Posted on 20 April 2012.
32,000 blinis! That’s how many of those delicious little pancakes are packed every hour by the Marel IPL Robot system at the Blini factory which is located just outside the historic city of Caen, Normandy, France.
With demand growing steadily at around 3% p.a., the successful Blini company – a member of the Labeyrie Fine Foods co-operative – recognised some time ago that increased automation was essential for continuing sales growth and market share.
Julien Heillaut is the Industrial manager responsible for the plant and its performance and, having known Marel from the fish industry, was confident that the IPL Robot he’d seen at the 2010 CFIA exhibition would provide the much needed boost to the increased production volumes and packing efficiencies he was seeking.
Julien’s objective was to load cocktail sized blinis, each weighing 9g, into a thermoformer with each pack containing 12, 16 or 20 pieces, arranged as 4 stacks in each pack.
After cooking and cooling, the blinis are conveyed to the 3 head IPL Robot. The position of each one is detected by the vision system at the infeed, then each robot head individually picks 4 blinis and loads them into the thermoformer. When each pack contains the required number of blinis, the thermoformer is automatically given the signal to index.
Caption: Marel IPL Robot system at the Blini factory.
Julien says, “the IPL Robot was delivered on time and was in production by day two of the installation.” The IPL has met his expectations, packing 32,000blinis/ hour and saving 5 operators per shift. In peak periods this represents a saving of 15 operators/day. The company employs 135 people which increases to 300 during peak periods such as Christmas.
This outstanding performance contributes in no small part to the success of the parent Labeyrie organisation whose 11 factories based in France, Italy and the UK manufacture fine foods including caviar, foie gras, salmon, shrimp, cod, herring, frozen cakes and, of course, our little friends, the blinis.
Payback for the line will, to quote Julien, ‘be as budgeted’ and it should come as no surprise to learn that Marel now has a developing relationship with the company with potential for further applications.
Marel is the leading global provider of advanced standalone equipment, integrated processing systems and software solutions to the fish, meat and poultry industries.
With a heritage stretching back over eight decades to the early 1930s, our brands – Marel, Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing – are among the most respected in the industry, and together we offer the convenience of a single source to meet our customers’ every need.
With offices and subsidiaries in over 30 countries on six continents, manufacturing facilities in 17 locations worldwide, a global network of over 100 agents and distributors, and an annual investment of 5-7% of income in research and development – a figure far above the industry average – Marel works side-by-side with its customers to continually challenge, extend and re-define the boundaries of food processing performance.
From the outset, Marel has aimed to enable processors to maximise product yields, quality and throughput, while cutting processing time significantly, and has achieved this by bringing increased automation and efficiency to global food processing through the application of cutting-edge electronic, engineering and software technology.
Marel is headquartered in Iceland, and has a total workforce of some 3,500 employees worldwide. Drawn from a wide range of professions and disciplines, the company’s employees include over 400 highly qualified scientists and technicians in the fields of engineering and technology. Marel currently holds a portfolio of some 200 granted patents, a figure that continues to grow each year.
For more information about Marel’s IPL Robot system, please contact:
Tony Ambrose or Terry Starkey
Norfolk NR7 9BB
Tel: 01603 700755, Fax: 01603 700844