AGVs keep product moving around the clock
Schur, a global manufacturer of packaging materials, machines and systems, wanted to improve the ergonomic environment for workers in its Denmark facility by automating repetitive movements. By installing an automatic guided vehicles (AGV) system, the company improved flexibility, efficiency, safety and productivity.
At the end of the production line, finished corrugated boxes are stacked on pallets. Full pallets are first moved to an automated strapping and wrapping machine and then moved to the warehouse for storage. Empty pallets are moved from a pallet-stacking machine and delivered to the palletizers. There are four different types of pallets depending on the product and the export destination.
Before the AGV installation, movement of the full pallets to the strapping/wrapping machine and to the warehouse was done using manual forklifts. The process was repetitive and predictable—a great candidate for automation. Shur installed four compact fork-over style AGVs (JBT Corp., jbtc.com).
“The most important benefits of the new system are its stability, accuracy and the smooth work flow it enables,” says Allan Laursen, production manager at Schurpack Denmark. The AGVs now move raw materials from bulk storage to the production machines. One added operation was for the AGVs to move pallets to storage and place them into storage lanes thus avoiding the need for overnight forklift operators. The AGVs can also collect and store pallets post press, buffering them for secondary operations use.
The system is easy to reconfigure and can be expanded by simply adding more vehicles. The predicable operation, accurate navigation, smooth acceleration/deceleration, non-contact safety bumpers, and visual and audible warning signals gave workers confidence that the AGVs would improve safety.
“We involved a big group of people in the project,” says Laursen. “This gave them a sense of ownership, but also ensured that they were comfortable with the system.”
Because of this success, productivity at the facility has increased 12%. These AGVs will operate in the printing department transporting full pallets from a pile turner conveyor to one of two presses. They will also transport empty pallet stacks from conveyors to storage areas or the point of use.