Ibstock South Holmwood Factory - UK
Ibstock, the UK’s largest brick manufacturer assigned last year to Sabo the modernization of the packaging line at South Holmwood Factory.
The scope of the project was the replacement of the old existing equipment with a new robotic packaging line. Before the modernization, the plant was using an outdated robotic system that was influencing negatively the quality of the final product. Moreover, the often stops of the old equipment was impeding the capacity of the line and the whole plant.
The new system was designed to be simple and reliable ensuring minimum stress on the final product and the creation of a robust final pack of bricks.
In this new packaging line, one new robot is taking the layers of bricks from the two existing programming benches and builds the final pack on a new roller conveyor. An additional spacing mechanism was added as an extension of the existing programming and sorting bench to replace the old slow stand-alone mechanism. The spacing mechanism is creating the third layer with the suitable lifting openings of the pack.
After the pack is formed it is transported on the roller conveyor to be strapped at first and consequently to be hooded by a stretch-hooding machine. While strapped the formed pack is supported at the sides so that to ensure the effectiveness of the strapping. The vertical strapping machine is working in combination with a heavy duty pusher that ensures the accurate step-by-step movement of the pack at the 4 strap positions. During strapping it is placed plastic angle protection at four of the edges of the final pack. The pack is then passed on the hooding station, lifted and hooded. Lifting is ensuring the hooding all around the 8 vertices up and down.
At the end, the final packs are passed to a chain conveyor for picking up by the forklift.
Special attention was given in the designing of the safety of the line. All fences and access platforms were detailed designed and studied to ensure the safe working environment for the operators as well as the efficient access to the machines. An analytical risk assessment study has been carried out to guide the selection of the equipment and the design.
In terms of implementation time the project was quite challenging since all the works including disassembly of existing equipment, installation and final commissioning of new machines were fully completed in a period of less than 3 weeks.
The project was delivered according to the planned timetable and met all the requirements for quality, safety and production standards.