The pallet market is in full swing. Not only because the economy with its cautious gains is boosting international goods transport but also because the laws and regulations are constantly being revised. 'Moreover, companies want to optimise the supply chain together. And rightly so, because intelligent logistic processes can deliver significant savings', says Arjan Kuiper, Managing Director of Rotom Nederland.
Rotom is also investing heavily into logistic innovations. The most recent example is the introduction of an automated pallet production line. Arjan Kuiper: 'until recently, we worked with lines which all had a specific work area. Each line was able to either carry out or not carry out specific actions. In reality, this meant that the technical execution of a pallet such as dimensions and materials determined which machine could produce the pallet. If a machine was in use, this could lead theoretically to delays in the production process.'
With the new line, this potential capacity problem is avoided. This line has a much broader work area. Many different types of pallets can now be produced. Moreover, the rate is significantly higher, whereas the quality is unmatched. Arjan Kuiper: 'one of the reasons for this high quality is that human errors are almost completely eliminated, as there is such an extensive automation. For that matter, it is really a customised solution, which has been constructed from modular components according to our specifications. Just as if you were building a new car.'
The introduction of this 'sophisticated' production line is extremely advanced. There are few pallet products, which go so far to maximise quality. 'I am very proud of the end result,' says Arjan Kuiper. The Spanish company CAPE produced the line and their specialists have been with us for some time. Not only in order to build the line itself but also and particularly to programme the robots and the machine parts. These elements have to work with extreme precision because if a pallet part is placed just marginally in the wrong place, it will all go wrong. There's so much programming involved.'
Profit for the client
After the fine-tuning, there was an extensive test phase where smaller series were produced so that any teething problems could be traced. This is important because individual components may work well but the end result is of course dependent on the entire chain. Also the operators have been re-trained in order to operate this line to its maximum. One of the major advantages of the new production line is that the cost of ownership is greatly reduced. Arjan Kuiper: 'this is certainly good news for our clients, since we can now place our products more competitively in the market. Moreover, flexibility has increased. This is a win-win situation!'