One of the UK's largest wood pellet producers Balcas Timber Ltd has completed the installation of a fully automatic packing line for its 55 000 tonnes per annum pellet plant in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The line was supplied and installed by the Danish packaging solutions company Fisker Skanderborg A/S (Fisker).
Balcas has previously purchased a bagging machine from Fisker, and the two companies have since been in regular contact about the further development of the packing line. In 2018, Balcas decided to automate its wood pellet packing machine in order to reduce the amount of manual work and improve productivity.
Balcas Pellet Plant Manager Mark Abraham contacted Fisker, who subsequently supplied and installed a robot palletiser, an automatic stretch film wrapper as well as conveyor belts for accumulation and other ancillaries. The end result was that Balcas has acquired exactly the type of line needed, tailored to specific requirements.
Following the global bagged pellet shortage that occurred during the winter of 2017/2018 we felt it necessary to increase capacity so now our bagging factory can operate 24/7. This investment will help ensure we can respond to peaks in demand and get our homegrown bagged pellets delivered to customers when they require them, explained Mark Abraham.
“Robbie” as the robot has been called by Balcas staff “is very meticulous” and makes sure that the pallets are stacked neater than before and as part of the automated bagging process the 10 kg bags are gently rolled to make them flatter to aid the pallet building.
This flattening of the bags means that the finished pallet will look smaller than previously. A typical pallet is now 200 mm shorter than the previous pallet stacked manually, said Mark Abraham.
Fisker has extensive experience with wood pellet packing machines, and Sales Manager Peter M. Henningsen is pleased to see that Balcas chose to collaborate with Fisker on the further development of the packing line.
We are always pleased to see our customers returning to us. It is a huge advantage for the customer that we know their existing equipment while at the same time having the experience to recommend the right equipment when a packing line needs to be upgraded, said Henningsen.
Balcas is also very positive about the implementation of their new packing line.
I am completely satisfied with the entire planning and assembly of our now fully automatic packing line. There were only minor bumps along the way, which is to be expected with a project like this, and Fisker deserves a 10 out of 10 for the job, ended Mark Abraham.