has access to five different customer specific wooden & plastic empty pallets de-stackers and can apply multiple Inter-layer sheets without disrupting production.
To protect the product, palletisation is continuous, with completed pallets being wrapped, labelled and delivered back into the cold store in under 5 minutes.
Since the installation, in addition to reduced Labour costs across multiple shifts and reduced labour inside the cold store, production output has increased by over 15% with improved line efficiencies and fewer line stoppages.
Other benefits include reduced product damage & rejects, reduced packaging material costs through greater accuracy of stacking and reduction in board quality, improved pallet load stability, reduced pallet and fork truck movement internally and reduced supply chain returns.
If you have continuous production processes, with temperature sensitive products, and very limited floor space, then please ask us about our innovative, yet proven, end of line automation solutions.