Uncorking the cap factory
When established truths no longer are relevant, we sometimes talk about a paradigm shift. Quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity and the realization that celestial bodies move in ellipses degraded earlier scientific findings to – at the most – quaint attempts. A mind shift was what was needed also at Emballator Växjöplast, since ironically, the cap factory was on the verge of getting clogged up.
Emballator Växjöplast specialize in food seals, like the capsules and lids we handle on everyday packaging at home. There were no complaints about product quality, but on the factory floor things weren’t running as smoothly as before. Logistics before and after the production lines risked putting a lid on the workers’ normally good mood.
Bursting with boxes and pallets
Every inch of the factory floor was occupied by injection molding machines and at the end of each line of the 50 lines there were packaging stations. Employees had to navigate through a chaos of boxes and pallets. Something radically different needed to be done if production was to increase.
”It knew! he exclaimed. The robot knew what was supposed to be printed on the label!”
3 Button Group was entrusted to stage the necessary but brave paradigm shift. It resulted in a completely automated production system where self-driving trucks (AGV:s) pick up bins with products at the 50 packaging stations and take them to a brand new robot cell used for packaging and palletizing. It is equipment for automated handling of boxes, insertion in bags, labeling, weighing and more.
Nothing outside of the box
In the middle of the new facility an ABB robot conducts the packaging orchestra, fetching empty boxes, putting full ones onto pallets and picking out products that go into bags without a box. The control system counts every injection made in the production lines, directs the trucks to go and collect the products and dump them in the packaging facility. The system makes sure that all products end up in the right box with the correct label. As we see it, every single unit is business critical.
One Emballator employee gave voice to the fact that it’s pretty cool to watch how the whole factory works:
– It knew! The robot knew what was supposed to be printed on the label!
A 3 million euro investment is impressive. It’s a lot of money compared to a yearly revenue of about 13 million euros. Hats off for Herenco – the company that owns Emballator – for their visions and bravery, and a round of applause for the management team at Emballator Växjöplast who dared to make this great shift.
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