From Concept to Creation – Pro Ali Design
When an iconic Australian food company needed a new method of reliable, continuous supply of snack biscuits to its high-speed weighers and feeders for packaging, it sought the assistance of two Australian manufacturing companies, who are both leaders in their fields.
Pro Ali Design in Sydney collaborated with Victoria based Kiel Industries on the project to design and build a new production line for the snack biscuit manufacturer. A project that illustrates the expertise and skill of the two companies.
Established in 1986 by the Fink family, Pro Ali Design’s dedication to quality, design and service, coupled with a commitment to continuous improvement and technological innovation, has made the company one of the most reputable and respected providers of conveying solutions for many of Australasia’s leading food manufacturers.
Kiel Industries has grown into a prominent leader in the rotational moulding industry. Founded in 1989 by the Kiel family, the company now supplies the largest range of plastic pallets in the southern hemisphere and continues to dominate materials handling with innovative designs for pallets, bins, and ancillary products.
A major requirement of the biscuit packaging line was to replace the existing bins and handling system with a line that used a cleaner, more versatile bin. Colin Kiel, Managing Director of Kiel Industries, said “For the production line, ‘cleaner’ meant that the bins had to empty completely with no residual biscuits being trapped by corners or edges.”
The biscuit production process involves several basic steps. Pastry is made and spread before the topping is added and then cut to shape and baked. Once through the ovens, the snack biscuits are primary packaged and conveyed on Pro Ali equipment to Pro Ali Design K-Bin filling stations. This system auto de-stacks empty K-Bins and supplies each bin to the filling station, once filled, the Pro Ali system, automatically re-stacks and conveys the filled K-Bins for warehouse storage.
Constantly innovating based on industry trends and consumer needs, Pro Ali equipment uses cutting edge technology throughout their manufacturing process, including 3D CAD/CAM design, simulation and build at their 4000m² state of the art manufacturing facility, curating accurate methods to help customers realise greater yields.
When the biscuits are ready for secondary packing, the K- bins are moved to Pro Ali custom designed bin tippers where the packets are decanted and conveyed as required to a sophisticated packaging area for shelf ready packing and shippers, ready to be sent out to supermarkets across the country.
The customer requirements was for a food grade system, that could convey multiple flavours of products throughout the plant through to a separate packing hall, without any product hang-ups or jams on the conveyors. With their knowledge and experience of various food segments within the industry, Pro Ali are committed to helping clients achieve their production goals and objectives.
Once the design of the bin had been confirmed, prototypes were sent to Pro Ali Design in Sydney for development of the automated tipping machinery that was to be part of the new production line. “It was interesting for a change for us to develop a bin and have the handling equipment built for it,” said Kiel. “Usually, a company designs and builds a processing plant and then asks us to give them a bin that fits their system.”
Pro Ali Design was selected because it specialises in the concept design, construction, manufacturing and installations of state-of-the-art stainless steel conveying systems for the food industry, including customised package and box handling conveyor lines. In addition, all the company’s equipment is manufactured to meet the appropriate ANZ Standards, as well as AQIS, MAF or FDA ‘clean design’ specifications.
The company also pride themselves on their clean designs, meeting all hygiene requirements, with high priority for sanitary designs; from packaged handling through to sortation and palletising. The company also have their own in-house logistics division, B-Doubles, trucks and drivers, ensuring that the only people that handle the system, prior to installation, are their own personnel.
According to Jon Ball, Pro Ali’s Business Development Manager, his company received a very specific brief from the biscuit manufacturer for the development of its new production line. The main requirement was to improve efficiencies and remove the need to manually load biscuits from different shaped bins.
The cubic-metre bins developed by Kiel Industries had to be robust to withstand being picked up and moved around in areas where there were multiple forklifts operating, so the Pro Ali design incorporated multiple heavy duty bin tippers.
“We were working with very fragile product in both the contents and the packaging,” said Ball. “The consumer packs are highly decorated so cannot be scuffed or product damaged during transport along the lines.” The packaging line includes elevated and radius conveyors, so Pro Ali had to ensure that there were minimal junctions, bends, lips and edges in the line on which packets of biscuits could be caught.
The feeder hoppers all include laser levels, which sends an alert when the biscuit level is low and requests another bin be decanted into the packaging line. The line has multiple units operating on a continual basis to ensure that it is conveying a regular, constant stream of product.
The processing line design incorporates a number of safety features to protect workers, including light curtain safety lock-outs. “Safety is paramount and our design had to reflect this,” Ball added. “When the beam of one of the light curtains is broken, the system shuts down and must be manually reset in order to start the process again.”
One feature of the project was that the new production line was to be built on a blank floor area dedicated to the bin tippers and conveyor system; not around or over existing machinery as is often the case. “This allowed us to have a lot of straight runs to ensure nothing gets stranded high up on an elevated section,” Ball said. “In the past, it was possible to get the contents of different packs mixed because some got caught at a junction and dislodged on a later run.”
Pro Ali worked closely with the client during design phase to ensure all stakeholder requirements were met. A mock-up of the production line handling system was assembled at Pro Ali’s manufacturing base in suburban Sydney using the Kiel bins. Factory acceptance tests were conducted to demonstrate key areas of operation to the customer. After a few tweaks of the design, Pro Ali built and delivered and installed the complete system.
“While this project was challenging, we were able to optimise the layout using clever design and the latest conveying concepts, such as Intralox’ s ARB™ technology. We haven’t been thrown a task yet that we weren’t able to deal with,” concluded Ball.
Pro Ali Design will be attending Foodtech QLD in 2019, supporting our existing Queensland customer base and are looking forward to meeting potential new clients at the show. With key personnel managing their stand at E37, you’ll be able to discuss both technical and commercial aspects of your current and future business conveying and manufacturing requirements.