A2 Dairy Case Study

The challenge: A turnkey end-of-line packaging system to handle non-round product at high speeds, future-proofed for further packaging size changes and capacity increases.

The solution: Customised, integrated case packing, palletising, stretch wrapping, case and pallet labelling and related case and pallet conveyors; delivered on time and to specification.

Under pressure to increase production, A2 Dairy Products Australia built their first milk processing facility in New South Wales. Its initial capacity was projected to be 15 million litres of milk a year, with built-in capacity to increase to 50 million litres.

The new line was to require minimal down time and labour, and allow for fast repeatable changeovers. It had to offer maximum flexibility to accommodate packaging changes. Fibre King managed all OEM suppliers in the smooth delivery of a system that runs 24/7 and requires minimal operator intervention.

A2 milk™ is Australia's fastest growing grocery dairy brand due its clear and unique point of difference; delivering a powerful consumer benefit of digestive well-being. In the first half of the 2012 financial year, sales increased by almost 50 per cent in this Australia compared to the previous half, and profits of A2 Corporation tripled. To meet this increase in demand, the company built its first milk processing facility, located in the outer South Western suburbs of Sydney.

"There were some capacity constraints with our overall supply network and we had an opportunity to better serve our NSW customers by locating nearer to their distribution centres," says Peter Nathan, CEO of A2 Dairy Products Australia.

Constructed on approximately 2500m2, the facility includes a purpose-built food-grade factory with state-of-the-art processing technology from Tetra Pak. Initially, it is processing around 15 million litres of milk a year, with capacity to increase this to 50 million over time.

End-of-line solution

Fibre King was invited to participate in the design of a packaging line for the new facility, where bottling is carried out in-house. The line's function is to take labelled bottles from the filler, pack them into cases and palletise them. The pallets are then stretch-wrapped and labelled, and conveyed into the cool room.

The project presented a number of challenges. There were stringent client specifications. The system needed to pack non-round product at high speeds with minimal down time and labour requirements, and allow for fast, repeatable changeovers with minimum operator intervention. Additionally, it was to be flexible enough to accommodate possible future changes of packaging sizes, shapes and volumes.

After an initial briefing, Fibre King's design engineers brainstormed and returned to A2 a week later with several options for layouts, which were then refined in consultation with the client.

Fibre King's complete turnkey end-of-line system for A2 incorporates case packing, palletising, stretch wrapping, case and pallet labelling and related case and pallet conveyors.

"There are numerous advantages to being involved at the design stage," says Fibre King CEO, Earle Roberts. "The system Fibre King designed could be perfectly accommodated around walls, doors and drains, with no loss of valuable space and no compromising of equipment performance."

The installation comprises a Wulftec WCA-Smart 150 Stretch Wrapper; a Matthews FOX4400 Pallet Labeller; a Fibre King WAP25 Intermittent Motion Case Packer with motorised adjustment; CP30R Modular Case Palletiser with remote pallet dispenser; and interconnecting case and pallet conveyors.

Fibre King managed and coordinated external OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for the timely delivery of the project.

The WAP25 Case Packer can accommodate multiple case styles, including wraparound, trays and shelf-ready, thereby future-proofing the system against changing packaging trends and production requirements. It provides gentle handling of the product and fast, repeatable format changeovers in less than 20 minutes.

The CP30R Palletiser accurately and consistently stacks cases with the aid of four-side layer compression and offers pallet pattern versatility and rapid size-changing with pre-programmed  selections and minimal mechanical adjustment. The remote pallet dispenser has been designed to accommodate a future additional palletiser.
The line is fully customised and built to operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for a serviceable life of over 15 years. It is user-focused, easy to operate and requires less manual intervention than other end-of-line systems.

"We have a number of international industry visitors to our new Sydney Greenfield site, and they have been blown away by what we have created," said Simon Hennessy, A2 General Manager of International Operations. "Fibre King's products and business have been very well presented by the team and the equipment's performance reflects well on the company."

"As a business consultant, it is vital that I can trust suppliers," adds Alan Womersley of Insight to Incite, business consultant to the project. "I was very pleased with Fibre King's performance and cooperation throughout the project. There have been very few variations and Fibre King's invoicing was spot-on to the dollar."

For more information, contact Burt Beaumont on 0418 879 209.



A2 Dairy Case Study

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