The project: Australis Engineering's confidential client sought to replace a manual palletising process from its product infill line with an automated palletiser that allowed for increased production rates and improved OHS while being able to fit in a constrained space and still operate effectively.
The Client also sought to ensure their unique product type was safely and securely palletised for delivery to their customers.
Based on our standard solutions, Australis provided our client with a customised, automated, integrated palletising system, comprising custom designed infeed conveyors and bag turner and a semi-automatic stretch wrapper for finished pallets plus an integrated safety system.
The system comprised:
- MLP-12 mini linear palletiser with customised gripper head and pallet patterns;
- Full touch-screen HMI with easy to navigate pallet pattern screens;
- custom designed bag turner;
- custom designed infeed conveyors to palletiser inclusive of a 'bag flattener';
- integrated semi-automatic stretch wrapper for finished pallets;
- full safety system inclusive of safety fencing and light curtains;
- Operator training and on-goingsupport.
The client is a prominent multi-national manufacturer of baking goods, supplying hundreds of customers with specialist pre-mixed baking products. Products are supplied to their customers in 15kg bags.
The client was having issues with reduced output coupled with higher input costs due to manual palletising of the 15kg flour bags. Historically hand palletising was preferred as the bags are extremely slippery due to the flour based product, and because of the 100+ product mixes each with differing physical characteristics (density, mass, viscosity) meaning automated palletising was either too costly or did not produce a stable pallet of product.
Australis solved these challenges by designing and implementing a:
- bag turner to accept the bags from the infill line and orient them correctly for the palletiser pick up position;
- 'bag flattening' conveyor to compact the product to minimise compression of the palletised product;
- custom made bag gripper palletising head to handle the different physical characteristics of each type of flour bag;
- customised product pick and place programme for the flour bags inclusive of an algorithm to adjust the drop height of each bag as the palletised product height increases, (which compresses the flour product, creating a new height variable as the stack increases);
- touch-screen user interface for the MLP-12 that enables the client's operators to easily adjust the pallet pattern and other variables for the 100+ product mixes and to help adjust for the differing physical characteristics (density, mass, viscosity) of each product type;
- semi-automatic stretch wrapper to ensure the final pallet load is firmly secured for delivery to customers; and
- full safety system, including exclusion from the palletising cell via safety fencing with a pallet infeed / outfeed bay incorporating industrial light curtains to instantly stop the palletiser should a person or object enter the palletising cell.
Return on Investment
The following information was provided by the Client's Operations Manager, about 6 months after the successful commissioning of the MLP-12 palletiser system:
By installing an MLP-12 system with integrated stretch wrapper and infeed conveyor, we have reduced the cost per unit of product produced by 5% overall, including reducing labour by 33% or 2 workers, and in the process have removed a WHS manual handling problem and reduced our insurance premiums and payroll tax.
The MLP-12 has been completely designed in-house by Australis Engineering's design team and is manufactured by our trades team here in Australia. By controlling the design and manufacturing process, Australis has been able to deliver a cost effective, small footprint palletising solution that has the potential to reduce labour input costs and achieve a positive Return on Investment in less than two years in most circumstances.
We can think of no better testimonial than repeat business. Our Baking Products client is so happy with the MLP-12 system they have purchased a second system for another line and have also purchased an MLP-10 to operate in another part of their plant.
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