Palletising of smooth packaging 

Smooth packaging on mozzarella presented Arla with some challenges during palletisation. Recently an Arla dairy was converted to mozzarella production. This was not without its challenges, as the cheese had to have smooth packaging and stand on smooth pallets. A Palcut solution with anti-slip paper was the answer.

One of Arla’s Danish dairies undertook a major conversion, so that it could produce mozzarella. The reason was an increase in sales of mozzarella to the food industry, catering and pizzerias etc.

Mozzarella is supplied in 9.2 kg packs, so a new packaging line had to be installed in the dairy, as the old one was too small, being designed for packing cheese in small retail packs. The new packaging line was installed last year.

Need for stability

The task of palletising five tonnes of mozzarella in an hour placed heavy demands on the palletisation system. Interlayer sheets would have to be inserted in the pallet stacks without any interruption to process flow, and the pallets made stable, as both the pallets and packaging are made of plastic. This increased the risk that the pallets would slip out of position when being transported to customers around Europe.

For this reason, Arla opted for a fully automatic Palcut sheet dispenser and Antim65 interlayer sheets of anti-slip grade. The sheet dispenser was incorporated in the system, allowing one sheet to be dispensed at a time – what one might term sheet-on-demand. This minimised the risk of the packing robot losing the sheets or positioning them inaccurately. 

“Overall we are very satisfied with the new palletisation system, and the Palcut sheet dispenser has not caused a single stoppage,” says Michael Schlosser Johansen of Arla in Branderup.

Smooth packaging

Arla Branderup often uses plastic pallets for palletising cheese, so they opted for a solution in which Antim anti-slip is inserted as a bottom sheet. This ensures that the smooth cheese packs do not slip around on the pallet, at the same time as protecting them from damp and dirt penetrating from below.

Each pallet is assembled in 9-12 layers, each layer containing 8-12 packs that each weigh 9.2 kg. This means another one or two layers of Antim intermediate sheets are needed to ensure adequate stability when the pallet is loaded with up to one tonne of cheese wrapped in smooth plastic packaging.

The Palcut sheet dispenser automatically adjusts the size of the interlayer to suit the size of the pallet. At Arla Branderup they work with pallet sizes of 1000 x 1000 mm and 800 x 1200 mm.

“Assembled pallets are now a lot more stable, and it helps reduce costs,” says Michael Schlosser Johansen.

Anti-slip coating

“The secret behind the stability of the assembled pallet is the Antim interlayer sheet, which is coated on both sides, thereby ensuring that the products do not slip even if the pallet is tipped 50 degrees,” says Keld Emil Jensen from Palcut. It also allows the use of a thinner paper grade than on conventional interlayer sheets made of card, allowing savings to be made on packaging materials.

The packaging system was delivered in the spring of 2015 as a turnkey solution of Bila A/S, with Palcut as sub-contractor for the Palcut sheet dispenser solution and the Antim65 anti-slip paper. The Palcut solution is used in a number of Arla’s dairies.