Automation is not always about replacing your workforce. There are times when a simple change can create a great benefit within your production line.
This was the case for the cherry packhouse run by CentralPac in the heart of Central Otago. CentralPac pride themselves on growing and packing premium cherries for export and ensuring there is minimal time between the fruit being picked, packed, and dispatched. In fact, their minimum dispatch time is 8 hours after picking, however all cherries are guaranteed to leave the packhouse within 24 hours.
In order to meet these turnaround deadlines, they purchased a UNITEC Vision 3 state-of-the-art specialist cherry packing line in 2017, designed to maximise export yield and grower returns.
Where does EQM fit with this?
CentralPac approached us to see if we could help them in lightening the load for the manual labour processes within their packhouse. Their main concern was ensuring that their processes did not slow down their promise of being able to dispatch their cherries within the 24-hour window.
One such area was their pre-erected carton storage rack. An 18 metre long, 3-tiered shelving made of mini wheel tracks was manually loaded. It worked by loading and physically pushing the lined cherry cartons from one end along the 18-metre length. While this may not seem like an overly taxing task, if the shelves were not kept full, production would slow down.
As is known the cherry season is short, so CentralPac required a cost effective and efficient solution that would streamline their processes without requiring a whole new 3 tier conveyor system. In addition, the solution had to be delivered and installed in a 4-week timeframe so as to ensure the line could begin as soon as the first cherries were ready to harvest.
After assessing the existing setup in the packhouse and discussing the clients’ needs, we suggested retrofitting their carton rack by inserting several sections of EQM Cartonroll Conveyor in each tier.
The retrofit included removing a section of rack at the start and mid-section of the racking and replacing them with rollers driven by bands linked to a 24Vdc Pancake motor. The very compact motor comes with a control card and is mounted on the outside of the frame. Operated by a series of switches located along the length of the system, the person responsible for loading the cartons or the packers requiring the cartons can now move these cartons from one end of the packing line to the other at the flick of a switch.
Not only has this simple automation sped up the process, but it has minimized the interruption of box filler operators by the carton loading staff crossing their path.
This project proved that by using the right combination of conveyor and drive components we can deliver the optimal performance and production efficiencies within your existing layout cost effectively.
Are you are looking to maximise your packline efficiency for this season? Call now, as there is not much time left before the 2021 fruits season begins. While we endeavour to work with everyone’s timelines, there outside factors that can affect the delivery of parts for the season. To avoid disappointment, get in touch with the EQM team today.