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Automated palletising solution results in a 50% efficiency increase for beverage plant

18 December 2017

The installation of a complete end-of-line automated palletising solution for Coca-Cola Bottling in Indonesia, namely at the Cikedokan plant in Bekasi, near Jakarta, has increased line efficiency by 50% on a previously manual line. 

The Cikedokan plant produces carbonated soft drinks and tea and juice in PET bottles and tea in plastic cups.The original line – built with equipment from a variety of different suppliers – featured manual palletising at its end-of-line. This was causing congestion, and safety and labour-management issues, requiring a large team of casual workers.

“It’s quite hot work and difficult,” said Grant McClean, technical manager for Capital Projects at the plant. “There were also challenges in making sure that the work could be done safely.” For these reasons the company searchef for an automatic palletising solution enabling a continuous production line with a more efficient use of labour.

“The thing we value very highly in a machinery supplier in Indonesia, of course, is the quality of the equipment – and that our supplier can provide its engineering capabilities during the sales process for us to discover the best machinery and the best solution,”  continued McClean.

Working closely with the team at the customer’s site, engineers at Gebo Cermex designed a new automatic palletising solution for the site which comprises layer-by-layer palletisers, pallet conveyors and a stretch wrapper to cover the loaded pallets. Given the goal –- to accommodate the production line to deliver 3,600 cases per hour – a system of three small palletisers, one from each packing area, connected with an unmanned shuttle-car system was considered to be the most economical and operationally efficient end-of-line solution. The shuttle-car was part of the solution proposed by Gebo Cermex, recognising the benefits it brought in terms of reducing the traffic of forklift trucks, thereby increasing site safety. The three palletisers supplied are U-shaped with empty pallet infeeds and full-pallet outfeeds on the same side of the machine. 

The shuttle-car system continuously takes the loaded pallets to a pallet conveyor, upon which the pallets are stretch-wrapped before being taken to waiting forklift trucks. Then, they take them away for dispatch to the company’s warehouses. On its return journey, the shuttle-car system also supplies empty pallets to the palletisers. Together with optimised efficiency and higher overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), this solution allows for a better management of the labour force.

Results exceed expectations
McClean concludes: “Within a few weeks of the installation, we conducted a test where the machinery exceeded the standards for acceptance that we had set at the start of the project by a large margin. In the operation that we have had since then, we’ve seen absolutely no decline in the efficiency of the equipment from the day of that test.” All in all, since the implementation of the solution, the plant has seen a 50% increase in efficiency and higher OEE. He continues: “One of our ambitions at Coca-Cola Bottling in all of our plants in Indonesia, is to pursue a strategy of lean manufacturing. Our Cikedokan plant is like a pilot plant; it’s where we test our ideas for lean manufacturing and perfect them - before implementing them in other plants. And so, the end-of-line solution that we chose from Gebo Cermex had to fit in with our lean-manufacturing strategy.”


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