ABB - Intrion

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Let’s meat again

Complexity and volume no longer a challenge for Debaenst

 

Growth often means added complexity. Especially if you want to distinguish yourself with better or faster customer service. Meat processing company Debaenst located in Mouscron decided to automate its production process and is now fully prepared for the future.

 

Debaenst (34)Until a couple of years ago, Debaenst was able to perform all its storage and processing activities by hand. But as the proportion of supermarkets in its customer base grew, this resulted in a dramatic increase in complexity for its meat pre-packaging processes. The volumes it had to produce increased steadily, too.

Kurt Debaenst, Business Manager: ‘We started thinking about automation when we noticed our expansion and the added complexity this brought with it were starting to affect our efficiency levels. Initially we just wanted an automatic system for storing our cuts of meat that needed to go to the portioning room, and intrion proved to be the perfect partner to develop this for us.’

 

Sophisticated control for maximum performance

The principle behind the iCollector, which is what the system is called, is quite simple. The solution consists of a racking system with movable arms for storing and delivering boxes. It can accommodate seven boxes in a row behind each other, which results in lots of storage capacity in a very limited area: 1,500 crates in 290m³. That was a very important requirement for this concept. Wim Vermeir, Sales Engineer at intrion, explains: ‘When a box is slid into the system on one side, another box automatically comes out the other. And the great thing is that you can put boxes in and take them out o both sides. Good control is of course essential to getting the maximum performance out of a system like this, so we designed and set it up within intrion.’

When the cuts of fresh, vacuum-packed meat are needed in the portioning room, the iCollector automatically retrieves the right boxes according to the production order. Dozens of butchers then cut the meat in the portioning room before it is packaged in sealed trays. The experiences with the initial automation were so positive that the idea of automatically buffering the trays soon followed.

 

Small runs, customized labels, different prices per branch – we like these little “specialities”, especially now that our system can manage them all.
(
Kurt Debaenst, Business Manager)

 

1,800 trays per hour, with personalised labelling

Debaenst (11)This was right up intrion’s street, too. Once the meat has been vacuum-packed and sealed in its trays, a robot automatically places those on a larger tray, product by product. They’re then taken to a second iCollector on a conveyor belt, where they’re placed in one of the system’s locations. The intrion software looks up if larger trays are needed to supply the required number of trays per order and automatically retrieves them in the right order from the iCollector. Two robots then pick the exact number from the larger trays at a top speed of 1,800 trays per hour. Half-empty picked larger trays are returned back to the iCollector, and the smaller trays are placed on a conveyor belt the right way round to go to the labelling machine. intrion uses this machine to stick the labels on each individual tray, with the customer name and all the necessary details taken from the ERP system. The price, which can differ per customer branch, can also be printed if required.

 

Benefits on various fronts

This second iCollector separates the production process from the shipping process. ‘This buffer allows us to start portioning based on the predicted amounts required. ‘At the moment when the customer effectively places the order, we only need to make whatever there is a shortage of and integrate it in the order process,’ explains CEO Alain Monteyne. ‘This means we can ultimately deliver faster and more flexibly than before, because we used to start portioning earlier in the process. And if the retailers want, we even sort the products per branch so they can easily cross-dock the goods in their central depot.’

 

More profiling as service provider

‘Three years ago we had maybe 60 SKUs; now there are around 500,’ adds Kurt Debaenst. ‘In recent years, for example, we’ve included a lot more breeds of cattle in our range of products. This gives our customer more choice, and we can process all their requests very efficiently. The automation also allows us to profile ourselves more as a service provider. Small runs, customized labels, different prices per branch – we like these little “specialities”, especially now that our system can manage them all.’

These days we’re delivering around 80,000 to 100,000 trays every week. And if Debaenst wants, there’s enough room to add another identical iCollector next to the existing one in the future. Welcome growth, welcome complexity.


 

About Debaenst

Since Debaenst was founded 68 years ago, it has grown over three generations from being a small butcher’s into a fully-fledged meat processing company. In 2000, the company started selling cuts of meat as well as whole carcasses. Two years later, it also started providing pre-packaged meat products with customised labels for customers. This trend has only increased. Lots of fresh preparations based on raw meat, such as gyros, roulades and brochettes, have been added more recently. Debaenst now has around 45 employees.

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Never get nuts: intrion brings tranquillity to the donut line

Vandemoortele in Seneffe produces frozen donuts in various sizes and colours, which means their packaging line needs to be flexible and rapidly adjustable. In addition, donuts production cannot just be stopped if a fault develops in the line somewhere. intrion constructed an installation prepared to meet every eventuality.

 

 

24,000 donuts per hour

The packaging process starts with a tray former with an in-built buffer function. Six picker robots fill these trays with all kinds of donuts. Vision systems determine the donuts’ location on the conveyor belt, as well as the orientation, shape, diameter and quality. The robots then organize the data to place the donuts in the trays in the most appropriate way, reaching speeds of up to 24,000 an hour. Next the trays are packed in flowpack and run through a heat tunnel which shrinks the film. A second buffer has been inserted here for filled trays.

 

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A picker robot fills trays with donuts according to their size.

Suitable for all sizes of boxes

A four axis robot places the filled trays into automatically shaped external boxes. This unit also has a buffer for empty external boxes. Once filled, the boxes are weighed, sealed and provided with an inspection label. Finally, the boxes move through a buffer to the palletisation unit. This unit processes all the various box shapes, as well as three pallet types along with the accompanying divider sheets.

 

 

 

Everything under control

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The full automated donut production can continue regardless.

Manual bypasses have been included throughout the entire installation to deflect product flow in the event of a machine developing a fault. Micro stops are handled with the buffers, longer stops require the use of the bypasses. This allows automated donut production to continue regardless.
We check all steps in the packaging process: donuts numbers, quality, weight, the printed data, metal parts,… If an item does not conform to stringent standards, the donut or tray will be removed to one of the reject stations.

“intrion is a partner who grabs the bull by the horns and leads the project from start to finish. This enabled us to focus on our product, our processes and of course our all-important quality,” explains Brice Gantz, Vandemoortele Seneffe plant manager.

 

 

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intrion was responsable for the entire line inspection.

Smooth start thanks to operators’ training

A key aspect was the technical staff’s and operators’ training. Together with Vandemoortele’s project leader, we paid considerable attention to this. “The operators must become the installation’s ‘owner’ as quickly as possible, as this will result in full commitment,” explains the project leader. The operators were engaged in the project from the very start of the installation’s construction in our workshop. They created their own manual, including handy tips, pictures, etc. This resulted in a smooth and efficient start-up.

 


About Vandemoortele

Vandemoortele markets bakery products to bakeries and independent croissanteries across Belgium. Their frozen selection has grown considerable since launching their frozen department in 1978 in Belgium, offering puff pastry sheets, croissants and chocolate buns. The selection now includes breakfast rolls, baguettes, viennoiserie, puff pastry sheets, sweet and savoury snacks, patisseries and American products such as donuts and muffins.

 

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PreSize NV finishes complete relocation and upgrade in record time

Visitors enjoy the renewed production line demonstration

 

PreSize is our construction company that helps us with the production and engineering of machine components. They deliver turning, milling, laser and welding supplies with additional services like pre-assembly, converting machinery, integration of new size parts,… Thanks to PreSize, Larmuseau could reveal its renewed automated production line to an admiring public during its Open House Day.

 

Let’s return for a moment to 2 October, the Open House Day…

Larmuseau of Gent, which has been producing the authentic (and delicious!) ‘Gent snowballs’ since 1913, proudly presented its renewed automated production line to an admiring public. The company recently moved to its new location in the Eeklostraat in Mariakerke, as it had outgrown its previous site. From September through to March the company currently produces 40,000 snowballs a day. It is a fascinating and wonderful sight to see the sweets pass through the chocolate and the powder sugar.

 

 

We’ll return even further back, to the middle of July

Larmuseau is in its summer down period and still located at the Eilanderskaai in Langerbrugge. The ‘Gent snowballs’ are growing in popularity, but the production line is truly is beginning to creak. Time is pressurised: the snowball season will start again in September. Who can meet the challenge to not only move but also upgrade the production line inside six weeks, and during the holiday season? PreSize!

PreSize, an intrion subsidiary company, dismantles the old production line step by step, disassembling all the production machines with due consideration to their later reassembly. We revise the machines in our own workshop; mechanically, electrically and pneumatically. Our technicians design and produce the components and replacement parts in-house on our CNC lathes and milling machines. Various suppliers might be on holiday, but the machines need to be ready to run and at the same time meet all the hygiene and safety requirements.

 

A hot August, as September approaches fast

In August we put everything back together in Eeklostraat, including cabling and control. We work 24/7, to ensure a successful conclusion! We follow the first production runs on the spot and after a few production and cooling challenges, the September restart is a resounding success. Generally, with everything going well, such an operation can be completed in three months. Daily communication, mutual trust and the decision to leave (almost) everything in the hands of PreSize resulted in the job being delivered in six weeks. Not for nothing, our maxim is: Your ‘Piece’ of Mind!

Thanks to this successful project, PreSize are involved in safeguarding the correct running of the production line. We are also responsible for the periodical maintenance of the machines. Larmuseau and the PreSize team consult regularly with the aim of improving efficiency and increasing safety. Because there is no stopping it; snowballs will continue selling…

Enjoy!

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Sales nearly double over an 18-month period. Get potatoed!

“Our key asset is flexibility”

A brand-new automation system was brought into service last year by Warnez, the Tielt-based potato company. The vital artery of the entire system is a refrigerated warehouse buffer, which has given a huge boost to the company’s efficiency.

 

Filip Warnez (gérant)
Filip Warnez (director)

What have you actually automated?

Filip Warnez: “The entire process, from washing and sorting to packing and palletization. The packing lines we already had have been incorporated into the new installation”.

 

What was the key reason for switching to automation?

Filip: “We wanted to be able to operate much more efficiently, offer better working conditions to our staff and, first and foremost, provide our customers with a much more flexible service.

It is no longer a problem at all if these 20 pallets require 20 different types of potatoes.”

 

Brecht Verlae: “We can now achieve approximately 100 production runs a day. Our portfolio currently features 350 to 400 customer references. This could never have been managed without the automation process.”

 

We can now achieve approximately 100 production runs a day”

 

The shuttle takes the pallet boxes to the right destination.

Why did you opt for intrion?

Filip: “The Deprez automation company was in charge of the industrial systems for washing and sorting. One issue got us scratching our heads: it was planned that only one crane would be used to stack all the boxes. What if the crane were to break down? And then we stumbled across intrion. They came up with the idea of using different shuttles and lifts. If a shuttle breaks down, we still retain 75% of the capacity.”

 

The potatoes are automatically inspected and sorted.

 

What was the most challenging part of the project?

Filip: “The software-based control of all the box movements. We had high expectations, we had to be flexible, which means having a box in the right place at any time. That makes things very complicated”.

 

What benefits are you now seeing?

Filip: “We now find it a lot easier to cater to retailers’ requirements. The customer needs a specific kind of packaging, often involving just one pallet per type and delivered just-in-time. Everything has to be as fresh as possible.

A second benefit is the huge capacity boost. In spite of the automation, the staff have all kept their jobs, while the turnover has risen twofold. And that is attributable to the third benefit: seeing our modern system and the flexible delivery options,  customers gain more confidence in what we can offer straight away.”

 

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After the second, manual inspection, the potatoes go again to a pallet box.

The four shuttles are a reflection of the importance of reliability. How is continuity guaranteed even better by this system?

Filip: “We have three departments that are able to operate independently of each other thanks to the warehouse buffer. For example, the packing activities start only at 8 o’clock, as our orders do not arrive before then. However, the washing facility and second inspection can already get underway at 6 o’clock and everything can be stored. Some boxes are sent directly for packing, while others are first of all routed to the refrigerated warehouse, and subsequently collected by a shuttle for a second inspection. Boxes are constantly crossing each other, fully automatically, according to the orders at the time.”

 

Pallet boxes are moving automatically to and from the warehouse buffer.

What do you find particularly memorable about working together with intrion?

Filip: “As per usual with a new automation system, the launch gave us quite a few teething problems. intrion was always ready to help solve them quickly. Day and night, during the week or at the weekend.”

Brecht: “It is a very ingenious system and you have to take the time to help think through the logic of the automation process. There was always someone who could be reached. If I were to telephone at 6 in the morning about a fault, they would start working on the problem straight away. It was important for me to know that I had not been placed on a waiting list.”

 

What does the future have in store?

Filip: “We are looking forwards to further strong growth, particularly for smaller packaging formats. We now have a microwave sachet containing 400g of unpeeled potatoes, ready in 6 minutes. People are inclined to buy different types in small bags. Our installation is fully equipped for this, thus making it easier to win over new customers. There is bound to be a demand for mixed pallets in the medium term. But we will first of all sit around the table with intrion to discuss renewing the final component in our packing lines.”

 

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Filip Warnez (director), Brecht Verlae (production and IT manager) and Arthur Warnez (TD and maintenance manager)

 


About Warnez

Since its foundation in 1951 , Warnez has developed into a respected player in the fresh potatoes sector. The company opted to specialise in growing, sorting and packing potatoes for the retail sector and the hospitality business. Warnez continues to be a family-run company under the leadership of Jan and Filip Warnez.

The  product range consists entirely of ware potatoes. A large number of varieties is available  in various packing sizes, ranging from 400g to 25kg.

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Versatile packing machine with smart ‘what if?’ features

Three machines in one compact frame

This customised pasta pot packer combines three units in one: a carton-shaper, a pick&placer and a carton-sealer. All in a frame measuring barely 3 metres in length. The unit has a particularly sturdy frame, because the picker generates acceleration speeds of up to 10G! And it has to go quickly, too: the individual pasta pots arrive on average every 0.6 seconds, or 90 pots per minute.

For cartons, trays and cases

Your customers all have their individual requirements. Customer A wants sealed cartons, Customer B likes open cardboard trays, Customer C has a preference for plastic cases. Well, with this machine our customer is able to keep all of its own customers happy. In less than 5 minutes the machine can be set manually for the next production run. And if it has to be faster, it can also run fully automatically.

What happens if something goes wrong? Then there’s plan B, plan C, plan D and so on

This pasta pot packer is particularly attractive for its versatility and compact structure. But what makes it truly unique are the numerous built-in features that take over if something goes wrong. For instance, what happens if a pot is not correctly sealed? Or if the carton-shaper jams? Or if the picker fails? Well, intrion has built in a work-around solution for those pots that just keep on coming so lightning-fast. That way the pasta pot packer stays nice and clean and the customer doesn’t have to throw anything away.

Yet more automation

For this customer, the palletisation process is still manual. But because they are so compact, the future will see even more of these packing machines. And when that happens, the final step in the packaging process will take place automatically via a multi-palletiser.

And what happens if this multi-palletiser suddenly… Stop! We already have a solution in mind!

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Action Dropper, an ingenious concept

 

At the Colruyt distribution centre in Halle we interviewed Jean-Pol Lecocq, Head of Department, about intrion’s “Action Dropper” i-concept installation.


What does this overall concept consist of?

It is about de-palletising production trays, automatic input into a mini-load stockpile and sequenced output to the order picking work stations. Finally, automatic buffering (OCB) is incorporated to fit in perfectly with the transport planning of the shop in question.

 

Why the name “Action Dropper”?

This relates to the distribution of articles on the back of promotions linked to festive periods such as Christmas and New Year, Easter… or other occasions such as “back to school”, Halloween, etc.

There are about 85 of these events a year. These articles arrive early, giving us the chance to make preparations and properly distribute them among all our shops.

 

The “Goods to Man” principle is also employed here. What does this mean?

This principle means the warehouseman doesn’t have to drive back and forth all the time in the warehouse looking for the goods he needs, because the system takes the goods from stock and brings them to him.

 

Is it reliable?

Yes, the system indicates exactly how many products of each type are intended for which shop. There is an extra weight check as we know the weight of each product and can therefore check whether the required number of items in each tray is correct.

 

Could you describe the route a product follows?

A product follows three steps.  First, it is de-stacked and put into the stock area. When it is required it is removed (what we call “work in progress”) and distributed into the shop trays. These trays then return to intermediate storage.

The trays are then removed and replaced to add extra items until they are full, when they are sent to the palletising unit, so everything is ready on one pallet for one specific shop.

 

What makes this task so complex?

The key to the whole process is the database and operating the computer, plus the fact that several cranes operate simultaneously.

 

Which advantages have you noticed?

As this provides huge efficiency and saves us a lot of time, it has reduced our costs so we can continue to guarantee the lowest prices.

 

Why did you choose intrion as a partner?

intrion always considers how the efficiency of processes can be improved, and then fits the pieces of the puzzle together. The real added value of intrion can be found directly in the heart of the installation: layout, operation of the conveyor belts, electrical engineering, robotic operation, database and location management, and so on.  One thing is for sure: we will always turn to intrion for future installations.

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From biscuit dough to warehouse in half an hour: LU explains

Bart Nevens, Project Coordinator in the Business Development department, was asked to map out the internal logistics stream four years ago. In other words, everything that is transported internally, be it a pallet, a cart of dough or something else, had to be included in a study to come up with a way to optimise internal product flow. One of the greatest challenges in this project was devising one big robotic update to replace the 20 year old robots which would at once integrate the whole pallet flow. The main objective was to optimise productivity, increase safety, whilst also paying attention to ergonomics.

 

How it used to be

This concerns a zone in the 24 hectare LU factory where since the arrival of the first stacking robots in the 1980s the working method has hardly changed. Old robots, double handling of pallets before they ended up on the wrapping belt, too much manual intervention and therefore lower safety standards, a group of people driving fork-lift trucks in any direction, manual stacking, intermediate labelling, etc. The logistics flow was too labour intensive and too costly. In short, it was time for a change.

Bart Nevens was asked to provide innovation together with the Engineering team, the IT department and the production team. A modern installation with one operator to carry out checks and guide a reference exchange, was their big dream. They worked as meticulously as possible to find the best concept, which is why the preparatory phase took so long. They soon decided not to use AGVs and opted for simplicity: “grouping four pallets” on a shuttle. Several suppliers came up with a solution but in the end intrion turned out to be the most suitable partner offering the necessary experience and flexibility.

 

A dream came true

The big robot upgrade became a reality in June last year: six robots which palletise for two production lines each were installed. Four pallets from each production line are then pre-grouped and loaded onto a shuttle which transports them to two wrapping lines. After this the pallets are correctly labelled and stacked in fours ready for shipment. The same shuttle also delivers stacks of empty pallets to all of the robot cells.

By substituting the old interfaces with modern PLCs there is a better monitoring of possible interruptions, data is recorded for the whole process and converted to a dashboard. The latter provides a whole range of information so that a single operator has control of the complete system.

Mondelez International (Kraft’s new name – LU) also uses intrion’s i-care programme and support services for all preventive maintenance and first line response in the unlikely event of a breakdown.

 

Results made themselves felt

Bart Nevens states that productivity and quality have increased considerably, a lot of time is now saved, maintenance costs have dropped drastically, staff costs and planning have simplified and safety and ergonomics considerably improved. In summary: a successful concept.

 

intrion helped develop this concept

During a reference visit organised by intrion, Bart Nevens was able to see the quality intrion guarantees, along with the experience and knowledge of intrion staff. The budget outline was very competitive at the start of the project and the fact that intrion had already completed smaller projects at Kraft Foods Belgium in Halle and Namur was also decisive.

 

Dos & don’ts

The main thing the project team learned is that a long preparatory phase can be very helpful in these types of projects. Communication about the project is also vital so that employees feel closely involved and, through their own experiences, can contribute to the success of a project.

With regard to the partner, it was clear in this project that proper communication with the necessary flexibility of the parties in question and paying attention to training are elements that should not be ignored. LU is pleased, and enjoys the many advantages resulting from this project every day.

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intrion packages the new Refresco pouches

The installation is of course custom-made. The design had to be modified constantly because each change in the pouch’s design had repercussions on packaging and handling.

The basis of the complete system is the filling machine that makes the pouches, fills them and provides them with a non-spill top.The clever part of this installation is the connection between the filling machine and the intrion equipment: the conveyor tracks and the Somic wrap-around case-packers. In the first Somic machine, the pouches are packed in consumer cases. These consumer cases are then packed into transport cases by the second Somic. The transport cases are then stacked and sent to the automatic warehouse. The line produces around 6,000 pouches per hour, which comes to nine million units this year.

Further development of the process is currently under way. Optimisation of the conveyor system will provide more buffer and even higher efficiency. The market response is extremely positive, so Refresco is already focusing on plans for additional product lines. “This will make the production of 56 million articles feasible in 2015”, says technical manager Hugo Van Put.

The overall solution offered with intrion’s i-concept Food, the innovative ideas, and definitely also the continuous development and partner support has reinforced Refresco’s choice of intrion for this project.

 

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The story of Milka’s little pruple spoon


Mondelēz gets a triple benefit from their automation

Being a demanding user of industrial automation equipment, Mondelēz International (formerly known as Kraft Foods) called on intrion to integrate a specific robot into one of their chocolate production lines at their Strasbourg site.

Mondelēz Strasbourg Production wanted to automate a repetitive operation that involved manually placing a spoon into their famous purple egg carton. The key requirement was to integrate the robot into the existing production line without major changes. For example, placing the spoon in a different spot was not an option. Also, the solution had to be easy-to-use for the operators.

 

Gripping a complex object

Another challenge was the robot’s ability to grip a delicately-shaped small spoon which intrion had to prove by making prototype grippers and conducting production tests before the machine was built. The final solution comprises a cell with two ABB Flexpickers which are fed with pre-oriented spoons by a pair of bowl feeders. The Flexpickers pick up the spoons one at a time and insert them into the slot in the egg carton.

Het verhaal van het Milka-lepeltjeMondelēz’s assessment of the project is very positive. “The implementation and production of the equipment went very smoothly. The relation between the intrion onsite staff and our team at the plant has been excellent. Our constraints have been very well understood and taken into account. Preparation and testing of the equipment before delivery have enabled all of us to work calmly and effectively when the equipment was being installed on site,” explains Thierry Dommanget, Project & Technical Services Manager.

 

A triple benefit

As a leading international company which is active in a sector as dynamic as the food sector, Mondelēz Strasbourg Production insists that all the projects it implements should be in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This means that the project had to provide the following three benefits:

1. Social: the machine improves the working conditions of the operators by automating a repetitive task.

2. Economic: automation leads to a general increase in produc- tivity, i.e. there’s an economic payback.

3. Environmental: the completed solution reduces the volume of waste.

 

Renewed trust

Thierry Dommanget knows intrion well. The plant in Strasbourg has already used us in the past to automate a production line for moulded chocolate products. That was a similar challenge as it also involved installing a robot capable of handling delicate products precisely into an existing production line.

“To us, intrion has the advantage of perfectly under- standing both the robotic tool and the process of inte- grating it into existing equipment. Moreover, they’re very competitive as far as budget and deadlines are concerned. We are very pleased to have once more put our trust into intrion.”

Thierry Dommanget, Project & Technical Services Manager

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No small beer for intrion

Belgium is often called the beer paradise here on earth. The vari- ous Belgian beer producers brew enormous amounts of beer every year. Colruyt also felt consumption increase and cleverly anticipated this with a wide assortment.

Did you know that we each drink about 80 litres or 320 bottles of beer annually? If we calculate this, this comes to approximately 876,000 bottles a day for all inhabitants of Belgium. Now try sort- ing this amount (or at least part of it)! This is why intrion came up with a genuine automation solution for the Colruyt recycling centre in Ghislenghien.

 

Let the bottles roll

Thanks to intrion, Colruyt’s recycling centre Waldico in Ghislenghien can now sort 35,000 bottles of local beer an hour. A new, sixth bottle reference was added to the existing sys- tem – also the work of intrion – for the expansion of the automatic triage process. Transport to the three existing, robotised crate filler remains and will be integrated in the new layout.

The main reference must be provided with a new filling machine and a new palletiser to be able to meet the increased capacity of 35,000 bottles.

The process in six steps

  1. The bottle triage system in six steps: introduction of mixed trays coming from collection points (shops)
  2. positioning zone and Inliner for singling out the bottles
  3. size-based selection zone
  4. transport
  5. filling the trays
  6. palletising

The process begins with putting the trays with bottles on the con- veyor belt. These trays contain bottles of several types of beer of both 25 and 33 cl. The trays are transported from the introduction zone to the positioning zone. In the positioning zone, one tray at a time is taken off the conveyor belt and presented to the operator via a lift. He/she places the bottles on the conveyor belt manually, the ‘Inliner’, which will single out the bottles.

 

What will be renewed?

Geen klein bier voor intrionEleven new lift units will be installed here. The beer bottles are transported to the selection zone via the Inliner. In this selection zone, consisting of two cameras and in total six ejectors, the bot- tles are checked and led to the right channel. There are seven exits: six exits for the programmed bottle types, one that leads to the manual belt. Fallen bottles are removed from the system to the bottle bank. The conveyor belt takes the various types of to the right tray filler.

One conveyor belt with bottles is called the high runner. This is the channel for the most important reference, APO33, say the Leffe bottle. For this, intrion will be installing a new filling unit. The three existing intrion robots fill the crates with the five other types of bottles. A new trajectory for empty crates will also be provided for the high runner, as well as a new filling machine and conveyor belt for full crates. This new filling machine controls the high runner, which will also be given a new palletiser. Transport of the crates of the new filling machine to the palletises will also be provided.

The low rotators and the sometimes unrecognised bottles are led to a manual loop, which consists of 15% of the total, i.e. 85% is sorted fully automatically.

This way, the brewer can be sure that he gets completely filled crates from Colruyt, but also that no other types of bottles end up in his filling line.

 

A success story that originated from intrion’s i-concept approach

“The trigger for Colruyt to work with intrion again to realise this automation, as that it is more capable than a standard machine builder to fill in the missing pieces in this type of overall solution. This does not just refer to what you can see moving, but also what you can’t see: concept work, communication between the various plcs, the SCADA and the robots, processing and display of OEE (overall equipment efficiency) figures and finally round-the-clock support we can fall back on if anything does go wrong. This was all realised within the agreed deadlines! One partner who sits at the table with us”

Rik Van den Borre, division manager return centre

 

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