Sustainable and of the highest quality: investment in automation satisfies increased demand for pallets according to the circular economy model
Vienna, April 8, 2019 – CHEP Austria is expanding its service center at Vienna as a business location using state-of-the-art technology. The market leader in pallet pooling invested in the single-digit millions in the automation of pallet inspection and repair in order to increase the efficiency of its service center in Hof am Leithaberge. At the beginning of 2019, the starting signal for the fully automated operation was given. Through the use of robotics, CHEP wants to consistently ensure the highest standards of performance, compliance, and sustainability.
Using automation to realize its full potential
Since 2010, CHEP has been supplying pallets to the Austrian market from Hof am Leithaberge, especially the Vienna, Graz and Salzburg regions. With Paletten Logistik Winter GmbH as a reliable and experienced partner, constant pallet availability is guaranteed even during busy periods. Millions of pallets are checked and repaired after each delivery cycle every year according to the principle of “Share and Reuse.” Depending on requirements, CHEP Austria offers its customers a platform mix of Euro, industrial, half and quarter pallets as well as plastic pallets and the rollable Dolly display loader.
In the fully automated operation, CHEP pallets are routinely inspected for defects, damage or contamination. In this way, the double-digit, constantly growing demand for the blue load carriers can be successfully managed. The new work environment gives service center employees greater comfort in terms of ergonomics, as robot units take over work steps such as repairing defective pallets.
Industry 4.0: prepared for the future
In detail, the newly installed automated system in Hof am Leithaberge comprises the following technology:
- Multifunctional fully automatic inspection and repair system for automatic unstacking, transport, turning and stacking of pallets
- A new laser system (Automatic Digital Inspection, ADI) that inspects individual pallets for damage and, if necessary, sends them for repair
- Automatic painting and stencil processes using brush painting booths and inkjet systems
- New roll nailer technology that ensures no nails stick out over the top of the pallets
- A moisture meter that monitors the moisture content of the pallets and probes the top deck and bottom of the pallets. If the moisture content exceeds a certain value, the pallet is sorted out of production
“With automation, we are making our service center sustainable and at the same time strengthening the region,” explains Wim Hermans, CHEP Country Manager Austria. “For several years, we have noted an increasing interest in our wide range of pallets offered in the pooling model. Even in peak economic times, we can now ensure constant pallet availability – while maintaining consistently high quality. Most of our customers benefit from this high level of flexibility. More and more customers are realizing economic savings potential through pooling. This allows them to focus on their core tasks rather than pallet management. At the same time, hidden costs are eliminated.”
Under the banner of Industry 4.0, CHEP automates its service centers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The kick-off event was the Service Center Neu Wulmstorf near Hamburg, which started fully automated in September 2018