Flexible Handling of Sacks and Cardboard Boxes.

Vacuum handling systems from Millsom Materials Handling reduce and improve production processes. Vacuum handling systems from Schmalz (represented by Millsom Materials Handling in Australia & New Zealand) reduce and improve production processes by allowing ergonomic and efficient handling of goods.

The perfect example is a manufacturing company demonstrates impressively how the widespread use of flexible vacuum tube lifting systems in the commissioning department makes work more cost effective and, at the same time, improves the motivation and performance of the employees.

The company manufactures fibre fillers and chopped fibres. The firm currently employs 92 people and produces and sells various fibre products which are used in many different industries. Depending on the quantities ordered, the fibre materials are delivered either in sacks or in cardboard boxes, as specified by the customers. The sacks generally weigh about 30kg, the cardboard boxes vary between 5kg and 40kg. From the very start, attention was paid to the health and motivation of their employees and they purchased several vacuum tube lifters with which the plastic sacks and cardboard boxes could be lifted and moved. For many years, the company was very satisfied with these vacuum tube lifters as aids to the material flow.

Complete material-flow solutions from the modular range of standard components

However, new requirements in a new hall were greater than for the old systems. The company wished to provide a seamless connection between the production and commissioning areas with the aid of a crane equipped with two different vacuum tube lifters with different gripper systems.

A crane system was designed which extended over the entire hall, from the individual machines to the commissioning area. The two vacuum tube lifters can be moved from one end of the hall to the other, and from side to side, covering an area of 27 x 4.5 metres, which means they can be used very flexibly on all machines.

The one handling system consists of a vacuum tube lifter JumboSprint with an integrated bow-type operator handle to permit precise gripping and safe movement of the heavy and unwieldy loads. This device is equipped with a vacuum gripper designed specifically for the handling of sacks. The second handling system comprises a vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo with a long movable bow handle matched to the application and a multiple gripper Compact for handling of cardboard boxes. The raw materials are delivered as bulk goods and are then milled and the resulting chopped fibres are deposited in sacks held in metal frames. When the sacks have been filled and sealed, they are first placed on the floor, from where they are lifted with the vacuum tube lifter and placed in large shipping crates. For this purpose, the vacuum tube lifter has a longer tube cylinder so that it can reach to the bottom of the crates to permit easier positioning of the sacks.

Ergonomics and motivation for greater productivity and increased safety.

In order to meet the varying requirements of their customers, the company also has a second production line which packs the fibres in cardboard boxes. Customers who purchase large quantities in sacks normally empty these upon receipt and all of the fibre material enters the production process. Customers who need only smaller quantities prefer the cardboard boxes. In this second production line, therefore, the milled fibres fall into cardboard boxes of various sizes which are then sealed with adhesive tape and placed on one side, ready for removal. The vacuum tube lifter with the multiple gripper Compact is used to lift the boxes and to place them on the waiting pallets. The vacuum tube lifter is equipped with a long and movable operator handle to permit stacking of the boxes to any desired height on the pallets. The multiple vacuum gripper Compact is designed to permit flexible and, above all, safe gripping of boxes of various sizes, some of which may be soft, made of various types of cardboard.

At each milling station, the employees move over 50 sacks or boxes with a total weight of about 1500kg per day. The fact that they do this easily, safely and, above all, with no risk to their health is primarily due to the combined material-flow and vacuum handling solution supplied.