Schlotter blends chemicals for a wide variety ofindustries including automative, microelectronics, metal finishing and medical devices. The cost of blended chemicals varies but can be up to 50 euros per kilogram, so process efficiency wasa key driver in the company’s lean manufacturing programme.
Schlötter would normally fill 25kg to 1,000kgcontainers but also offer product in 1kg to 10kg bottles of the blended chemical, depending upon customer requirements. Previously the operator would place the drum or other container on to a floor scale and then fill it manually to the required level. In order never to short ship ,the operator would overfill these containers so, for example, a 25kg drum could receive 1 kg extra andsometimes as much as 2 kg.
Giveaway was even more extreme on the smaller 4litre bottles - often up to 10 percent extra. Typically, these chemicals are higher value products. Another problem was that if there was any spillage or product left in the filling tank, then the company has to pay for its proper disposal as a hazardous waste, in line with its IPC licence.
Avery Weigh-Tronix installed and programmed its Evolution E1110 indicator to control the pump and filling head from the filling tanks in response to the weight readings from the existing floor scales. This new semi automated system has reduced product giveaway and improved the company’s margins. It has also freed up operator time to concentrate on more value added activities.
Says Don Chaplin, engineering manager for SchlötterIreland: “Moving from a manual to a semi-automated system has seen a huge improvement in our packaging performance. It has improved our yield and enables us to use our workforce more constructively. All the operator has to do is press a button, there is noneed to monitor the filling process of large containers anymore.”
“Avery Weigh-Tronix installed and commissioned the system in conjunction with our engineers. In time we may upgrade the system even further and incorporate data loggers so that the system also records the filling operation and feeds back the data. This will help us further improve our processes. We now have 7 such systems operational at our facility in Newbridge, County Kildare. The capability of Avery Weigh-Tronix equipment and their engineers helped these projects come in on budget and on time in each instance.”