Extensive savings through automatic palletizing at – 20 ° C
The palletizing of frozen products is usually done manually in a frosty environment or at about 0 ° C, with the risk of quality losses. A pilot project has shown that the automatic palletizing in the frost dream can be amortized in just 17 months. The Danish company Premier IS is a pioneer here.
Premier IS is the leading ice cream maker in Denmark. Fierce competition, tax increases and higher wages allow the company to continuously invest in higher productivity. For example, the installation of a new automatic palletizing line in the frost plant has significantly improved the working environment and reduced staffing by 5 full-year jobs, with a payback period of just 17 months. At the same time, the consumption of packaging materials has been considerably reduced. A PAL-Cut machine and the Antim65 ® anti-slip pier were integrated into this system.
Manual palletizing in the frost room
So far, the ice cartons have been manually stacked on pallets, with conventional interleaf sheets between each carton. Each year, a total of 25,000 pallets are packed and shipped, with many variants and large seasonal fluctuations requiring great flexibility. Since the company attaches great importance to quality, there is no way to continue palletizing at minus 20 ° C, so that the cold chain is maintained. A robotic automatic palletizing system would be the right solution, notes Bo Albrektsen. But minus 20 ° C is not a good working environment and places high demands on the robot and the automatic arch dispenser. Visits to other European ice cream manufacturers and contacts with the usual suppliers showed that there was no standard solution to this problem.
Unique palletizing at 20 ° C in the minus range
The ice is made in the ice cream machine at minus 6 ° C and then cured at -20 ° C. Only then is it packed and transported by conveyor belt to the still minus 20 ° C cold frost, where the new automatic palletizing system is installed. A packing robot lifts the boxes from the conveyor and places them on a pallet. The packing robot is 100% contacted with the automatic arc dispenser PAL-Cut.
From the arc dispenser PAL-Cut, the packing robot picks up the interleaving sheets and places the intermediate layers on the pallet. There are two parallel palletizing lines, each of which receives products from two production lines. Each line can pallet up to 30 cartons of ice per minute. That’s equivalent to eight to ten pallets per hour per line. The system is so intelligent that it can detect and lift about 40 different packing patterns.
Continuous operation is important. Therefore, the decision was made on the PAL-Cut automatic sheet dispenser and the ANtim65 ® non-slip paper. Bo Albrektsen emphasizes that the PAL-Cut system is unique in that it delivers only one sheet at a time. There is hardly any risk of the robot arm losing an intermediate layer of Antim65 ® anti-slip paper. This ensures smooth palletizing without disruptions or interruptions. In addition, this solution requires little maintenance, because a roll Antim65 ® anti-slip paper is delivered with about 3000 running meters. This corresponds approximately to the consumption of anti-slip paper during one operating week. In the past, pallets with intermediate layers had to be driven several times a day.
Lower paper consumption
The Antim65 ® anti-slip paper was also chosen because of the special coating of the interlayer sheet, which contributes to a particularly stable pallet construction, partly because of the possibility to reduce the paper thickness from 220 g / m² to 150 g / m², saving EUR 4000, 00 per year causes. In addition, of course, there are the environmental benefits of reduced paper consumption and the certification of foodstuffs certified by ISEGA Germany.
A huge challenge
The fact that the system has to work smoothly at minus 20 ° C was an immense challenge. Among other things, the robotic arm has been modified and equipped with a heating cap, the PAL-Cut machine has been equipped with engine heating, other lubricants, activation routines, etc.
Better work situation
The work situation has also won through the investment. In the past, four men each worked for 30 minutes in the frost dream. Then they were replaced by four colleagues, who then worked for another 30 minutes in the cold room, etc. The health and safety regulations allowed only a daily working time of four hours at minus 20 ° C.