A long-time consumer products client turned to SSOE to replicate a previous automatization project to provide design for a new conveying system into a robotic program. Before Covid, the client struggled to find reliable resources to offload empty laundry detergent bottles. Over time, staffing became more challenging as the client was forced to staff the line with management personnel to meet order requirements. This situation was similar to what had occurred at another plant where SSOE was hired to design an automated system for the depalletization of reshippers from the ATU.
The original process included truck delivery empty bottle pallets, which were then manually unpacked by human operators. Operators offloaded layers of empty bottle cases onto a conveyor where the cases were then moved to the filling lines.
Once Covid hit, the client lost nearly all ability to offload the empty bottles. As a solution, SSOE provided the design to install a robot to load the layers of empty bottle cases onto a conveyor. From there, another robot would remove the tie sheet layer and place those into a bin, repeating the process layer after layer.
SSOE provided mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering to tie in the new conveying system. We designed the overhead conveyor supports, a new spiral conveyor, and foundation modifications. Although we were duplicating a similar project, SSOE faced a challenge in working at a different location. During the first project, our team was on-site within minutes to confirm measurements and talk to operators. For this project, we relied on information gathered from fewer site visits and scans to accurately predict measurements. After installing the robots, our client could reduce its workforce from eight operators to five. Since we copied some of the design from the first project, and we had prior knowledge of the equipment and vendors, SSOE was able to provide the client with a reduced estimate for the project’s design saving them about 20%.
SSOE was able to provide the client with a reduced design estimate saving $242,400.