Ysco is a satisfied user of Lantech’s Speedpack case erectors supplied by Gilpack. There are some twenty units to date at the factories in Langemark and Argentan.
'We sell five million liters of ice cream during the winter. This ramps up to 35 million liters during the summer, explains Ignace Gruwier, Ysco’s operations director – engineering. ‘We are capable of producing up to a maximum of 22 million liters a month. The huge increase in sales when it gets warmer, has a major impact on our operations. It compels us for instance to provide a frozen storage capacity for 100,000 pallets. Our workforce grows by 50% during the high season. It also requires a great deal of flexibility from our personnel.’
Quality ice cream
As a Milcobel dairy cooperative business unit, Ysco is right at the source for milk, working with raw materials fresh daily, which contributes to quality. Ice cream production is a continuous process. After having a number of ingredients added, the mixture is homogenised and pasteurised, cooled down and stored in tanks at a temperature of five degrees. The mixture is cooled further down to minus five degrees and aerated. Moulding or extruding and passing thorough the blast-freezing tunnel is followed by the application of toppings, if any, such as chocolate, nuts and the like. Product packaging, transit packa-ging in cases and palletising complete the process. The finished products are stored in a deep-freeze high-bay warehouse. A 20% increase in storage capacity to 120,000 pallet locations is scheduled for next year.
Standardisation has numerous benefits in terms of maintenance, interchangeability, as well as ease of use
Standardised on Lantech
Ysco has standardised since 2010 for case erection on machines from Lantech, supplied by Gilpack. This is because the existing case erectors were at the end of their service life, on the one hand, and on account of the features and quality of the Lantech machines on the other. Mr Gruwier: ‘Speed and reliability were two important criteria. We were unable to meet scheduled capacity reliably with the existing machinery. After researching the market, we opted for Lantech as the preferred supplier for case erectors.’ Ysco has four versions of the Lantech Speedpack case erector in use. The Speedpack 1, 2 and 3 are machines equipped with asynchronous motors, with ascending speeds and options. Speedpack 4 is a fully servo-driven machine with a maximum capacity of 30 cycles per minute, dependent obviously on case dimensions. A Speedpack 3 will be sufficient for most lines. Ysco also standardises on straight machines. Standardisation has numerous benefits in terms of maintenance, interchangeability, as well as ease of use.
Mr Gruwier appreciates the ergonomics of Lantech’s systems above all. Automatic adhesive filling systems, the 600 mm erection height and the exceptionally long blank magazine make work easier. Ysco uses case erectors with two-meter long flat-case magazines, sufficient for around 200 blanks. Depending on the line, cases are erected at a rate of 8, 10 up to a maximum of 15 cases per minute. A quick calculation shows that even at the highest speed, the operator only needs to take time out every quarter of an hour to fill the magazine. Mr Gruwier: ‘Long magazines mean one operator is sufficient to run three machines. This also has a calming effect at the machines.’ Lantech is mindful of making life easy for users when it comes to change case format as well.
Ysco processes up to 15 different cases per machine. Changeovers, which require a number of manual settings, are performed by the operators. The operator has a parameter sheet for each case format, which makes it clear what adjustments need to be made. Changeovers are sometimes needed several times a day but the adjustments take barely 10 to 15 minutes.
Mr Gruwier speaks highly of Lantech’s customer focus. ‘We have standardised stack light colours throughout the factory. Equipping the machines with the desired alarm and signalling lamps was no problem for Lantech. The same applies to the specifications of the Nordson adhesive dispensing equipment, the control screens, etc. Everything was done to comply with our schedule of requirements.’ Mr. Gruwier insists that a Factory Acceptance Test should always be done with Ysco cases at the Lantech factory. This enables minor adjustments to be carried out still within the deadline. He is also very satisfied with Lantech’s reliability of supply. ‘They keep strictly to their promised lead times. Completion, transport and installation proceed without problems on the agreed dates. No major unexpected problems resulting in delays have cropped up to date during the installation and commissioning of the machines. ‘We have been able to start using the machines on the scheduled dates in every case.’ Ysco has its own technical department with 60 employees who look after primary maintenance of the machines. Gilpack technicians can always be called upon for major mechanical or software modifications. Any spare parts required are delivered rapidly from the Gilpack warehouse in Kontich, Belgium.
This article was originally published in the Belgian packaging magazine 'Packaging'.