Food manufacturer Remia was in search of a solution to increase the production capacity of its factory in Den Dolder. The solution was found in the implementation of a new palletizing machine, the Highrunner from Qimarox. This machine is not only faster and more robust than its predecessor but also provides more valueble floor space. Project manager Jan Berndsen of Remia said, “We can now switch gears more quickly, even when the stacking pattern changes.”
Remia, established in Den Dolder since 1951, produces sauces, dressings, and cooking oils for both households and professional kitchens. Due to a growing demand, the food company sought a solution to increase the capacity of a crucial production line. The production line faced a major bottleneck: an aging portal robot used for palletizing finished products. “This machine could no longer be maintained, and many spare parts were no longer available. Furthermore, the capacity was no longer sufficient,” explained project manager Jan Berndsen.
Remia decided to search for a palletizing solution that could provide the necessary capacity. Other selection criteria included price, functionality, and delivery time of the solution. Additionally, the reputation of the machine builder played a significant role. “We have a strong preference for machines that have already proven themselves in practice,” Berndsen said. “Additionally, it’s convenient if the machine builder is nearby, so they can act quickly when needed. We value suppliers who keep their commitments and can adapt swiftly.”
The search for an alternative palletizing solution began within the company’s own factory. A Highrunner, the palletizing machine from Qimarox that performed to full satisfaction, was already in operation in the factory. Therefore, Remia contacted Qimarox to explore how the old portal robot could be replaced with a new Highrunner. Qimarox, in turn, enlisted the help of Westover, a renowned system integrator from Ermelo. Westover proposed a new palletizing solution based on the Highrunner that met all of Remia’s criteria. An additional benefit for choosing a Highrunner palletizer solutions was that the palletizer allowed palletizing at height, enabling Remia to free up extra floor space underneath.
The two Highrunners now operate side by side on a platform. Here, products are formed into pallet layers that are placed on a pallet all at once. Once a pallet is complete, it is transported downward with a pallet lift and placed on a conveyor that carries the pallet away. “This design keeps the space under the platform largely available for other processes. At present, we use that space as a passageway for employees and forklifts,” Berndsen explained.
Westover handled the integration of the palletizing machine including the infeed conveyor and pallet transport, as well as the control software for the entire system. Effective communication among the three parties involved allowed problems to be identified and resolved in a timely manner. Some electrical components, for example, were found to be unavailable, potentially causing delays. “Qimarox and Westover arranged replacement components, requiring Westover to adjust the control software. This allowed us to put the palletizing machine into operation on schedule,” Berndsen said, adding that the machine now has its original components.
Currently, the new Highrunner, like its older brother, is running to complete satisfaction. Qimarox’s palletizer is not only faster, but also more robust than the old gantry robot. Efficiency is extra high thanks to Qimarox’s ContourScanner CS1 integrated into the infeed conveyor. Combined with a weight control system, this contour scanner can immediately detect faulty products, after which they are ejected from the production line and thus can no longer cause disruptions.
In addition, the infeed and outfeed of pallets have improved, partly because the palletizing machine is on the platform, with the pallet warehouse beneath it. Accessibility for service and maintenance has also been enhanced, while machine safety has been improved. “And importantly, we can now act and switch more quickly when switching to a different product, effectively increasing our capacity even more, even if the stacking pattern changes in between. Additionally, we can now handle interleaf sheets,” Berndsen noted.
New production line
In a next phase, Remia plans to connect the palletizing system to the existing stretch wrapper, automating the packaging of all pallets and further reducing the number of forklift movements. Overall, Remia is satisfied with the upgrade of the production line. So satisfied, in fact, that Remia has already inquired about setting up a completely new production line on an upper floor. Once again, both Qimarox and Westover have been approached to provide and integrate the palletizing solution.
- Faster and more reliable palletizing process
- Increased functionality without excessive complexity
- Harmonized production process due to machine uniformity
- Reduced need for different components and spareparts
- State-of-the-art solution to keep up with the times
- Easy operation thanks to intelligent control software
- Quick adaptation to product changes
- Improved pallet infeed and outfeed
- Enhanced accessibility for service and maintenance