Do you want to automate, but no clue where to start? We are happy to think along with you! Together with Meinders Catering we came up with the ideal solution for automation within their production process and we were pleased to deliver a cutting line for the in-line and automatic cutting of wraps to them.
Family business Meinders Catering daily produces fresh sandwiches, salads and wraps and is known for its flexibility and high quality products. To meet the ever-changing demands of the market, Meinders' production areas are equipped with semi-automatic preparation lines. Products are (mostly) assembled manually on these multifunctional conveyor belts, enabling Meinders to switch quickly and deliver the right product. Even when market demand changes, but this did present Meinders with a challenge.
The new cutting line at Meinders Catering.
Björn Pehrson, sales manager at DERO GROEP, explains: "During our first conversation in 2021, with owner Jan Spierenburg, it became clear that further automation was necessary. Given Meinders' challenge of getting the right operators on the lines every shift, it was not always possible to produce the targeted numbers within the planned hours and this often resulted in overtime."
So automation was necessary, but where to start? Meinders' flexibility is a benefit for the end customer, but was a challenge for us. Meinders has short production runs, often with less than 100 units per run. Does the recipe change? Then ingredients must be changed and contact parts cleaned, which in many cases compromises productivity.
"Once we realized this, we brainstormed together: Which process steps are the same for each product? Which process steps currently determine the maximum capacity of the lines? And, can these process steps be automated affordably?", Björn says. "We discovered that the line operators were able to produce 900 wraps per hour. However, because all wraps produced were not cut in-line but on a separate cutting station, the final capacity was stuck at 600 wraps per hour. This quickly made it clear that we needed to focus on in-line cutting of rolled wraps."
The ultrasonic cutting blade guarantees a sharp and neat cut without damaging the wraps.
Wrap cutting line
We already had the right solution in our portfolio. The DERO GROEP cutting line can cut 900 wraps per hour, is designed entirely from a hygienic point of view and is made of stainless steel and plastic parts. The line is composed of a minimum number of parts and all contact parts can be dismantled without the use of tools, allowing the line to be prepared for the next recipe within minutes. This turned out to be the ideal solution for Meinders!
Meinders now cuts the wraps in-line and automatically. The operator places the wraps on two full-plastic conveyor belts with carriers, and these push the wraps through an ultrasonic cutting blade. This blade cuts the wraps at a 45° angle, after which the halves are easily placed into cups by the operators. To provide a constant supply of cups, two large holders for cups have been placed on the output side of the line.
Meinders has been working with the cutting line for several months now and already cannot really do without it. In addition to saving hard-to-find staff and increasing production capacity, production manager Bradley Spierenburg says that the cutting line has brought peace to the production process, and this benefits the company's results. We look forward to the next challenges at Meinders!
Click here for more information about Meinders Catering.
Wondering what DERO GROEP can do for your production process? Contact us and perhaps you will also have an innovative and reliable solution soon.
// M. Visser - Visser Kaashandel //
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