PRS Pooling is piloting an innovative ‘smart’ repair system to boost both health and safety and efficiency. Smart working is the mantra of PRS’s field operational excellence manager, Bart Smit, who is investigating international best practices, working to improve productivity and lifting more than the spirits of the workforce.
Although industrial injuries across Europe are on a downward trajectory, too many days are still lost as a result of musculoskeletal conditions caused through incorrect lifting and handling of products as they pass through manufacturing or repair processes.
“My mission is simple: to support our businesses and their customers and to achieve this with a smiling and healthy workforce which isn’t having to go off sick every few months,” said Smit.
The Faber Halbertsma Group, which has the IPP, PRS, PAKi, vPool, and Satim pooling brands in its portfolio, handles tens of millions of pallets every year as part of the circular economy where packaging assets are retrieved, repaired, repatriated, and reused across Europe.
Through Smit’s innovative approach, PRS is working with Wichery Technic, a Polish automation specialist which has developed the ‘simple sort line integrated repair station,’ a series of pallet smart work tables which ensures there is less strain on the backs of the workers and also increases productivity by minimizing walking distance between pallet stacks.
Integrating rollers, rotation technologies, and pneumatically-controlled lifting, the line repair station means the chances of injury are reduced, with the smart table taking the strain.
The 50,000 Euro system also increases the speed and efficiency of the process and optimizes the deployment of workers around the facility.
“We have been looking at this system firstly because found Wichery Technic as a good alternative to other well-known brands of sorting lines in Europe,” said Smit.
“Secondly, because its system significantly increases the number of pallets that can be processed in an hour and allows for the variation of pallets – for example, PRS & IPP pallets mixed in with other heavy or off-standard pallets coming through the repair process – without the need for lifting or bending walking or carrying,” he added.
The easy-to-install, custom system delivers a return on investment within a year as a result of savings it achieves elsewhere in the process.
The success of the current pilot at PRS in the Netherlands and Southern of France will determine its roll out across the rest of the Faber Halbertsma Group, which has pallet repair facilities right across Europe, from the UK to Turkey and from Finland to Portugal.