The Zuivelhoeve dairy plant in Twekkelo, The Netherlands, produces high-quality, natural yogurt products under the Twekklo Farmhouse Yogurt brand. The products are sold throughout Europe in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, and The Netherlands.
A 90-degree transfer of carton trays containing six containers of yogurt each was causing operational problems that hindered optimal productivity. The trays were transferred 90 degrees via a pusher arm, which often pushed products off of the conveyor line and onto the floor. This daily problem caused not only 10-15 minutes of maintenance to correct each time it occurred (4-5 times a day), but it wasted an average of 100 kilos of product per 8-hour shift.
The plant replaced the pusher arm with a piece of equipment from Intralox’s line of Activated Roller Belt™ (ARB) technologies – the 90-Degree Passive Transfer Off. The equipment provides the capability to change product orientation at 90-degree transfers, precisely orient products with no skewing, and accurately align products at the outfeed.
The ARB solution has completely eliminated product waste in this application. The plant now benefits from an extra hour and a quarter of production time per 8-hour shift. Bert Oudehilbert, the Head of the Technical Department, estimates that total efficiency has improved from 45% to 66% – a benefit achieved through the combined savings in manual labor, product waste, and production downtime.
The new technology has made the line so efficient that it will soon be doing the work of two lines. Because the plant is able to increase the line’s uptime from sixteen to forty hours per week, it will soon shut down an older line. The plant plans to install more ARB solutions in the future due to these favorable results.