”Close cooperation with BILA has made the investment even more worthwhile. We have avoided many of the errors that sometimes occur in projects when people don’t communicate properly."
- Production Manager, Bjarke Damsgaard Jørgensen
Arla Rødkærsbro – a modern dairy with 250 employees. In Rødkærsbro, Arla has one of Europe’s largest mozzarella dairies.
From manual to automated solution – a cooperative project on automating the handling of mozzarella blocks for feeding into a thermoformer and subsequent insertion into plastic boxes, followed by palletisation.
The mozzarella dairy in Rødkærsbro was looking to streamline their production line, as had been the case with two other lines. They also wanted to minimise man-hours, as the manual process involved lots of heavy lifting for the employees concerned. On the production line, 2.3 kg mozzarella blocks would be manhandled into the thermoformer and then inserted manually into plastic boxes before being palletised, all of which involved a lot of monotonous, repetitive work. Given their wish to optimise, the dairy realised that automation was an obvious option.
The start-up phase required close contact between Arla Rødkærsbro and BILA. As Production Manager Bjarke Damsgaard Jørgensen relates: “We had a good chat during the initial design phase, and BILA was always on the premises testing possibilities, making adjustments and tailoring the design to suit. The close contact created trust between both parties.”
BILA’s solution comprises full automation of the mozzarella production line with two robot stations – one new one and one with a second-hand robot.
Approximately 800 mozzarella blocks can be packed in an hour. Four mozzarella blocks are grouped together at a time, with the first robot then gripping these and positioning them in the thermo-former. After vacuum packing in the thermoformer, the mozzarella packs are conveyed to the next robot for packing into plastic boxes, which are stacked and palletised.
The investment has met the optimisation needs of the dairy, where the line is now streamlined and fully automated. Here one employee per shift, i.e. three employees every 24 hours are spared heavy, monotonous work, at the same time as reducing the production cost of each individual mozzarella block. Arla Rødkærsbro has obtained a carefully devised solution, fully tailored to the needs of the dairy. The various stations have been developed with design very much in mind, where the configuration and structure of conveyor paths, matters of hygiene and ease of cleaning have been major priorities. The dairy has been involved from start to finish. This meant that the various individuals concerned had to maintain close contact with one another:
“I’m very pleased with our cooperation with BILA. The fact that we actually sat next to one another proved to be extremely productive. The excellent outcome is very much down to the smooth-running and problem-free cooperation we enjoyed together.” - Production Manager, Bjarke Damsgaard Jørgensen