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Pallet labelling for coffee manufacturer

Pallet labelling in a confined space

Are you reading this case while enjoying a cup of coffee? Then there is a good chance it is one of Douwe Egberts. This company called in Codipack for its pallet labelling. An interview – including a cup of comfort – with technical project manager Jos Vanvelthoven.

Palletetikettering bij Douwe Egberts

Almost all the coffee that Douwe Egberts distributes in Western Europe leaves from Utrecht. At that production site, they make and package their vacuum coffee and Senseo coffee pads. Jos Vanvelthoven has seen the site evolve enormously in recent years. “Firstly, through automation. When I started 18 years ago, there were more forklifts driving around. At that time, Senseo did not yet exist and we made a lot more vacuum coffee. Now that has been somewhat replaced by Senseo. But that product takes up a lot more space. That in turn means more pallets. We now have two parallel lines that can both handle full production.”
Our old machines were satisfactory, but we were not satisfied with the service.

Just before the pallets are checked and sent to the warehouse, they are wrapped in foil. The last step is to apply a label on three sides. That is where Codipack comes in. A labelling machine first applies a label to two sides at once. Then one of the two arms applies an extra label on a third side. This process takes no more than a few seconds.

“A few years ago we were looking for a replacement for our pallet labeller. The machine itself was satisfactory, but we were not satisfied with the maintenance provided by the supplier. When there were problems, it took too long for a solution to be found.”

“So we were looking for more than just a new machine. We wanted a partner who could assist us with maintenance and who could also be reached quickly. Short lines are important, because if there is a problem we want it solved immediately. Via the integrator of our production line, we ended up at Codipack.” The challenge was to efficiently replace and integrate the new system.

Palletetikettering bij Douwe Egberts

After all, production had to continue on the other line. “We therefore started by implementing everything on one line. We did extensive checks on that one line and adjusted everything down to the last detail. On the second line we worked in the old way, until everything was 100 per cent perfect on the first line.”

The Douwe Egberts branch in Utrecht is not a new building, but an existing one from 1930. So there was no carte blanche in terms of use of space. “This made the preparation even more important. The volume of the machines was a crucial factor. Ten centimetres too big, for example, would have been problematic.”
Meanwhile, the installation has been in use for two years. Jos Vanvelthoven is a satisfied man. “The systems work without any failures. The operators can work well with them and service is provided quickly. That indicates that the switchover went well.”

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