The LDC Group is a leader in the European food industry, employing over 16,000 people at 47 production sites in France and abroad. The company’s key brands—Loué, Maitre Coq, Marie, and Le Gaulois—are sold at France’s largest supermarket chains.
As part of the LDC Group, SNV (Société Normande de Volaille), a French poultry producer, is committed to producing consistent, highquality products. At its plant in Chateau Gontier, France, SNV produces whole fresh chickens and fresh cut poultry. The throughput of the plant’s packaging area is 2,000 containers (cardboard and plastic crates) per hour.
In the plant’s packaging area, several problems of inefficiency hindered optimal throughput. Packages entered the area via one line, from which fifteen people per shift manually sorted the packages to designated pallets. This task consisted of reading each package label and carrying the package to its appropriate pallet, while often maneuvering between other workers and pallets due to space limitations. The situation was not optimal for workers, and it was prone to human errors. SNV responded to this problem with a plan to redesign the packaging area in order to improve productivity, optimize floor space usage, and improve ergonomics for personnel.
As part of its packaging area redesign and expansion project, SNV Chateau Gontier selected Intralox’s ARB™ (Activated Roller Belt™) sorter solution to automate the case sorting process. The customized ARB sorter features five single-sided motorized exits and can sort up to 3,200 products per hour.
The ARB sorter met SNV’s requirements of a solution that would ensure a fluid stream of packages while maintaining orientation, handle a large range of package weights (400g – 12 kg), and improve the operators’ work environment by reducing noise, improving safety with no external moving parts, and ensuring correct product orientation for palletizing.
The ARB sorter has directly contributed to SNV achieving its goals. The system now reliably and smoothly sorts the packages at the highest throughput rate with zero jams. This cost-effective automation has allowed SNV to maximize its labor force by redeploying six people per shift to other areas. Additionally, with reduced incidence for human error, pallets are formed accurately. And, because the ARB sorter features such a compact design, it has freed some of the floor space available.
“What I really liked during this project was having a single contact at Intralox from the initial discussions to the project design phase until installation. Intralox reacted quickly whenever questions arose,” said the project manager, Mr. Brouard.
The SNV Chateau Gontier plant manager, Mr. Le Bars, said, “If I ever have a similar project, I would definitely go for an Intralox ARB sorter solution.”
A similar ARB sorter solution has since been purchased within the LDC Group at a plant in Sablé sur Sarthe, France.