Applying robotics to a case packing process may well make a sound business case, but it might not always be the optimum solution when there are multiple SKUs and numerous packs of different shapes and sizes to factor in, cautions Brillopak director David Jahn.
This may sound like an oxymoron statement for an automation specialist to make. Yet, the company, which this year alone has built and installed eight C130 Semi Automated packing stations, has observed a number of instances in packhouse environments where leaping into full automation might actually be detrimental to efficiency.
“Most packhouses today have to improve efficiency to survive, yet many are also contracted to pack for multiple retailers and have to contend with frequent product changeovers,” highlights David. “Line efficiency is predicated on the ability to run production lines at the highest speed possible with minimal downtime. And it is the machine downtime that trashes efficiency.”