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How can we increase the production capacity of QolorTech as efficiently as possible? Iv-Industrie

"We want to double in size"

Very small grains, in black, white, every colour you can think of, or an additive. These grains are used to give plastic products such as beer crates, car mats, garden chairs, flower pots or even gas pipes a colour or a certain property. At the QolorTech production facility in Vaassen, around 15000 tonnes of these grains (masterbatches) are produced annually. The company wishes to grow considerably in the coming years, in fact, even to double in size. But where to begin? And, how can the production capacity be optimally increased? These were the questions with which QolorTech, Iv-Industrie and ST-Projects sat down together for the first time in May 2017. At the end of that year, a design had already been brought to the table.

Intensive collaboration on location at QolorTech

At the beginning of the project, QolorTech had not yet decided how they wanted to expand the production facility to achieve the intended growth. This plan was jointly designed by QolorTech, Iv-Industrie and ST-Projects. The first weeks focused on the following questions: where does QolorTech want to be in five years' time? Where is the company presently? How can we fill this gap in the most efficient way? What is necessary for the coming years to achieve the intended growth, and how can we ensure that further growth in the distant future is kept simple? Iv-Industrie and ST-Projects were present at the production site for a number of fixed days per week, which led relatively quickly to a plan.

The importance of flexibility

The expansion of the production site will take place in phases. A new logistics depot of roughly
1500 m² is the first step to be taken and will assist QolorTech in preparing for the intended capacity expansion. Additionally, the new depot will allow for a quicker response to customer demands and smarter handling of stock. Flexibility is extremely important. Thanks to the construction of the logistics depot, space will be released in the existing production areas for expanding the production capacity further.
More than 200 different products in the form of granulate are produced at the Vaassen factory. These masterbatches are produced in countless colours, have different shapes and possess different properties. The batch size varies enormously and is delivered in various packaging forms, all of which influence the transport of the products, the method of storage and the composition of the packaging lines. To prevent contamination, the internal cleaning of all equipment is of great importance and the experience of the project team in hygienic design proves very useful for this purpose.
Iv-Industrie provides project management for the design and realisation of the logistics depot. Engineers of Iv-Industrie provided the architectural design, the building installations design and the design for the power supply. Iv-Industrie also facilitated safety studies. ST-Projects was responsible for the design of the equipment and is managing the overall 3D model and thus also monitoring the integral design. The operators and technical service were closely involved in the classification of the spaces and the design of the installations. They provided indispensable practical experience and tested whether the processes could be executed as efficiently as possible.

More production with the same amount of people

A smart combination of pneumatic transport, the use of silos, well-thought-out handling of small quantities and far-reaching automation make it possible to expand the packaging capacity and flexibility without having to invest in human capacity. The bulk production and the larger batches will later transfer automatically from the production lines to the packaging lines via smart usage of silos. Small quantities and critical products will continue to be packaged manually. To prevent contamination of colours, certain parts will be duplicated. This will ensure that when a transport route is cleaned, it’s duplicate can be used to continue the process. All packaged goods that are currently transported to the warehouse by forklift will soon be automatically stacked, wrapped and transported to the warehouse via roller conveyors.

Focussing on responsible business

Much consideration has been given to the design to ensure the safety of employees. Ergonomics also played an important role in the design of the setup and the equipment. The 'people flow' and the 'material flow' have been mapped out and a safe separation between machines, means of transport and people has been ensured. Various other safety studies have been carried out on the design. In order to minimise the CO2 emissions of the logistics depot, the heat released during the production processes is used in such a way that heating will not be needed during the winter months.

Ready to take the next step towards the future

The construction of the logistics depot began in August 2018 and the aim is to be operational in March 2019. Bulk loading and bulk handling are now almost within reach. Large quantities will no longer be stored in the warehouse but will be kept as stock in silos. This will create space in the warehouse due to fewer stock products and QolorTech will be able to respond better and faster to customer requests. For instance; if a customer should place a large order on Monday, the order, complete with the desired packaging format, could already be loaded for transport the next day.
Would you like to know more about this project or Iv-Industrie's services? Ruud will be pleased to tell you more. Contact him via 088 943 3700 or send Ruud an email.
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