Elopak: Efficiency and safety 24/7
Palletizing for long hours was exhausting work at Elopak Canada’s plant. The close working conditions with many workers in a constrained space, along with the repetitive manual labour, created safety concerns at the beverage carton manufacturing facility. “We did have safety issues when people did it manually,” explained David Léonard, Maintenance Director at the Quebec facility. He also noted that “palletizing is not a job that people want to do all day for 12 hours.”
When Elopak Canada moved to a new facility near Montreal, the company decided to automate all palletizing and de-palletizing with machines from Orfer, an international robotic automation company headquartered in Finland.
The machines, that feature Kawasaki robotic arms with a mechanical gripper, could work to load and unload cartons around the clock without breaks or injury. They did not need interruption even when changing a pallet, which is ideal for a highly productive facility that operates around the clock. They also had a small footprint, which allowed Elopak to accommodate more of the machines for their expanded facility.
Today, the palletizing and de-palletizing machines work continuously even through holidays. They are at the end of a fully automated production line that cuts, prints and seals the company’s signature printed carton blanks, and then prepares them for shipment to beverage production companies across Canada.
David finds that Orfer offers good remote technical support and assistance in procuring spare parts. They also collaborate well on upgrades and future planning for the facility.
Elopak continues to upgrade their facility with more palletizers coming soon from Orfer.
“I would recommend these machines from Orfer because they are very reliable,”
David said, they don’t have much downtime on them at all, which is very important since they work 24/7.