Robots benefit Regal Cream plant
Regal Cream, producer of popular Australian Bulla brand dairy products, has found it easier to palletise bottles with a robot from ABB Australia instead of doing it by hand.
In 1910, Thomas Sloan established Bulla Cream Co., now called Regal Cream, at Moonee Ponds, a Melbourne suburb, where milk was pasteurised by standing open cream cans in coppers fired by wood.
Cream was collected from the country region of Bulla and then transported by horse and cart to the city and the Bulla brand was born. Now one of the top names in dairy Down Under, the Bulla brand of creams, yoghurts, cream cheese and other dairy products is well-known throughout Australia.
The production of dairy products has changed dramatically in the nearly hundred years since the company’s founding.
At Regal Cream’s new greenfield plant in Colac, South Western Victoria, for example, Bulla products are now palletised using four ABB FlexPalletizer robotic palletising systems with IRB 640 robots, two laser-guided automated vehicles (AGVS) and a pallet management system.
The robots are currently palletising six of the 10 lines in the Regal Cream factory. The lines process up to 300 bottles a minute, and the bottles then have to be stacked, palletized, wrapped and refrigerated within 10 minutes.
All this is now achieved totally automatically, with the only human intervention being the touch of a button to change product lines and to monitor the controls. In addition, laser-guided forklifts have replaced manual forklifts in the palletising area and operate seamlessly with the whole system.
In a potentially incident-free environment the robots meets Regal Cream’s productivity requirements without any bottlenecks at all, which had been one of the company’s concerns.
“The installation has exceeded the expectations of our management in every respect, including on-time delivery, budget and performance,” says Regal Cream representative.
“We’ve also had huge improvements in the OH & S arena. The palletizing robots have released 20 people from physically demanding work with occupational health risks into control and operational roles that allow them to use their intellectual capabilities much more. We’re all reaping the benefit of their improved well-being and morale.”
“Robotic automation systems such as these are highly effective in ramping up production, reducing ongoing operational costs and enhancing customers’ competitive edge,” says Derek Ford, sales manager - Consumer Industries.
The robot palletising system provides a number of benefits for Regal Cream.
- Manpower reduced
- Production ramped up
- Virtually no bottle-necks
- Fewer health and safety risks
- Higher morale