Naarmann, a private dairy located in Neuenkirchen, Germany, produces 540 tons (490,000 kg) of milk/cream every day. This equates to more than 140,000 tons (127,005,864 kg) each year. The dairy is open six days a week and operates on a three-shift rotation. Products are packed on eight filling lines and transported to nine palletizers. Various product lines carry different packaging and container formats, including cream, condensed milk, sauces, desserts/ice cream, and yogurt.
Following an initial acquisition in 2001, the dairy purchased a second bag-in-box filling machine in 2008. This second machine enabled the dairy to produce cream products for the commercial sector in more cost-effective sizes. Bag-in-box packages are currently available in 5-L and 10-L sizes. These new container formats, combined with the capacity utilization of the palletizers, required the dairy to use a switch to help lane products. The switch system provided the flexibility required to transport products to various palletizers (depending on capacity). The switch also enabled packages without a barcode—or with an illegible barcode—to be discharged for post-processing.
Naarmann had previously gained operating experience with two different switch solutions: pusher arms and roller transfer systems. The pusher arm system required a very costly safety enclosure, while the roller transfer system proved to be very high maintenance and also had performance limitations. The entire mechanism had to be replaced and fitted with new pneumatic cylinders, valves, rollers, etc., every four months. Another key issue was space restrictions. As the packaging and delivery division grew, there was no room to house the additional conveyance technology and switch.
Naarmann chose the Intralox® ARB Switch S400 to enhance its system. Intralox’s ARB Switch S400 provides a flexible, low-maintenance, safe, and reliable alternative to traditional slat switches, pusher arms, and sliding shoe sorters. Employing patented ARB technology, Intralox switches precisely divert and lane products from single or multiple infeed lines to multiple outfeed lines, accommodating both center and side infeeds. Items can be switched to either the left or the right, and feed positions can vary as needed.
The first ARB Switch S400 was installed in 2009. A 1:3 switch, it was installed from overhead at a height of 8.2 ft (2.5 m) to account for a lack of floor space. It has performed admirably, requiring only a single belt replacement (due to wear) during that time. Naarmann was so enthusiastic about the technology, the plant added two ARB Switch S400 units approximately four years later. Each of these equipment pieces is a 1:2 switch, and both have performed at a high level.
Intralox and Naarmann have maintained a strong relationship based on innovation and trust. Overall, Naarmann is very pleased with the decision to use ARB technology. Lars Köster, Naarman Technical Engineer, says: “We have had no problems whatsoever with this technology. We chose to install two additional ARB Switches—after an initial installation four years prior—because of how pleased we were with its performance and how it improved our operations.”