The animal feed ingredients market is growing and to keep up with demand, Perstorp’s animal nutrition division in Waspik, the Netherlands, needed to expand capacity. With feed manufacturers wanting their ingredients more quickly and in greater quantities, pressure to ensure accurate and on-time deliveries has increased. This has meant that accuracy and efficiency have never been more important to market success.
Challenge: To standardize labeling across filling lines and increase production efficiency
As one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals innovators, Perstorp is known for providing essential properties for products in homes, offices and communities across the globe. At the animal nutrition division’s site in Waspik, the company needed to undergo an expansion programme to continue to meet demand. As part of this, Cees Sloophaak, site manager of Waspik, and his team, decided to add two additional packaging lines to help overcome capacity bottle neck issues.
To improve efficiency and standardize the packaging and labelling of the animal nutrition products still further, the filling lines were directly connected to the mixers, and the labelling process reviewed. The aim was to minimize operator input and enable Perstorp’s production team to refocus their energies on other parts of the job.
With over 3,000 bags a day going through the two filling lines in its ‘start-up phase’ alone and capacity growth planned over the coming years, Perstorp needed a reliable, easy-to-use and efficient labelling solution.
Solution: Standardizing the labeling process across the site
To ensure that input from operators’ was minimized and the labelling process was as efficient as possible, GraphicALL systems, a label and software integrator with over 20 years experience in providing effective solutions, was called in by Domino Print and Apply Benelux (provider of the filling and pallet line printers). GraphicALL had previously installed the BarTenderTM labelling software system in other areas of Perstorp at Waspik.
Formerly, on the other production lines on site, feed bag label designs were selected manually by an operator using BarTender’s Print Station. However, to replicate this solution on the new palletising line, would have meant the operator having to select the label design and then manually choosing whether to send it to bag line one or two of the packaging lines. Then the operator would need to ensure that the correct replica label was sent to the single pallet label printer, for adding to the exterior of the palletised products.
Perstorp wanted to take the error margin out of the labelling of both the feed bags and the pallets. To do this, GraphicALL used BarTender’s Automation Edition to fully automate the label printing process. The animal feed bag labels have now been centrally designed and standardized. Using the programmable logic control (PLC) function in this BarTender edition, GraphicALL has been able to create a connection between the label printer for the feed bags and the palletising line.
The end result is that one operator can use a simple touchscreen graphic to choose the standardized label they want on the feed bags on both production lines at the beginning of their shift. The operator needs no further interaction with the label printer, unless a different product is filled on one of the two lines later in the day. Following label selection, a datafile is then generated when the label is printed, this is sent to BarTender’s integration software module which communicates with the palletising line printer. The correct label is subsequently printed for the palletised product, depending on the data received from the PLC function.
Thanks to the BarTender labelling software, the correct labels are now sent to both feed bags and the palletised products, with minimal operator intervention. Eric Bonten, company founder of GraphicALL comments: “Perstorp wanted a foolproof label printing system on this production line and that is what they have got. Thanks to the fact that BarTender is easy to use and programme, and that it is highly user friendly, we have been able to give Perstorp a solution that meets all of their needs. In fact, due to the BarTender labelling software being able to discern which labels to put on what pallet, a second palletising line wasn’t needed.”
Jos Falvay, operations manager of Waspik comments: “When we started the capacity expansion project, we asked ourselves as a team where could we work smarter? It became clear that labour saving, as well as other process efficiencies, were possible with the new filling and palletising lines. As well as saving us hours of operator time per day, the new BarTender labelling solution has created a failsafe in the system for us. After the line is set up in the morning, the wrong label can’t be put on a feed bag and if there isn’t a label on a bag, for whatever reason, the line will stop. Efficiency and accuracy have been built into the design of the labelling system and we are very pleased with the end result.”