Pallet labelling in the food sector
“The last two years have been about automation. It is intense, but the finishing line is gradually coming into sight.” Speaking is Tom Sabbe, process engineer at Vandemoortele Izegem. Labelling is one part of the story. For this, Vandemoortele relies on Codipack. The most recent project: labelling the pallets.
Vandemoortele Izegem is one of the largest margarine manufacturers in Europe. There are various packaging lines that compose pallets per order. These all go to two roller conveyors, each with a print and apply installation that labels the pallets.
“The NiceLabel control software is linked to our SAP system. This way, the printer can retrieve its information from the line control”, Tom begins his explanation.
“As soon as a pallet rolls to the printer, the latter gets the message: the pallet in front of you is from line so much. So the printer knows: that’s where the information belongs. And that’s where I can find it. The printer then automatically retrieves that info from the system and prints it on the label.”
… labelling pallets
“He hands the label over to a foot. There the pressure plate picks it up and sticks it to the front of the pallet. The plate goes back to pick up label number two and sticks that against the side.”
“When that second label is against it, the barcode scanner kicks into action. That information goes back to SAP to close the cycle,” Tom says. “Scan not successful? Then a message is sent immediately. That way, we can be sure that every pallet that leaves here has been correctly handled in our warehouse management system.”
Then the pallets roll to the end of the conveyor. “Now we still pick them up with a forklift truck. But that too will soon be done automatically with transport systems built into the floor.”
Open standard solutions
“For all our labelling and printing, we increasingly rely on Codipack. Because they work with open standard solutions. And because, thanks to NiceLabel, all their equipment can be controlled with one and the same interface. This makes everything a lot easier: from integration to updates and licenses. A huge added value in a production environment like ours where different brands and suppliers are involved anyway.
“NiceLabel is also very transparent. User friendly on the front-end, understandable on the back-end. Even if you’re not an IT guy like me.”
“The next steps are now to centralise the entire printing and labelling process under this software. The first steps have already been taken. Then we will have one umbrella system for all our production sites.”