Meeting high demand for daily deliveries

Saginaw provides doughnuts and other sweets to roughly 400 customer locations on a daily basis. Since the departure time for trucks leaving the facility is critical, the time window for loading goods is extremely limited.

Manual tray stacking was proving to be both a bottleneck and a safety issue, potentially causing stress injuries and other risks given that some employees needed stepladders to reach the highest tray positions.

Investing in automation

During the past few years, Saginaw started investing in equipment with high-performance automation systems to improve productivity while lowering the risk of repetitive motion injury for employees. The tray stacking system stuck out as an opportunity for automation to improve operations.

The bakery worked with Apex Motion Control and Vital Manufacturing, Inc. to develop an automated tray stacker using controls from Omron. Apex Motion and Vital Manufacturing chose Omron’s technology thanks to our complete line of automation products and extensive service.

A fully automated tray stacking solution 

The new, fully automated tray stacking system uses several Omron 1S servo motors and drives along with an Omron programmable logic controller (PLC) for all mechanical functions. It can stack any collection of industry-standard breadbaskets at a speed of 15 trays per minute and sorts stacks by order and route.

The elimination of manual tray handling has improved production flow. The automated system’s speed provides a 25 percent improvement upon the productivity of a three-person stacking crew and frees up employees to take care of other tasks.

Interested in learning more about this project? Click here to access the success story or check out the article in the April 2020 issue of Canadian Packaging.