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An end to pallet collapses on the way to supermarkets

Pallets that had collapsed when they reached customers were a big problem for one of Europe’s biggest producers of pet food. An investment in a new palletisation system solved the problem. The 180 cm high pallets are now being received undamaged by retail customers across Europe. The project has a payback period of only one year!

C&D Foods Denmark produce pet food that the company delivers to big retail chains across Europe. The 35,000 m² factory, which operates 24 hours a day, produces 65,000 tonnes annually. This factory is the C&D Foods group’s “excellence centre” for pet food in aluminium tins.

Pallet collapses were everyday occurrences

Tins containing cat or dog food are produced in three sizes: 100, 150 or 300 g. They are packed into boxes that a packaging robot stacks on pallets up to a height of 180 cm. This pallet height used to cause many customer complaints, even though edging and stretch film was used.

Entire layers of boxes would shift sideways during transport. This meant that many pallets collapsed during transport, and thus that the products were damaged when they arrived at the supermarkets.

“Unsecure and damaged deliveries were a big nuisance and lost the organisation a lot of time that had to be given over to processing customer complaints,” says Jens Gadgaard, project and safety manager for C&D Foods (Denmark).

An end to pallet collapses

An investment of just under DKK 10 million in two new fully-automatic palletisation systems that replaced a 15-year-old palletisation system solved the problem immediately. Especially because C&D Foods took the opportunity to invest in two Palcut sheet dispensers that automatically and to requirement cut and output Antim65 intermediate sheets one at a time. Antim65 has a special anti-slip coating.

The pallets are now stacked using anti-slip intermediate sheets for every single, second or third layer of products – regardless of the height of the pallet and need for stability.

“This has solved the problems with pallets becoming unstable during transport. We haven’t had any customer complaints pertaining to pallet collapses since we commissioned the new systems in the summer,’ says an impressed Jens Gadgaard.

Short payback period

“The payback period is only one year for the entire project,” says Jens Gadgaard. This calculation is based on a number of criteria. Among other things, the packing line’s uptime is much improved because the Palcut sheet dispensers cut intermediate sheets from rolls and there are no longer any problems with lost sheets.

As there are typically 3,000 sheets in a roll, it only needs to be replaced every five days. Previously, 50 sheets at a time were put into a small sheet cartridge and the packing line had to be stopped every time a refill was required – often once an hour.

Fast implementation

Installation and commissioning of the two new packing lines took only two weeks – from dismantling of the old system until the new system was installed and implemented in production. By and large, it took place without any interruption to production.

“It has been a very positive process in which all parties have been very flexible in their approach without compromising on time and quality,” says Jens Gadgaard.

Jens Gadgaard finds that it pays to work with quality suppliers and systems, just as he will not compromise on the equipment he uses for his next Ironman competition.

Five packing lines

C&D Foods has five production lines in total, each with its own packing line, four of which are equipped with Palcut sheet dispensers and anti-slip sheets. Only pallets with low heights are packed on the fifth line, which is why stability is less critical. But according to Jens Gadgaard, they are currently assessing the situation and he would not be surprised if calculations come out in favour of a Palcut solution due to increased productivity with fewer sheet cartridge changes required.

An investment in the UK market means that C&D Foods is considering upgrading its palletisation system so that it can also pack 1/2 and 1/4 pallets.

“We have recently updated the Palcut sheet dispenser so that it can cut intermediate sheets to a number of sizes, and existing installations are usually easy to update so that they can handle several sizes,” says Preben Nielsen, area manager at Palcut.

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