Palletizer offers flexible patterns and eliminates hand stacking
July 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
When Producers Rice Mill was formed in 1943, it milled 143,500 barrels its first year and had assets of $125,000. Today, its annual milling rate is more than 60 million bushels and sales have topped the $500 million mark.
One of the plants contributing to the companies success is the packaging parboil rice division plant in Stuttgart, Ark., which packages raw rice into a commercial grade, consumable product to be distributed throughout the United States. Unfortunately, its hand stack line and old palletizing equipment were contributing to high labor costs and limited throughput.
So, Producers Rice implemented a new system that conveys two finished products out of the packaging room up to an elevated height to new palletizing machines. Previously each line discharged on to a common hand stacking line. Now, each product moves on a conveyor and is then automatically fed to two high-infeed palletizers (vonGal, vongal.com). The new palletizers eliminate the hand stacking line as they stack the cases before discharging them on a pallet.
By installing a new conveyor and two new palletizing machines, Producers Rice was able to increase productivity from 8,000 cases per day over a 12-hour production shift to 13,000 cases over an eight-hour shift and decrease its workforce by two people over a two-shift period.
Jeremy Herring, parboil packaging manager at the Stuttgart facility says, “I was very impressed with the easy installation and start-up of these machines. We installed the system over the weekend and both lines were running full production by mid-week with no issues.”
Also impressed with the palletizers’ flexibility, Herring says the pattern editing software allows them to make changes to patterns and machine functions on the fly, which cuts down on machine downtime. As a result, Herring reports, “We’re at a steady 99% uptime to date.”