General Mills gets a huge boost from Kockums


Increased productivity and reduced injuries

General Mills is the sixth largest food company in the world, producing some of the world’s leading consumer brands.

The company employs more than 28,000 people across 30 countries, with a mission “To Nourish Lives.”

In Australia, General Mills has four divisions in NSW, VIC and QLD, employing 120 people.

In three of those divisions the company uses Tawi vacuum-assisted lifting systems from Kockums Bulk Systems Pty Ltd.

This system not only helps to improve productivity, but also helps to prevent painful back injuries.

General Mills Australia has been named winner of the Australian Business Award for Recommended Employer in the Food Industry as well as being selected as a finalist by the Australian HR awards for its Employer of Choice award.

Their main product brands in Australia are Old El Paso, Latina, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley and Peck’s.

The first Tawi unit was bought from Kockums Bulk Systems Pty Ltd in 2003 and they have progressively installed more systems since then.

Effortless lifting and moving sacks is the primary purpose of these units.

The original system had a heavy jib arm that was slow to move, as it maintained swinging momentum which slowed the performance, and could lead to damage of the
lift tube as the operator used it as a brake. This has been upgraded to a current system using a purpose designed light weight aluminium track.

The result is a light-and-easy, quick moving system enjoyed by the operators, and ensuring long lift-tube life.

Productivity is greatly assisted using the highly developed vacuum assisted lifting systems, where an operator will handle 800 bags per day of 15 to 25kg mass.

General Mills Manufacturing Manager Martin Cronin says their culture thrives on passion, commitment, excellence and each other – and this was evident in their approach to selecting the right equipment for the application.

Kockums material handling specialist Vince Allon visited the sites regularly to determine operator needs, before developing the most practical, efficient solution.

Different suspension systems were discussed – whether to install a swing arm, monorail or gantry.

Vince also considered how each system may interact with other equipment in the plant and how the equipment related to cleaning requirements.

Most systems supplied are stainless steel quality.

In the evaluation process at three different General Mills locations, Vince has demonstrated the Kockums trailer unit that enables the erection of a column and jib arm to do an exact simulation of the lifting operation.

By this process, employee acceptance was developed, and the equipment performed as demonstrated and as discussed.

The vacuum-assisted lifting equipment gets a good work-out, with some operations working 24/7 in peak season.

Martin Cronin says the Tawi vacuum-assisted lifting equipment meets the company requirements of caring for their staff.

It reduces workplace hazards, ensuring staff work in a safe environment with minimal risk of injury.

Kockums Bulk Systems Pty Ltd
Ph: 03 9457 8200