Technical Theme: Packaging, wrapping & logistics
OPTIMA discusses Technidrom, tests and turnkey
From A to Z – from packaging machine to palletiser – the entire process chain offered by Optima for nonwoven products is now routinely available. Starting immediately, customers have the opportunity to carry out product tests on the pilot plant at the Optima Technidrom. Several lines are already standing the test of daily operation, as Andreas Michelfelder, product manager of end of line automation, tells TW.
The OPTIMA RTP palletiser was introduced to the market early in the summer of 2011. Since then, the range of end-of-line automation is being used in a significant number of projects. Several components have been integrated into one line for these projects and inquiries for the entire process chain have started to become common.
Packing woes? The best weapon-system integration
What drives customers to make use of the extended offer at this early point? Here is an example. A company wants to implement consistent automation for its packaging processes and decides to buy components from four different manufacturers. During the phase of detail planning, it turns out that co-ordination and harmonisation at the company is exhaustively time-consuming. In several instances, project requirements exceed competences and expertise of the company’s technical department and so an engineering consultant is called in. The assembly phase starts and the supplier of the bundler (Y) reports delays. As a consequence, the company has to revise its time schedule for other suppliers. Operation of the new line starts with a few months’ delay, but fails to bring the desired performance. The manufacturer of a case packer believes that the grouping system has been incorrectly programmed. The quality of the stacks produced by the palletiser starts dwindling. The company is left puzzled and perplexed.
Many reasons speak for a turnkey solution. When placing an order with Optima, the interfaces between the machines are designed and solved by a single integrated supplier. Flexible and perfectly harmonised solutions are worked out for software, mechanics and electronics. Some of the interface design is already performed during preparatory phases. This not only translates into faster process implementation, it also ensures maximum process safety, which is tested and verified in detail. Optima’s commitment to quality ensures comprehensive reliability and safety in every detail.
The client has only one contact during and after project implementation. This allays co-ordination and integration efforts. Responsibility for the final result is clearly defined and not something negotiated between a number of different suppliers. Documentation, too, is compiled by one source and is consistent along the entire line. Last but not least, experienced service technicians maintain and look after the machines at any location around the globe.
All-inclusive line after incorporation of amodular stretch palletiser
Systematically acquired data on customer needs were translated into a number of unique features on the RTP stretch palletiser. For example, the particularly compact design, its user-friendly operation, and the possibility to quickly generate many different pallet patterns are attributed to the research data. The planning phase of the first palletiser confirmed the advantages of a modular approach: it enables the manufacturer to flexibly address specific customer requirements. The palletiser received optional add-ons like an inserter for tie sheets, cover sheets (slip sheets), an empty pallet magazine for automatic pallet infeed and, additionally, an interface to downstream warehouse logistics. At the same time, the central features of the RTP series were maintained: a robot with a specially designed gripper arm and the simultaneous stretching process to ensure stability of the pallet stack.
To allow customers a profitable insight, Optima has set up a process chain at its inhouse “Technidrom”. Not only does this pilot plant allow a close look on-site, but in particular, it is available for product testing. Using its own products, potential buyers can convince themselves of the efficiency of the line’s components. The equipment processes diapers, femcare products, napkins etc. Specific format setup for the line is easy and fast.
Turnkey – an overview of all functions: Primary packaging (product packing): Packaging into foil or folding boxes
Quality control: Metal detection, length and weight monitoring, reject function and product marking
Secondary packaging with grouping (pack packing): Products in primary packaging are packed into boxes or foil for transport. High-end consumer packages use printed foil. If required, and depending on the product line’s complexity and flexibility, a separate grouping system is incorporated upstream of the secondary packaging unit. The grouping system groups together a set number of packages and supports a wide range of different formations.
Tertiary packaging (unit packing): The products in secondary packaging are arranged in layers on a pallet and then stabilised by stretch foil. A forklift transports the finished pallets onto the truck or to the warehouse.