Webster Griffin Ships Out Latest Palletizing System To LKAB Minerals

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LKAB Decide To Upgrade Their Manufacturing Process With Webster Griffin's Duplex Palletising System.

LKAB is a Swedish high-tech mining and mineral group that mines and processes local iron ore for sale to its subsantial European market and beyond.

When faced with growing demands for their high grade Calcium Carbonate “Ultracarb” product, LKAB contracted Webster Griffin to install a high speed robot palletising system which would give them precision palletising and double their productivity.

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LKAB Minerals commissioned Webster Griffin for the Installation of a AI700 Okura palletising Robot with reversing conveyors. The palletiser will be receiving 25 kg sacks from two existing bagging machines and automatically stacking them onto the two pallets which are then conveyed into the packing position and then away for distribution and the end consumer. The operator can create new stacking programs, edit existing stacking programs and modify the stacking patterns directly from the touch screen of the full colour 9” HMI control Panel.

LKAB Minerals now have access to a fully automatic duplex palletising system allowing for increased throughput and reduced labour requirements for the production line. The Hi-Tech state of the art system ensures neat and square pallets that are suitable for transportation globally.

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What’s The Most Compact Robot Palletizing Cell Available?

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Compact Palletising Cells To Safegaurd Your Robotics

The process of palletising and the robots associated with the process have never been safer. Palletising equipment has evolved to become almost foolproof and these models rarely fail on the job. However, introducing people to the equation changes matters. People sometimes make mistakes and it’s the responsibility of the business to do what it can to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.

According to research, pallet-related incidents send over 30,000 people to the emergency rooms in a five year period — in the USA alone. Not only does it cause injury and distress, but it also results in lost work hours, reduced productivity and occasionally even fines for your business. To ensure your setup is as safe as possible without sacrificing productivity, you’ll need a compact palletising cell and the right machine guarding.

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Why Is Machine Guarding Important?

Machine guards can be installed around your palletising cells to keep unauthorised and unnecessary personnel out. They’re built to protect the machine operator and other staff members from injury and can cover everything from the palletising cell’s point of operation to its point of power transmission — or its moving parts in general.

The right machine guard will keep the machine secure from all angles. It’s exact size and dimensions will depend on how compact your palletising cells are — as well as if you’re using a single or multi-line setup. Warehouse and factory space can be scarce, which is why you’ll need a palletising cell that’s as compact as possible.

 

Placing your robot palletisers in a single cell can help keep your setup compact. Most small to medium sized plants won’t require a custom multi line palletising cell, so they’ll benefit from an affordable, smaller and more reliable modular single cell that can be delivered quickly. Several cell configurations exist, but as they’re modular they can be moved and reassembled as needed.

 

Here are four common configurations that range in size from roughly 11 x 17 feet to 15 x 22 feet:

  1. One line in and one line out
  2. Two lines in and two lines out
  3. One line in and one line out with automatic pallet handling
  4. Two lines in and two lines out with automatic pallet handling
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The more compact your palletising cells are, the easier and more efficient it will be to protect. A single palletiser at the end of one production line will make machine guarding more simple and affordable, as it will only need to limit access to a one production area — the end of the packing line where the bagger will be stationed.

When you have several production lines this might become more complex. For example a case diverter might separate products towards two different conveyors. with each going to different palletising robot stations for different package sizes. This system can also be configured to manage slip sheet handling, pallet handling, stretch wrapping or labelling.

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Picking An Integrated Solution

The process of selecting the most compact palletising cell for your space and needs — and ensuring it’s properly guarded — can be simplified if you work with a supplier that can design you a system integrating both. Webster Griffin are experts at offering such solutions, and can assist you whether you require a single palletising cell or a multi-line one. Contact our team today for more advice.

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Revolutionise Your Business With A High Speed Automatic Sugar Packaging Solution

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Revolutionise Your Business With A High Speed Automatic Sugar Packaging Solution

Millions of businesses across the globe rely on sugar for a range of applications. Affordable, accessible and widely consumed, it's a popular product and demand for it shows no signs of slowing down.

Last year in 2021, the global sugar market reached a volume of 193.2 million tons despite Covid-19 causing economic fluctuations. It’s expected to exceed 202 million tons in volume by 2026.

If you're a manufacturer involved in producing or selling some form of sugar, you'll want to capitalise on its growing demand. This means preparing your business for the future and taking advantage of many recent advances in bagging technology and automation from Webster Griffin.

One way you can do this is by investing in high-speed automatic packaging machines to dramatically improve productivity and revolutionise your business. Keep reading to find out how Webster Griffin's knowledge in the sector and our bespoke Turn Key sugar packing systems can offer your business a comprehensive solution.

What Does Today’s Sugar Market Look Like?

Sugar is a soft commodity that’s traded worldwide. Over 80% of all sugar produced comes from sugar cane which grows in over 110 tropical and subtropical countries perennially. Every year, countries trade roughly 64 million raw tons of sugar.

Brazil, Thailand, the EU and India currently dominate the market with their 2020 annual production volumes sitting at 43.3 tons (Brazil), 7.7 tons (Thailand), 15.5 tons (the EU) and 30.08 tons (India) respectively.

Historically, developed nations’ sugar consumption has been low and developed countries' consumption high. Asian and African demand is set to increase due to economic expansion, population growth and rising demand for confectionery and soft drinks.

Demand is set to decline in developed and high income countries like Canada, the EU, and the UK due to sugar taxes, government policies and changing consumption habits. This could also prompt manufacturers to reformulate products with less sugar, decrease portion sizes and use alternative sweeteners.

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Sugar prices have decreased in recent years but are expected to recover for Indian, Thai and Brazilian exporters. Demand is also expected to remain concentrated in developing countries. White sugar prices have hit record highs due to a tight supply and harvest delays.

Sugar is mostly used by the food and drinks industry. It's also used to make animal feed, ethanol and chemical, textile, plastic and pharmaceutical bio-based products. Roughly 100 tons of sugar cane produces about 16 tons of sugar. Sugar mills crush the cane to extract its juices and fibres and then sift, heat and add lime to the juice to neutralise and clarify it. They process, clarify and boil the juice into a concentrate and then dry it in pans to produce crystals.

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The sugar and molasses are separated with the molasses sold for use in mass food and drink production. The rest is refined to remove its impurities and sold to big businesses (such soft drink producers) and for home use. Molasses is added to white sugar to produce brown sugar. White sugar is refined to produce different product grades based on purity, colour, ash and moisture percentage and crystal size.

What Are Today’s Sugar Product Packaging Options Like?

In the past, sugar manufacturers packaged their products manually. This was time-consuming, came with high labour and package wastage costs and produced inconsistently packaged products. These days, bagging machines are used to pour accurate amounts of products into open mouth bags.

These are specialised packaging machines are often equipped with helpful additions such as automatic bag top sewing machines, checkweighers for bag weight accuracy, conveyors to move products through the packaging line, labellers to apply product information to bags and metal detectors to detect metallic and non-metallic contaminants in packaged products.

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Most bagging machines are supplemented by palletising machines if the businesses ship their products nationwide or internationally on pallets. These machines sort, store and stack products for shipping. They prepare the pallets/packages for distribution.

The resulting pallets are stable and precise. They are helpful with high volume transportation and it does so quicker than manual packing allows. They can also better handle all shapes and weights of packages and by eliminating manual labour, lower costs and reduce the risk of on-site injuries.

Sugar Is Bagged In A Range Of Sizes...

Products are bagged in a range of sizes, with smaller sizes aimed at consumers ranging from 500 g to 2 kgs and Big Bags ranging from 25 kgs to over a 1000 kgs. Here are the most common sugar packaging sizes:

1-2 kg Retail paper/ plastic bags
1-2 kg Retail paper/ plastic bags
5 - 10 kgs Catering packs
5 - 10 kgs Catering packs
25 - 50 kg Industrial packaging
25 - 50 kg Industrial packaging

Retail Sugar Packaging 1-2 kg:

For home consumption. It usually takes the form of 1-2 kg open mouth paper bags or plastic bags and are usually packaged with a P4 bag packer or Form Fill Seal (FFS) velocity 1000 machine.

Catering Packs of 5-10 kg:

For specialty baking and hospitality industry and are used by caterers, hotels, canteens and restaurants. They’re packaged in pre-made bags or plastic bags packed with a FFS machine weighing 5-10 kg. Because the sugar is packaged for longer term use they can be waterproofed. They're also designed for line filling and have a self standing block bottom that is sealed after filling.

Industrial or Manufacturer Packaging 25-50 kg:

For mass producing food or drink product companies. Packaging sizes range from 25 kgs to 50 kgs to a ton flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC), jumbo or Big Bags that are moisture proof, shockproof and recyclable. Most use Big Bag filling machines such as the IBC PF4 & IBC PW or semi-automatic bagging machines like the MBS 600, or the fully automatic ABS 1000 & 1500.

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Demand is rising for flexible intermediate bulk containers made from fabrics like polypropylene. Woven polypropylene (WPP) bags are popular for packaging flowable, dry goods like sugar. They're waterproof, easy to clean, antibacterial and can handle larger weight without damage. This is important as packaged sugar undergoes frequent handling as it travels to the end user. They also make for neat and safe stacking on pallets and optimise storage space. Filled WPP bags are shipped in international intermodal containers that meet specific International Organization for Standardization specification and are built to withstand turbulent travel.

Trends indicate that demand for the smallest (at one end) and the largest (at the semi bulk end) is increasing. Globalisation is resulting in larger product volumes being shipped worldwide. Transporting larger bags is also more cost effective and minimises its transportation's impact on the environment. The bags and pallets can also be recycled and have several secondary uses.

In sugar producing areas like South America, Africa and Indonesia, empty 50kg bags WPP bags are frequently used and reused in the marketplace. Here, retailers buy sugar in these bags and resell them in smaller volumes to individuals. have extensive secondary value which adds to their eco-friendliness and appeal. They're used to package agricultural fruit and vegetable products and grains like maize and flour and animal feeds. The bags are used for filtration during irrigation and construction. They’re also used for screens, fences, tents and sunshades in buildings or repurposed into shopping bags for personal use.

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Where To Next For Sugar Packaging?

Demand for sugar packed into Big Bags of 1250kgs and 25kg sacks from downstream processors and large food and soft drinks manufacturers is growing. This will be accompanied by an increasing demand for weatherproof packaging options as climate change becomes more unpredictable. There will be an increasing need for automated packaging system including the ABS 1000 and ABS 1500 for filling 5 kg bags, 25 kg and 50 kg bags. There will also be a exigency for an IBC PF4 machine for filling bulk bags at a speed of 35-60 bars an hour. These machines will help reduce labour costs and make factory operations safer.

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Fully automatic bagging lines are likely to remain the preferred option for packaging intermediate 25-50 kg pre-made bags with sugar. While FFS bagging machines aren’t the number one choice for packaging sugar in Europe, switching from paper to PE (polyethylene) bags for retail packaging will cut down on packaging costs and function as an environmentally friendly packaging solution. Big Bags could benefit from switching to a high speed solution that improves their productivity by packaging anywhere from 20-30 ton bags per hour to 45-90 1250 kg bags per hour.

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Webster Griffin has been at the forefront of sugar packaging machinery for decades, having first provided British client Tate & Lyle with a hi-speed valve sack packing machine for granulated sugar in 1987. Since then we’ve used the latest in packaging and automation technology to offer our clients Turn Key, bespoke packaging solutions for their sugar products.

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One client we assisted was premium speciality cane sugar producer Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC). They required a solution to package retail products for international export. We created a solution that combined a Big Bag filling line with a FFS packer and dust collection and filtration system. It also included a bag emptying station and conveyor to transport products down the packaging line.

Each bag was weighed and logged for quality control and traceability and a metal container preventing any contamination. Finally, the bags were stacked on pallets before being protected using stretch wrapping. The solution helped BAMC lower their packaging costs by integrating all their operations at one location.

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We also installed three Big Bag filling lines, two high speed open mouth bagging lines, and a FFS bagging machine for one of the world’s top five sugar refineries. Saudi Arabia’s United Sugar Company needed to package coarse and fine sugar into separate bags and fill four-loop PE coated Big Bags at higher speeds.

As the system operated in a warm climate the system integrated a dosing mechanism to prevent spillage and ensure weighing accuracy. Two high speed automatic open-mouth bagging machines were installed to fill 20 to 25kg bags.

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We also installed three Big Bag filling lines, two high speed open mouth bagging lines, and a FFS bagging machine for one of the world’s top five sugar refineries. Saudi Arabia’s United Sugar Company needed to package coarse and fine sugar into separate bags and fill four-loop PE coated Big Bags at higher speeds.

As the system operated in a warm climate the system integrated a dosing mechanism to prevent spillage and ensure weighing accuracy. Two high speed automatic open-mouth bagging machines were installed to fill 20 to 25kg bags.

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Webster Griffin Helps Krysteline Technologies Increase Their Packaging Capacity

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Why Did Krysteline Technologies Contact Webster Griffin?

Krysteline Technologies is a UK based waste processor that collects and processes all shapes and sizes of glass. They use patented technology to repurpose 100% of the glass collected — no matter its quality. Some if it is repurposed into recycled granular glass cullets, which are used in place of concrete in road beds and pavements and in fibreglass and foam insulation. Krysteline Technologies wanted to modernise their product packing line by reducing manual labour and automating the process. Here’s how Webster Griffin helped them.

The Refining Process

The quality of processed material is determined by the feedstock quality, moisture content and installed technology. The Krysteline strategy is to diligently consider the feedstock and provide the technology which ensures the client’s expectations are met. Product quality can range from aggregates to fully purified sands and powders for filtration and abrasives.

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Why Was A Form Fill Seal Machine Most Appropriate For Krysteline Technologies?

Webster Griffin recommended the client install an automatic Form Fill Seal (FFS) bagger and robot palletiser. The FFS bagger would accommodate bag sizes ranging from 5 to 25kg and a maximum empty bag width of 500mm. It would have rubber lined forming tubes to ensure the machine is well suited for handling dusty products.

An existing feeding system would move product into the bagger through a mild steel surge hopper with level controls. This would ensure the bagger received enough product to maintain the required packaging rate.

A film centering device would properly centre and form each bag before a two stage dosing system filled it. A net weigher including an electronic load cell weighing system would ensure each bag was filled to the correct weight. It’s weigh-pan would have a quick-release side door to make cleaning easier and more efficient.

What Challenges Did Krysteline Technologies Pose To Webster Griffin Pre-Installation?

Krysteline Technologies wanted an automated, high throughput packing line that would work around the clock to meet their production targets.

It would need to package 16 tons of product hourly into 25kg PE bags — accommodating other bag sizes in case of last minute demands for different bag shapes and designs. The packed bags would also need to be palletised and ready for transportation.

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An electric height adjuster at the bag support saddle would adjust the bags according to size. Each filled bag would be micro-perforated to remove excess air and create a square and tidy package. After each bag was heat sealed, a belt conveyor would move it and a bag turner and height adjustable flattener to rotate the bag and compact it ready for delivery.

The heavy duty palletiser was equipped to fill an empty pallet standard magazine of 14-15 empty pallets. The robot was equipped with teachable software and 100 different existing palletising programmes.

It was also equipped with a programmable thermal printer to add barcodes and text on the side of the filled bags. The system could be commanded via a PLC touchscreen. A mechanical fence and interlocked access door installed around the bagging zone would keep out unauthorised personnel ensuring safe operation.

How Did Krysteline Technologies Benefit From The Installation?

Webster Griffin installed the system at the client’s facilities roughly 13-14 weeks after they ordered it. They also dispatched engineers to the site to monitor the installation and test it. It immediately provided a throughput of 640 bags an hour — which is higher than anticipated.

Being automated, the system allowed employees to focus their attention on other production tasks. Its dosing accuracy reduced product waste and inaccurate weighing. As it could accommodate different bags, the client could also respond to customer demands immediately, giving Krysteline Technologies an edge over their competitors. 

The palletiser also provided many benefits. By adding a label and barcode to each bag it helped them improve their product traceability. As the palletiser also produced neatly stacked and fully loaded pallets it also made international exportation easier and more efficient.

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What Is The Typical Lifespan Of A Robot Palletizer?

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How Long Will Your Investment Serve You?

The process of palletising and the robots associated with the process have never been safer. Palletising equipment has evolved to become almost foolproof and these models rarely fail on the job. However, introducing people to the equation changes matters. People sometimes make mistakes and it’s the responsibility of the business to do what it can to reduce the risk of accidents occurring. 

According to research, pallet-related incidents send over 30,000 people to the emergency rooms in a five year period — in the USA alone. Not only does it cause injury and distress, but it also results in lost work hours, reduced productivity and occasionally even fines for your business. 

To ensure your setup is as safe as possible without sacrificing productivity, you’ll need a compact palletising cell and the right machine guarding.

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Why Is Machine Guarding Important?

Machine guards can be installed around your palletising cells to keep unauthorised and unnecessary personnel out.

They’re built to protect the machine operator and other staff members from injury and can cover everything from the palletising cell’s point of operation to its point of power transmission — or its moving parts in general.

The right machine guard will keep the machine secure from all angles. It’s exact size and dimensions will depend on how compact your palletising cells are — as well as if you’re using a single or multi-line setup.

Warehouse and factory space can be scarce, which is why you’ll need a palletising cell that’s as compact as possible.

 

 

Here’s how you can further extend its lifespan...

1.  Stick To Your Palletiser’s Limits

When selecting a robot palletiser, you should pick one that doesn’t under-serve your needs. This means you should have a good idea of the weight range of each packaged product and how many packages must be filled hourly. You’ll also need to consider inertia.

This means that certain weights might be within your machine’s capacity but place a larger movement load on it by being extra long, wide or deep.

When this happens it can cause the motor to oscillate, impacting the accuracy of its motion. You can prevent this by selecting a palletiser that accounts for inertia as it operates.

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2.  Limit Unnecessary Movements

Your robot palletiser will move quicker and experience less wear and tear if you optimise its movements. Positioning your robot as close as possible to its pick up and drop off points will reduce its motion.

Even just a few extra inches back and forth can amount to thousands of feet over time.Eliminating this unnecessary motion will reduce the strain placed on the robot palletiser’s drives, gears and motors.

Keeping your pallet sizes in line with your robot’s range of motion is also important as pallets that are too tall will also result in additional movements from your palletiser.

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What Will It Cost To Replace My Robot Palletiser?

As mentioned, how you treat your robot palletiser will impact its lifespan. The easiest and most effective way to extend it is by entrusting the team that sold you the palletiser with its routine maintenance.

They’ll be able to source any original parts required and use the required tools and expertise to keep it running as it should. Webster Griffin are adept in providing businesses with robot palletisers and can assist you with sourcing and maintaining one for years to come so contact our team today.

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How Webster Griffin Helped Derbyshire Aggregates With A High Speed FFS Bagging Solution

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Who Are Derbyshire Aggregates & What Product Do They Pack?

Derbyshire Aggregates has sourced and processed unusual and difficult materials for over 30 years. Over time, they've become an industry leader in exporting specialist aggregates. One of their offerings is decorative aggregates which are used to provide an attractive but hardy finish to high traffic areas like driveways, pathways, and ground surfaces. This product is sold in large volumes to residential and commercial clients worldwide.

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Why Did Derbyshire Aggregates Request A Form Fill Seal System?

To meet increasing demand, Derbyshire Aggregates needed to double their aggregate product packing rate with an integrated system. They needed the new packing system to be able to handle different bag sizes and weights. As they predicted that demand would keep growing over time, the system would also need to be adaptable and scalable.

To keep the environment safe for workers, the system would need to provide dust free filling. It also needed to be automatic in order to respond quickly to shifts in demand, keep the packing process economical and reduce unnecessary shifts.

Finally, the system needed to be compact to fit into their building’s limited available space without making structural modifications necessary.

What FFS System Did Webster Griffin Install For Derbyshire Aggregates?

Webster Griffin installed two FFS bagging systems capable of filling 20 and 25 kg pillow or gusseted bags, but with the ability to fill other bag sizes and weights if needed. It’s throughput was between 950 and 1100 bags an hour with a +/- 1%. accuracy when bagging dry free flowing aggregates.

The system’s surge hopper received product via inclined belt conveyor or buffer hopper. A film-unwinding device and forming tube formed each bag.

An automatic volumetric product doser dispensed product into bags and a perforator expelled excess air from each bag after filling. Each bag was then sealed by the Ropex sealing system’s parallel vertical sealing bar.

The entire system was constructed from heavy-duty mild steel for added strength and hardiness. The system was controllable via a touch screen control panel with 44 preset packing inputs.

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Did The System Help Derbyshire Aggregates Hit Their Targets & Were There Other Benefits?

Webster Griffin installed the system and trained relevant employees on how to operate it. Once up and running, it filled bags twice as fast as a conventional automatic bagger with an empty bag placer. 

By forming its own bags the system used less film. It also formed a shorter, more attractive bag with side gussets and squarer ends as well as a smaller gap between the product and seal after filling. The system could construct dozens of bags from a single film reel without supervision or assistance, and didn't need anyone to load empty bags into the bag applicator. The doser’s continuous flow operation moved product through the forming tube into the bag without any dust emissions.

As Derbyshire Aggregates had limited space, the system was self-contained and modular. This meant it took up less space than a conventional automatic bagger with bag placing and closing mechanism and conveyors. The system was also constructed with fewer moving parts to increase its reliability and make constant repairs and replacements unnecessary.

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Why Invest In A Robot Palletiser? Here’s 5 Key Benefits Of A Robot Palletiser.

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Should You Make The Switch?

If you want to switch from a conventional palletiser to a robotic one, you’ll need to provide your team with reasons why. You’ll also need to offer more evidence than saying that it’s safer or that it saves time. Keep reading to explore the benefits that robot palletisers offer in detail. By better understanding exactly what it offers, you’ll be able to make an informed decision whether or not to invest in one.

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Robot Palletisiers Cost Less To Run

Robot palletisers usually cost more than conventional models. However, they compensate for this by reducing or eliminating ongoing costs in other areas.

They reduce the number workers needed to help lift, move or boxes or products during palletising, which reduces your spend on wages, insurance and the safety equipment needed to work with conventional equipment. This benefits workers too, moving them away from performing dull and repetitive tasks so they can focus on more stimulating work.

Depending on what brand and make of machine you choose, you can also look forward to reduced power consumption during operation. For example, the Okura Ai1800 Ultra and Ai700 Rapid (both popular models on the market) both use 50% less power during consumption.

Increased Throughput, With Up To 1200 Cycles

Working with robot palletisers means you can expect a machine that runs multiple cycles every minute, every hour of the day. This makes them faster than standard machines and as they're more reliable, you can predict exactly how long it takes to fill a pallet. You also won’t have to account for mandated safety breaks put in place to prevent worker injuries such as repetitive strain injury. With some machines offering up to 1200 cycles hourly, you can look forward to high speed palletising for multiple other palletising lines.

Fewer Damaged Goods

When working with people, mistakes happen whether you like it or not. Robots eliminate this by using advanced end-of-arm tools that adapt their grip with clamps or vacuums, using the exact pressure required.

Robots don't get tired and distracted and aren't pressurised by deadlines. As you can program their speeds each product will be handled with precision and care. Fewer damaged or dropped products or improperly stacked or orientated pallets will reduce your losses.

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Easy To Program

Robot palletisers come with more complex programming inputs than conventional palletisers — often with touch screens and colour panels. This makes their programming more intuitive and easy. You can adhere to a set of predefined palletising patterns or design your own, changing the number of layers in each pallet, each layer’s configuration and the speed of palletisation.

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Compatible With Many Products & Shapes

Conventional palletisers usually encounter delays when they work with different product shapes and sizes. Switching between boxes, cartoons and crates will create delays. Again, the robot’s end-of-use arm is versatile enough to hold different materials, moving them from conveyor to pallet quickly and safely.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even with a robot palletiser, you’ll need to adhere to certain rules and laws regarding how the palletiser is wired or connected. You could also need added equipment to deliver, or shrink wrap the pallets.

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Working with a robot palletising specialist will be key to selecting the right machine for your needs. They’ll ensure it's compliant with your space and is customised to your requirements. Webster Griffin can assist your business with this, so contact them today.

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Why Are Robots Superseding Conventional Palletising Machines?

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Is Flexability Important To You?

Does your warehouse, factory or order fulfillment/distribution centre use conventional palletisers for your product packaging? If so, you might be considering switching to a robot palletiser. It’s flexible and offers significant space and maintenance savings — which could help streamline your operations and make it more profitable. Its suitability for your business will depend on many factors, including your desired production rates and how many products you handle. To make an informed choice, here’s the difference between the two and why robot palletisers are now superseding conventional palletisers.

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Conventional Vs Robot Palletisers: How Do They Work?

In short, conventional palletisers build layers, while robots are designed to pick up individual products one by one. Conventional palletisers transport the products using conveyors, It rotates, aligns, pushes and lifts them into rows until a product layer is formed.

The product layer is discharged onto a pallet and compressed if necessary. The process repeats until the pallet is full and is ready for shipping. Often, conventional palletisers include extras like a stretch wrapper or a stretch hooder.

Robot palletisers are also fed products via a conveyor, but they use a robotic bag hand or component to pick up and move products into one or more pallets simultaneously.

Robot Palletiser Speed & Space Savings

Conventional palletisers are faster, offering speeds of anywhere between 10 to 40 bags and 10 to 200 cases, cartons or bags a minute, depending on the complexity of its design, the model in question and the product being packed. It’s worth noting that it operates faster when building a single pallet at a time and can take up a lot of space in terms of height and width, as the products must be queued on a conveyor. 

Robot palletisers are usually slower, but also offer a range of speeds depending on their model and its capabilities. However, they require less space. As it picks up and places products it won’t require lengthy conveyors and can be installed in tight spaces without contravening safety standards.

What Makes Robot Palletisers Flexible?

Robot palletisers offer increased flexibility as their end-of-arm-tools can be customised with vacuum plates to magnetic grippers so they are capable of handling all types of products.

They can also palletise more than one product at a time (if it’s a case of products) and can handle multiple stock-keeping units according to any pallet configuration — ensuring each pallet is compressed and squared for increased stability.

Most robotic palletisers can also de-palletise products from many different containers. Although some conventional palletisers can do the above, most will require costly upgrades to do so.

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Robot Palletiser Cost Savings

Robot palletisers often have a higher price tag but offer cost savings in other ways. As they become more popular on the market, they’re likely to become affordable while their performance improves. You can expect a robot palletiser to require maintenance less often compared to a conventional unit, as it has fewer electrical components. As it requires less downtime, has fewer breakdowns, and can fill multiple pallets at once — it can save you time. Conventional machines are usually more complex and will require specialised repair and maintenance — usually from the business that sold it to you.

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Ready To Invest In One?

Ready to purchase a robot palletiser to replace or supplement your current setup? If the above advantages appeal to you, then contact Webster Griffin.

As specialists in palletising technology for bags, sacks, cartons and cases, we can match you with an automated system that meets your needs in terms of payload and throughput, so contact us today.

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World Class Fish Feed – Packed By Webster Griffin

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New High Speed Robot Bag Palletising System For BioMar

Webster Griffin have supplied over 262 systems for filling all types of chemicals, plastics, minerals, fertiliser, feeds, food ingredients and sugar into big bags and super sacks.

Several Years ago BioMar contacted Webster Griffin in search of a new bagging line to fill 500 to 1250kg bags of pelleted fish feed at their factory at Grangemouth Scotland.

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Having analysed Wagg Foods requirements, Webster Griffin Provided The Following Solution:

  • Robot palletising system, model Ai1800 with conveyors.
  • Bag hand - manually adjustable for different sized bags, including bag top clamps and independently operating side plates which guide the bag as it is placed onto the pallet. With our design the bag is held securely on four sides while it is moved from the pick-up conveyor to the pallet.
  • High mechanical fence guarding for the robot palletising system including three interlocked access doors. We are also utilizing the wall of the building.
  • Automatic empty pallet magazine.  Designed to handle 4-way entry pallets. Our pallet magazine is easily adjusted for different pallet widths.
  • One main control panel for the robot system the above, including controls for all belt conveyors.
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Precision High Speed Palletising

This year they have also requested a new high speed Robot palletising system to compliment and work synergistically with their exsisting packaging equipment.

Whilst also providing more labour savings, increased productivity, and enhanced automation to their end of line packaging solution.

Webster Griffin has extensive experience supplying bagging machinery for packing salmon and commercial fish feed to various clients located in Scotland, Ecuador, Chile.

The Robot Palletiser would be handling 20 & 25 kg bags containing pelleted fish feed arriving from Biomar’s existing FFS bagging machine and bag conveyors. Webster Griffin expect the output to reach speeds of up to 1100 bags/hr (27.5 tph).

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What Solution Did Webster Griffin Install At Dubai Municipality’s Jebel Ali Plant?

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Who Is Dubai Municipality & What Did They Need To Pack? 

Dubai’s Municipality is one the United Arab Emirates’ largest government institutions. It offers a range of public utility services, including managing and operating waste treatment systems. The Municipality built a 670 hectare sewage treatment plant to dry wastewater into sludge, reducing its volume and converting it into safe to handle bio-solids. These bio-solids can be used to fertilise and condition soil and landscaped areas across Dubai. It also keeps the wastewater sludge from ending up in landfills, a process which is costly and bad for the environment.

The plant’s average daily treatment capacity needed to increase from 300,000 m3 to 670,000 m3, to manage the city's 3.35 million population. To do this, they added a module capable of processing an additional 370,000 m3 daily. The plant processed 1300 kgs of biosolids per line hourly which needed to be bagged and palletised at 2.1 tons an hour. They approached Webster Griffin for a solution that would bag, palletise and protect 25 kg bags of product. Here’s the solution we created for them.

Bag-hand

What Challenges Did Webster Griffin Encounter When Planning The Installation?

Webster Griffin were tasked with installing a bagging solution for Dubai Municipality. Due to the nature of the biosolids, the Form Fill Seal bagging machine needed a dust extraction/vapour control and filtration for clean and safe filling.

The biosolids were dried and shaped into pellets, the packaged products needed protection from the elements after being palletised.

In addition to the above, the entire system needed to be able to function efficiently in hot and windy conditions as the plant was located in the Jebel Ali desert.

Which Equipment Was Required On Site For The Installation?

Webster Griffin installed a UPS-500 Form Fill Seal bagging machine and Okura III Series robot palletiser.

These machines were chosen for their performance and ability to withstand the plant’s desert environment, well as limited moving parts requiring frequent replacement. The bagging machine also included a dust extractor, weigher, bag applicator, pallet wrapper and pallet magazine.

How Did The Installation Help Dubai Municipality To Meet Their Production Targets?

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Webster Griffin's Form Fill Seal bagging machine provided Dubai Municipality with an automated, affordable, high throughput solution compatible with different bag weights and product types. Its series of belts and roller conveyors quickly transported the product from filling to palletisation. It also featured a dust extractor operating at 400m3/hour, ensuring a clean, safe working environment for employees. The automatic net weigher with an accuracy within +/- 0.5% ensured the product giveaway was at a minimum saving them time and money, and an automatic bag applicator provided flexibility for pillow and gusseted bags.

The palletiser robot came with a 9” colour touchscreen control panel and OXPA ‘Easy Teach’ programming software with 100 pre-configured stacking patterns to be customised to preference. The high speed pallet wrapper was equipped with a rotating turntable to waterproof the pallets before transportation, with a standard empty pallet magazine capable of stacking 15 to 20 empty pallets.

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What Key Benefits Were Realised After The Installation? 

After the system’s installation, the Dubai Municipality experienced a better than projected throughput of 3 tons an hour, with reduced production costs thanks to the system neglecting the usage of pre-made bags.

The creation of waterproofed pallets ensured each package was protected for transport and distribution.

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