Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and the motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 97 countries around the world and manufactures in over 190 factories. Its approximately 17,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 5.75 billion in 2015.
In the UK, Sika has manufacturing sites in Welwyn Garden City, Preston, and Leeds. Its 700 employees provide market-leading solutions for a range of applications in flooring, concrete, waterproofing, roofing, refurbishment, sealing & bonding, and industry and contribute towards a turnover of £220 million.
Sika UK contacted the RM Groups’ Sales team with a requirement to automate their bucket palletising and stretch wrapping process.
Sika business is aligned in several target markets including concreting, waterproofing, roofing, sealing and bonding. As a Company renowned for developing quality solutions to make future-orientated construction possible, this was a challenge that RMGroup were keen to take on. The product brief was to supply, install and commission an automatic palletising and pallet wrapping system, capable of handling a number of variations of product, pallet size and stack pattern. There was also a very strict criteria laid down for pallet wrap integrity.
The RM Group resulting solution includes the following components:
•Roller conveyor, interfacing with upstream system to receive buckets, accumulating and accurately marshalling for robot pick-up
•ABB Robot palletiser with multi-function head for handling lidded buckets, empty pallets and base card
•Adjustable pallet jig for floor stacking of empty pallets and a base card magazine
•Aetna Group Automatic pallet stretch wrapper
•Conveyor system to transport loaded pallets through the wrapper and on, with accumulation, to fork lift truck offload position
•Full safety guarding system including mesh guards, light guards and access gates
•Control panels with operator interface
As with every project challenges are faced and met. The buckets needed to be handled and stacked very precisely on the pallet. The robot needed operate in a restrictive area to very tight tolerances, to ensure the stability of the completed stack.
The system was fully pre-assembled at the RM Group factory for set up and testing of all formats, drastically reducing onsite commissioning time. A detailed customer factory acceptance test was also carried out prior to despatch.
In addition to RM Group factory testing, due to the criticality of the pallet wrap integrity, a number of tests were also carried out at the Aetna Group test lab in Italy, to identify the optimum pallet wrap machine specification and wrap parameters, specific to the Sika pallets. As a result, Sika have been able to remove “strap” from the process, relying solely on the stretch wrap for security.
Another really successful project reducing manual handling and improving reliability.