Briefing: Commitment to plant standards

Northumberland Dairy in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada, recently expanded their modern processing facility, making room for additional processing capacity. Included in the extension is a new automated Empty Case Handling System from Westfalia’s Deam Systems division, involving depalletizing, destacking and washing & transporting cases.

Founded in 1942, Northumberland Dairy has shown their commitment to consistently achieve and exceed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s plant standards. The new Empty Case Handling System from Westfalia Deam Systems is another reflection of this commitment to excellence.

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Case Study: Commitment to plant standards

Challenge: Meeting Empty Cases 'Need for Speed'

Operating with 16 quart plastic dairy cases on 40” x 40” pallets, difficulties were arising from Northumberland’s manual depalletizing operations where the Top-Out Destacking system was too slow to accommodate their rising demand, and the case washing system was old and inefficient. 

Solution: Automatic Empty Case Handling System

Westfalia Deam’s Empty Case Handling solution includes a Case Stack Depalletizer, Stack Conveyors with 3 to 1 merging, a Bottom-Out Destacker, and wheel drives transferring cases overhead to a new Case Washer.  Clean cases are then color sorted with a Westfalia Case Reject system. Accepted cases are transported to production on new cable conveyor system supplied by Westfalia. 

Constructed of stainless steel, the entire system is suitable for wash down, as is typical in dairy or beverage production.  From the point of entry where a forklift driver places a full pallet of 7-high case stacks onto the Depalletizer, the system is fully automated. Using “clamp and lift” technology, at a rate of 2 to 3 pallets per minute, the Depalletizer removes stacks from the pallet onto three stack conveyors which merge into one conveyor leading into the Destacking machine. The Depalletizer features a full color HMI with touch screen and a 330 degree swivel mount providing operators easy access to the system controls. Safety of the staff is paramount, and the new Depalletizing system has full safety guarding with light curtain protection. The Bottom-Out Destacker operates at rates up to 90 cases per minute and discharges cases onto a wheel drive that transfers them via a vertical up-chute to the new case washer located on an overhead mezzanine. After running through the new steam cleaning washer, cases are conveyed on cable conveyor through a color sensing case sorting unit, where rejected cases are pushed off, and accepted cases released to production.

The fully automated Empty Case Handling System has enabled Northumberland to reduce labor costs associated with receiving and handling empty cases, achieve higher operating speeds, and improve washing efficiency. Thanks to Westfalia’s modular design, the construction and installation of the system was easier and faster.

System Features:

  • Technology:

    • Empty Case Depalletizer - full pallet clamp & lift
    • Case Stack Conveyor & Case Conveyors
    • Empty Case Destacker - 60 cases/minute
    • Empty Case Push & Up-Chute to Case Washer
    • Case Reject Pusher & Conveyor
  • Functionality:

    • Fully automated Empty Case Handling System
    • All stainless steel construction
    • Color HMI touch screens
    • Allen Bradley PLC controls
  • Size:

    • 243’ L × 58’ W × 67’ H

System Benefits:

  • Customized automated empty case system for 2-story space
  • Faster operating speeds achieved to meet production requirements:
    • Depalletizing two pallets per minute
    • Destacking 90 cases per minute
  • Reduced operating costs associated with more efficient washer
  • Reduction in labor costs associated with receiving empty cases
  • Modular design for faster, simpler installation
  • All stainless steel construction, ideal for wash-down areas
“We chose Westfalia based on performance of equipment previously purchased.” Randy Guimond, Northumberland Plant Director

Our Mission: To deliver unparalleled warehousing solutions by earning the trust of our customers, understanding their business needs and honoring the commitments we make.