Custom Conveyor System Project with Automated Filling & Labeling System
Industry: Custom Blended Paint and Coatings
Challenge: As the paint supplier’s volume increases, and with reduction of workers due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s getting harder and more expensive to meet demand.
Solution: Custom conveyor upgrade with automated filling solution for 200% increase in productivity.
Result: Future-Proofed Paint Industry with Custom Automation
Equipment: Hytrol E24EZ Conveyor, AEC Scale Base and Lifting Blades, Corob Filling, Labeling and Capping System
Challenge: Painting a New Picture of the Future
Corob is a world leader in automated tinting, dispensing, and blending solutions for the paint coating industry for both in-plant processes as well as retail point-of-sales equipment.
But paint is an old industry where pails and buckets used to be filled from large tanks using a hand-turned valve, and then labeled and sealed by hand.
In order to better serve the evolving needs of this industry, Corob went in search of someone who could help design, engineer and build a brand-new, complete filling solution.
“It’s a new application,” says Jack Walsh, President and Managing Director at Corob North America.
“As the customer’s volume is increasing, right now it’s challenging for paint companies to keep full-time workers – and it’s getting more expensive. So you need to automate the filling process, and that’s where we came to AEC.”
Having worked with Advanced Equipment Company in the past, Walsh knew he could count on AEC to get the job done right.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of suppliers in my previous role, and so the service and relationships are huge deals in my opinion,” says Walsh.
“When you’re figuring things out on the fly, you need somebody that can help with suggestions, drawings, and best practices. AEC does that.”
Accepting the challenge, AEC began working with Corob to develop a solution that would usher in a new, automated future for the paint and coatings industry.
Solution: Meeting Increased Demand with Automation 4.0
To design and create a new automation system, we first have to understand the islands of automation – or the individual pieces required to complete the process.
Corob had filling, labeling, capping and sealing systems, as well as the Novaflow front-end system and software, that allows for managing batches, matching color and connecting to a customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Corab systems combined with our Hytrol conveyor and scale system, completed what is known as an “Industry 4.0” process. Islands of automation are connected physically along with data connection and information flow.
– Precise Filling –
As an empty pail or gallon is loaded onto the conveyor, it moves down the line to our custom-designed scale application. The conveyor lowers, allowing the empty container to rest on the scale fingers reaching up through the rollers.
Corob’s automated dispensing unit, using continuous feedback from the scale, then fills the container to the desired weight. The filling process slows towards the end so that the container is always within 1% of the desired weight.
– Accurate Labeling –
Once full, the container is raised back up via the Hytrol conveyor then moved on through an automated label system. The label wraps around the container as it passes by, with no stop in the conveyor’s motion.
– Auto Lid Capping –
Next comes Corob’s automated Pick-and-Place Lid System – the final process where the lid is placed, pressed and snapped shut so the container can be shipped safely. For efficiency, the system can easily be refilled from the side without halting production.
– Streamlined Process –
The final product, a container that has been filled, weighed, labeled and sealed, then rolls to the end of the line where it can be palletized and shipped.
“The good news is, we can now standardize the equipment,” says Charlie Williamson, conveyor specialist at Advanced Equipment Company.
“Though no two systems are exactly the same, the same engineering and design can be applied. The process has been streamlined to make it easy for Corob to go to their customers and adapt it to whatever system they’re currently using.”
Maximized Efficiency, Quality, Accuracy, and Safety
By customizing our Hytrol conveyor to integrate seamlessly with Corob’s paint filling, labeling and capping system, customers can now go from empty pails to ready-to-ship product. Connection to ERP systems for easy monitoring, tracking and logging make future efficiency adjustments possible.
“Working with AEC was seamless,” says Walsh.
“We came out with a nice finished product and our client is extremely excited – and that is not an exaggeration.”
“It is so refreshing to work with Jack and his team,” says Williamson.
“We bump up against a problem and we just say ‘how do we best take care of it together’ and you can really solve problems when everybody has that kind of attitude. It’s been fun for me to work on projects with the people at Corob.”
Result: Future-Proofing the Paint Industry
Thanks to Corob and AEC, the paint industry has been future-proofed with an automated solution that brings a wide number of new benefits.
“Benefit number one is increased productivity,” says Walsh. “Now it takes just 1 to 1.5 people running the system with higher throughput rates, where multiple people were once needed operating at a slower pace.”
“Multiple benefits are gained with quality and accuracy. The scale ensures precise measurements – guaranteeing that whatever the customer bought, they’re getting. And with automated, virtually fault-free labeling on the products, Hazmat shipping is no longer a hassle.”
“Lastly, we’re eliminating ergonomic issues. Placing a lid on a pail isn’t hard, but closing it requires somebody to hammer it. This action, done repetitively and over time, can cause injury. It also leaves room for error with improper sealing. Now that the hammering is automated, we eliminate injury and ensure the lid is 100% secured.”
“I’m very proud of everybody,” says Walsh. “A lot of people were involved, and the solution works great.”
“Plus, U.S. customers really like dealing with U.S. suppliers and U.S. products. Bringing AEC and Hytrol to the table with Corob is really giving our customer what they want.”