Joloda have recently installed a new fully automatic loading system for food giant Pepsico to move 42 pallets of potato crisps, into a 25.25m road train in 1 load. Where this loading process was completed by forklift truck, the automatic loading process now creates a time saving of 30 minutes per vehicle!
In the world of fast-moving consumer goods, speed is the most important factor. This drives the continued pursuit of ever-increasing business process automation. In the area of logistics, Joloda helps customers, including those in the food and drink industry, achieve the full potential of the just-in-time philosophy. Sales director Wouter Satijn, explains: ‘We develop complete loading and unloading systems for our customers. We not only have the knowledge to bring together and install the technology, we also have our own production facilities in Liverpool and North Wales.’
One of the most prestige projects Joloda delivered is the fully automated loading and unloading system at PepsiCo in Broek op Langedijk (NL).
The truck consists of an 8.2 metre long trailer in front and a 13.3 metre long trailer at the rear. The bi-folding doors at the back of the front trailer are swung open, as are the doors at the front and back ends of the long trailer. The front trailer is then backed up tight against the rear trailer. This results in a cargo tunnel 21.5 metres long, capable of holding 42 pallets. ‘Now all the driver has to do is attach a cable to his truck to establish a connection with the control system,’ explains Mr Satijn. ‘Then he can take a coffee break, because our automatic loading system does the rest.’
Satijn explains how it works: ‘On the roller conveyor we group the pallets in three sections of 16, 10 and then another 16 pallets. As soon as the overhead door on the dock opens, a platform with two SICK laser scanners is lowered from above. We use these scanners to make sure the truck is not positioned at too much of an angle and to measure the depth of the trailer. This distance measurement is necessary because the dock is not only used for road trains but also for ordinary 13.6 metre trailers. The reason for this is that Kuehne + Nagel want to be able to decide up to the last moment whether, by chance, they have an empty trailer in the neighbourhood that can pick up a load from Broek op Langedijk.’
Mr Satijn continues: ‘If the SICK laser scanners measure a distance of 13.3 metres, then 16 plus 10 pallets can be slid into the trailer. At 21.5 metres, all 42 pallets can be placed in the cargo tunnel of the road train.’
Mr Satijn explains that the logistic case at PepsiCo is exceptional in terms of more than just technology: ‘Just looking at the ROI you can see that the investment pays for itself in less than 18 months! And keep in mind: the system will still be operational in twenty years.’ Another benefit Mr Satijn points out is the achieved space savings: ‘There is no way around it: forklifts simply require a lot of space. Our system is significantly more compact. The customer can use the remaining space for other purposes. And don’t forget the safety aspect: our fully automatic system significantly improves occupational health and safety. After all, there are no longer any hands or forklifts involved in the logistic process.’
The green aspect of the system also played a role in the choice for the Joloda system, stresses Mr Satijn: ‘Many automatic loading and unloading systems make use of chains. That makes the trailers even heavier. Our solution, utilizing a pneumatic riser-plate system, keeps the trailers light. An additional advantage of the trailers is that they are also easily accessible for forklifts. All you have to do is ensure the riser-plates are raised, and the forklifts can drive in and out of the trailer as if it had a flat floor. This means the trailers are suitable for multi-purpose use, which is important to the carrier.’