Rani Plast invested in safety and automated their production
The Finnish company Rani Plast produces a high-quality and comprehensive range of industrial and agricultural packaging films to protect products, minimize food waste, improve transport efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of products. This means that a large number of rolls and packages are to be handled between production, packaging line, oven, and the high-bay warehouse.
Safety is important for Rani Plast, and this was also one of the reasons for choosing to automate their production. Today, there are three Solving automated forklifts in operation, and more are on the wish list.
“Thanks to the AGVs, manual forklift traffic and thus safety risks are reduced, giving people more time for productive work and quality control”, says Mika Lammi, Production Manager at Rani Plast.
In the last financial year, Rani Plast produced over 80 million kg of various packaging materials. Since the capacity has increased so much, the company estimates it will exceed 100 million kg in the next two or three years.
AGVs in production and high-bay warehouse
Currently two automated counterbalanced forklifts from Solving are used to handle rolls between the high-bay warehouse and production, packaging line and oven. The rolls are placed on EUR or FIN pallets and can weigh between 100 and 1000 kg. Ready packages are also handled by these AGVs.
In addition to the two AGVs in production, Rani Plast has a high-lift AGV forklift transporting up to 1000kg rolls from the newly built high-bay warehouse to the printing department and welding department. The high-bay warehouse has 1100 shelf positions and the AGV’s lifting height is 6.1 m. At the end of the AGV forks, there are sensors recognizing mechanical obstacles and a hydraulic overload protection preventing too heavy rolls from being handled. To optimize the use of shelf positions in the warehouse, the AGV is equipped with especially narrow support forks.
The challenge was the many sizes
One of the challenges at Rani Plast was the many varying sizes of rolls and pallets. Solving first defined all the sizes to find the optimal AGV that can be used for all. Since some rolls exceed the size of the pallets, it is important that the roll is placed correctly on the pallet. Therefore, when the roll is placed on the conveyor belt supplying the high-bay warehouse, sensors recognize the position of the roll and also measure its height, length and width.
The automated guided vehicles navigate by laser, but in places where objects may obscure the reflectors on the walls, SPOT navigation with magnets embedded in the floor is used instead.
The AGVs are fitted with all the necessary equipment to improve safety for the personnel and avoid damage to rolls, packages and other equipment in the factory. With programmable 360-degree laser scanners in the corners of the AGVs and forks, obstacles along the transport route are detected and the AGVs can therefore slow down and eventually stop if necessary. The AGVs can also be stopped manually via easily accessible emergency stops. The detection fields are programmed according to the length and width of the largest roll. Blue Spot lights indicate the AGVs’ driving direction to warn the personnel of their approach. Audible and optical signals further improve safety.