Teamwork at the Cold End

After many years of trusting cooperation between Vetropack and MSK, a Cold End of the newest generation was commissioned into operation by MSK for the new furnace in the Croatian Straža plant at the beginning of February 2021. Cooperation throughout every phase of the project is not the only aspect that demonstrates how Vetropack and MSK make a great team: the machines at the Cold End also operate with one another flexibly and with standardized controls, forming a highly efficient overall system. Despite the inconvenience of COVID19, it was possible to work very well together and implement the project to a high technical standard.

From lehr to pallet depot

For the first two furnaces, MSK packaging machines and pallet transport systems have been already in operation in the Straža plant for years. Now, a complete Cold End from MSK was commissioned into operation in February for the third furnace. "During all phases of the project, MSK proofed to be a reliable partner for Vetropack. Especially within the specification phase, the MSK Team demonstrate its ability to adapt to the high-level demands and requirements of Vetropack in order to fulfill the needs and expectations to a maximum. The planed target was achieved jointly together in good cooperation from management to shop floor. Considering the limitation of COVID 19 we all have been facing makes this project an additional success for MSK and the Vetropack team in Straža”, says Jan Stöckl CE-Specialist, Vetropack Holding
"The Cold End was planned in close cooperation with Vetropack and satisfies the high quality standards of our customer. All operations, from lehr right to the pallet depots, were automated and implemented in limited space," explains Uwe Jonkmanns, Director Sales & Marketing at MSK.

Downstream from the lehr, MSK takes the wide variety of shaped bottles produced and conveys them through the multi-line checking area right to the palletizers. A dynamic bottle speed management system operates in the checking area, ensuring that the bottle flow speed is consistently stable without unnecessary peaks. In multi-gob production some products are sorted in the checking area and aligned for the layer pattern by an MSK bottle alignment station before palletizing. Three of the five installed palletizers are of the latest MSK Triotech generation adapting themselves largely automatically to the alternating products and layer patterns. The pallets are subsequently conveyed via an MSK Quattro shuttle car to an MSK high-performance shrink-hooding system of the MSK Multitech type. Included in the project is also the entire pallet conveyor system on two levels, with vertical conveyer and pallet depots for full pallets as well as empty and provision pallets. The Cold End is controlled by the MSK EMSY software. In addition to stationary touch panels, Vetropack also has portable MSK EMSY move tablets for fine adjustments in the field or when a bottle format change takes place.

Automatically adjustable palletizing systems

The installed MSK Triotech palletizers are designed to be highly flexible, and adapt themselves largely automatically to the alternating bottle types. The MSK systems obtain the required parameter settings from the MSK EMSY database. Quick-change mechanisms for stacker rails and gripping systems, and magazines for stacker and palletizer head changes ensure quick job changes. The new, open design of the stacker allows accessibility that is easy and ergonomic. The guide rails of the accumulation table can be easily adjusted using hand-cranks based on scales. Through pneumatic cylinders mounted on the sides the layer stoppers comply with HACCP standards.  If necessary, layer formation can be done according to a special pick-and-place procedure. In two lines a partition inserter ensures additional protection of each individual bottle in the layer. The palletizing systems are supplied with empty pallets and carton trays fully automatically.

High-performance packaging system

In addition to the numerous MSK Paratech shrink-wrap machines in the company, for the first time Vetropack has now decided in favor of a high-performance MSK Multitech shrink-wrapping system. It packages up to 80 pallets per hour in the peak and, because of its compact design, it only needs very little space. By using three film formats/thicknesses, Vetropack packages a wide range of pallets this way with the lowest possible film and energy consumption. The machine head of the MSK Multitech can be lowered to working level, allowing quick and easy maintenance without the need for a platform or ladders.
Empty pallets with bottom film and a top-film sealing system ensure six-sided safe and hygienic packaging of the bottles, even when stored outside.
The MSK Paratech shrink-wrap machines installed for the first two furnaces are still providing reliable operation. The packaging areas of all three furnaces were coupled together over a pallet conveyer line, so the pallets can now be flexibly processed on all three packaging systems when necessary.

Pallet conveyer system on two levels

An extensive MSK pallet conveyer system with stationary conveyers, mobile shuttle cars, vertical conveyers and multiple pallet depots all ensure an intelligent intralogistics system with a sufficient number of storage spaces. Whereas on the upper floor there is a storage area for packaging material, and the delivery of empty pallets and accessory materials takes place, the shuttle cars transport pallets between the palletizing and packaging area in accordance with the jobs received from MSK EMSY, on the lower level there are multiple pallet depots. For the first two furnaces MSK has already supplied the pallet depot and the pallet conveyor system, including shuttle cars and vertical conveyers. The new furnace has now received its own additional pallet depot with connection to the upper level.

Intelligent complete control

"In the preliminary planning for the project in Straža the subject of digitalization played an important role. All operations at the Cold End are now coordinated and controlled by the MSK EMSY visualization software in a standardized and operator-friendly way," says Michael Bouwmann, Key Account Manager Glass, emphasizing the importance of the control software. All data is registered seamlessly, right to the pallet warehouse. The EMSYs of the MSK systems communicate with one another and provide a functioning and flexible overall system all from one source.  At Vetropack the latest EMSY software version 6.0 is used, which is the basis for networked and intelligent machine processes. Also supplied were two MSK EMSY move tablets, with which operators can configure settings and make fine adjustments to drives and sensors on the bottle lines in the field, read speeds, or directly solve problems on location with graphic support.

Service ensures efficiency

To ensure system performance, Vetropack and MSK also always work together to provide good service. In addition to proactive maintenance, also included for the Straža plant is a conversion of the pallet conveyer system from roller conveyers to chain conveyers as newly implemented conveyer concept for all conveyors transporting unshrinked pallets.

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