Filling big bags can be a labour intensive activity that can involve many manual actions. For example, the empty big bag needs to be picked up, attached to the filling machine and removed from the machine by an operator. One of our customers, a leading global material solutions company in the field of natural raw materials, was therefore looking for a solution to make this process more efficient and increase capacity by means of automation.
To explore possibilities for automatic filling, the customer joined forces with LC Packaging and Emde Industrie-Technik GmbH (their machinery partner). The goal of the project was clear: to realise a filling process that increases process efficiency and adds capacity, but without any human intervention. To achieve such a fully automated handling process for big bags, we had to make sure that the customer’s big bags could be handled by Emde’s automatic filling installation.
Tests with the automated filling solution showed that the position of the big bag’s loops are crucial for correct pickup by the filling machine. The filling machine takes a picture of the top of the bag with an electronic eye to determine the position of the loops. To make detection easier, an optical black stripe has been put on the loop. It soon became clear that before pickup, the position of the loops must be accurate. In conjunction with our big bags production partner, we tackled this by making sure that each loop is attached to the top deck of the bag with double adhesive tape. To limit movements of the big bags during transport as much as possible, the big bags are folded and palletised in a special way before they leave the factory.
Another innovation is the bag’s conical filling spout, folded inside the body of the bag. When the straight filling pipe enters the bag, the conical filling spout is easily pulled out of the bag.
Altogether, this project shows the power of partnerships to achieve innovative solutions. By teaming up with the right partners, we have been able to deliver tangible results to the customer in terms of process efficiency and output. We are proud to have been a part of this!