Each year Fratelli Beretta ships 40,000 pallets of delicatessen products from its Milan factory. Automated Palcut palletising saves precious time and money and prevents disruption to production for the food specialists.
Fratelli Beretta 1812 is a known Italian brand that produces sausages, hams and other delicatessen products. In the last year, more than half of all Italian families have consumed a Beretta product.
The family business is growing by 10 per cent annually, increasing its exports even more, and Fratelli Beretta currently has 22 factories in three parts of the world. The secret is a strong focus on the quality of the raw materials, ingredients and optimised production, among other things.
A pallet of products every six minutes
“Short lead times and effective production are vital to our success,” says Simone Amigoni, assistant factory manager in Medolago, adding: “Today it actually only takes us two hours and 30 minutes to produce a sausage. All of our production is highly automated, and robots handle the sausages after the casings have been filled.”
At Beretta, they are continuously optimising the process, and recently they have improved the packing of finished products onto pallets. Each year, the factory ships 40,000 pallets of products, i.e. one every six minutes, and that is why the process has been carefully analysed. Palletising has caused problems before, among other things because many pallets were collapsing during transport, and this has been very expensive.
Palcut was the ideal solution
The solution was a sheet dispenser with Antim anti-slip paper from palletising specialist Palcut. The anti-slip paper replace interlayer sheets made of corrugated cardboard that have been used until now. The Antim sheets only weigh 110 g/m², but most importantly, it has a special coating. The coating secures the packaging so that individual layers on the pallets remain stable during transport.
Simpler and cheaper than the alternatives
The alternative to automatic sheet dispensing with anti-slip paper would have been to wrap the pallets in twice as much stretch film. But in Italy companies pay a fee to dispose of packaging to CONAI, an organisation that manages taxes for the disposal of packaging materials. And it is particularly expensive to dispose of stretch film, which costs EUR 188 per tonne, compared to EUR 4 per tonne for paper packaging materials.
“It is very expensive to use stretch film and dispose of it afterwards,” says Simone Amigoni. He then elaborates: “Our financial estimate clearly indicated that the Palcut solution with Antim non-slip sheets is a good cost-reducing investment because there are significantly fewer pallet collapses, the stretch film charge is halved and there is higher customer satisfaction due to fewer pallet collapses.”
More gains during production
According to Fratelli Beretta, they have experienced several gains in the form of more uptime and faster lead times after investing in Palcut, which in addition to anti-slip sheets includes a fully automatic sheet dispenser that is integrated with the palletising line. The sheets cut automatically from a paper roll and fed out individually. The packaging robot picks up the anti-slip sheet and put it on the pallet between the layers of products.
For hygienic reasons the pallets will built up with a sheet at the bottom to protect the sausages packagings from having direct contact with the wood and dirt from below. Then the layers of products are loaded, alternating between sausage products and interlayer sheets. In addition to the base sheet, they also use two to three Antim anti-slip sheets depending on whether the pallet is built up using nine or 11 layers of products, before wrapping it all in a minimal layer of stretch film so that it is ready for transport.
No disruption to production increases profitability
At Beretta, they are working on optimising production at the factory in Medolago, located between Milan and Bergamo. Considering the factory ships a pallet every six minutes, automation could give major gains. Palcut has also contributed significantly.
“Thanks to the Palcut solution we haven’t had any disruption to production, and we’re saving on storage space for sheets. We’re also spared the laborious manual reloading of sheets in the palletising line,” says a satisfied Simone Amigoni.
The assistant factory manager will not reveal how much the company is saving by using the Palcut solution, but implies that it is a significant amount.
Less manual and time-consuming work
At Fratelli Beretta, no one misses the previous solution where pallets loaded with interlayer sheets made of corrugated cardboard were positioned by the packaging robot just outside the safety zone. New cardboard sheets had to be supplied every 30 minutes, and these needed to be carried to the pallet manually.
Previously, a number of pallets stood outside of the packaging zone, and these took up space. The buffer stock also meant that 52 pallets were loaded with cardboard sheets, stacked up high. Now they only need to fit a new roll of Antim anti-slip paper every six days and install it using a pallet lifter.
Palcut’s fully automated sheet dispensing was implemented in the Medolago factory’s largest packaging line in October 2015. At Beretta, they are very satisfied with the Palcut solution and are now starting to evaluate its potential for some of their other factories.
“Beretta’s production management has been very willing to listen to our experiences. This has ensured very quick and easy implementation of the Palcut solution,” says Giacomo Sammartino, sales manager for Palcut in Italy.