The Carlsberg brewing plant in Falkenberg, Sweden, belongs to Carlsberg Sverige AB, the Swedish branch of the Carlsberg Group. The Carlsberg Group is the top brewer in northern Europe and sells beer in more than 150 countries.
The plant's beer can line is responsible for processing 72,000 cans per hour, outputting pallets of 24-can packs at a rate of 60 trays per minute. In order to keep up with demand, the busy line runs 24/7 for ten months out of the year.
Although frequent stops of the line for format changeovers and palletizer maintenance are typical in this environment, they often made it difficult to meet target throughput rates, as the entire line fed one palletizer. Following a production analysis of the line, the plant determined that these frequent small stops, when added together, significantly impacted line efficiency—enough to justify redesigning the can line to maximize its throughput potential.
In the redesign, the plant wanted to incorporate a second palletizer (which was already available in the plant) in the line and a new switching solution that could reliably and consistently divert the line flow to the second palletizer. By alternating product flow to two palletizers, the plant could safeguard against the effects of both routine stops and potential larger breakdowns.
Ann-Charlotte Dahlqvist, the project manager for the line upgrade, contacted Intralox to discuss a plan for integrating the second palletizer into the line. Intralox recommended installing its 1:2 S400 ARB Switch. Employing Intralox’s innovative Activated Roller Belt™ technology, this equipment could divert trains of nine trays at a time, dividing the line’s output to each of the two palletizers. The S400 ARB Switch offered significant benefits over alternative switching technologies, promising more reliable operation, lower maintenance, and less noise; it could also easily fit into the existing line layout.
The Carlsberg company is open to investing in new technology innovations in its plants, provided that they deliver justifiable paybacks. When Intralox introduced its ARB switching solution, Carlsberg immediately realized that this “smart and magic” ARB technology could effect significant operational improvements in the plant. They recognized that ARB is a technology that is easy to function, operate, maintain, and repair, thanks to its mechanical simplicity and modular design.
By installing the S400 ARB Switch, the plant can now run its can line at full efficiency with two palletizers in operation. There are no more stops in the palletizing area to hinder throughput rates. If one palletizer becomes disabled or requires maintenance, products are smoothly routed to the second one. The S400 ARB Switch has proven to deliver the benefits it promised: it has required zero maintenance in the six months since installation and operates quietly compared to alternative technologies.
The Falkenberg plant reports that it is extremely satisfied with the new Intralox equipment: “The Intralox ARB Switch is a convenient and smart method to move products in different directions. We can now use both palletizers for all kinds of products… The flexibility in this part of the line is high, and the susceptibility is low,” said Ann-Charlotte Dahlqvist.