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7 compact palletisers transform efficiency at McVities main co-packing centre

“I felt that Brillopak listened to us and took the time to understand our requirements.”

A major turnkey palletising solution from Brillopak is on track to yield a return on investment within less than 15 months of installation by reducing labour requirement at the end of line.

About Pladis

Pladis Group is an international conglomerate of biscuit and confectionary brands with annual revenue of US$5.2bn and 26,000 employees worldwide. It brings together regional brands including United Biscuits, McVities, Ülker, and Godiva as well as a number of smaller businesses.

The Challenge

Pladis operates a highly efficient distribution centre at Ashby de la Zouch. As part of its process the site manually palletised boxes of products onto pallets on 7 different lines. There are in excess of 80 skus most of which involve different box sizes. Each line might run several skus in a day and each line may run different skus. This was labour intensive and, due to the lack of space, caused congestion in the packing area. A decision was taken to review options and develop a solution that would automate the palletising process with the associated cost benefits.

Selecting a Partner

In March 2015, Pladis asked several equipment suppliers, to propose a robotic palletising solution that would meet the demands outline above. Brillopak impressed Pladis with its attention to detail during the discussion phase of the project. Pladis Group’s Mike Hellier “I felt that Brillopak listened to us and took the time to understand our requirements. The Brillopak solution met our needs in terms of layout, performance and price. The small footprint of the palletiser combined with the flexibility to handle our 50 plus skus with no tooling changeover also had a big impact on our decision.”

“…Brillopak were really focussed on doing the job professionally.”

The Solution

4 compact C2 KT400 single cell palletisers were chosen for the manual pack stations, with a further 2 KT400 for each flow wrapper and a KT800 dual cell for the high speed cartoner. Each system used the latest Omron NJ Series control system incorporating motion control, communications and a separate safety circuit. Pallet layer patterns are set up in-house following training by Brillopak. Product setup involves simply keying in the sku number or selecting from a drop down list. The rest is set up automatically and the machine is ready to go.

The Build Quality

The machines were inspected at the factory prior to installation. “I was struck by the pride the people had in their machines” comments Mike. “We could see the quality of design and build and the apparent ease of use for operators on a hectic schedule.”

Installation & Commissioning

Barring minor hiccups the machines went in on time and with a minimum of disruption to production. “I found that Brillopak were really focussed on doing the job professionally. They also remained on site to make sure all of our people understood the systems before they left.”

Day to Day Operations

“The result has been that the machines have operated as we had hoped from Day 1. There have been the occasional problems but I have to say that Brillopak always react quickly and fix any problems.” Steve Bristoll, Inventory, Co-packing and Operations Support Manager “In summary I would say Brillopak does what it says on the tin.”

Exceeding Expectations

The machines settled down very quickly and the operators like using them. As a business we have achieved our objective of labour reduction and increased efficiency in a very small space.

“The machines have performed to the desired high level of performance but have exceeded our expectations in terms of reliability and consistency of performance. They need little maintenance and the repeatable precision of the operations is a credit to Brillopak.”