The user-friendliness of the systemVincent Gal – Process Engineer – Na-Nomi
played a large role in the decision
Na-Nomi, a Dutch co-packing company, installed their first Smart Palletizer and Smart Formation Unit in October 2019. In the beginning, the Smart Palletizer was hired on a rental basis and tasked with palletizing grocery packages of a large supermarket chain in The Netherlands. Eventually, Na-Nomi decided to purchase the Smart Palletizer and it now handles a large variety of products on a daily basis.
In 2019, Na-Nomi started looking into automating part of their palletizing process, to aid in the innovation of Na-Nomi and to cut costs. The choice for a cobot solution was an easy call, due to limited space and the need for a user-friendly system. After being introduced to Smart Robotics via Verduyn BV, partner of Smart Robotics, the decision to start a cooperation was made quickly. The user-friendliness of the system, as well as short delivery times and the option of rental played large roles in the decision making process.
Na-Nomi was looking for a partner specifically to aid in the process of palletizing 520.000 grocery packages of a large Dutch supermarket chain. As this was a temporary project, the decision was made to rent the Smart Palletizer, including the Smart Formation Unit, for six months. To meet the large demand, the Smart Palletizer performed its tasks in cooperation with one human employee.
After the temporary project of palletizing grocery packages, Na-Nomi discussed internally what the next step for the Smart Palletizer would be:
“We had to figure out whether the Smart Palletizer would be suitable to work with the large variety of products we handle. The first project included just one type of box. The production line we wanted to move it to changes products multiple times a day, so great flexibility is needed. How would the Smart Palletizer handle this large variety of products?”
Vincent Gal – Process Engineer
The decision was made to start testing the Smart Palletizer’s performance with a large variety of products. Therefore, Na-Nomi moved and installed the Smart Palletizer at a different production line by themselves. Test results showed that the Smart Palletizer performed satisfactory 95% of the time. A few small problems occurred with the buffering of very lightweight boxes on the Smart Formation Unit. However, this was solved by Smart Robotics installing a newer version of the Smart Formation Unit. Eventually, the decision was made to end the rental contract and purchase the Smart Palletizer.
“We are very happy with our Smart Palletizer. The delivery times were short and the installation was performed very quickly. Smart Robotics only needed a few hours to get the Smart Palletizer fully operational. Nowadays, our Smart Palletizer performs 16 hours a day, 5 days a week, with very few errors. As we receive our products from external suppliers, it may sometimes occur that boxes do not have the right quality to be picked-and-placed correctly, but we can easily correct this in the system. If a problem occurs, Frank (Service Engineer at Smart Robotics) is always available to help in the best way possible.
We receive a large amount of new products every week. The Product Editor allows our Process Engineers and Team leads to easily add new products and choose stacking patterns. We are very pleased that we can do this beforehand, as it allows for the Smart Palletizer to continue working during its shift!
In general, our employees are happy with the Smart Palletizer. It is a very user-friendly system. It took them some time to get used to the system and to the editing of products, but now they work with the Smart Palletizer as if they’ve never done differently. They walk around the Smart Palletizer with confidence and are not afraid of the cobot. Lastly, communication with Smart Robotics and Verduyn is smooth. Every three months, we evaluate the performance, the process and future plans”