PRAYON : high added value marking on bags
World leader in posphate chemistry, Prayon is based in Engis (Belgium) for over than a century and radiates worldwide through its four production sites, its thirty manufacturing workshops, and its hundred commercial branches. First European producer of purified phosphoric acid, Prayon brings to the market high-end innovative products intended to a hundred different sectors (nutritional, industrial, horticultural, etc…).
With over thousand employees (including almost 700 on Engis site), a 709 million euros turnover and security investments of more than 4 million euros in 2015, Prayon is constantly seeking to improve its technologies, equipment, procedures, storage and transports.
Given the increasing traceability requirements - particularly in the food and horticultural sectors- and confronted to the increased production rates of a growing company, Prayon was in 2011 in search of more efficient marking solutions. Up Trace’s « Turnkey Solutions » caught the attention of the production managers and allowed them to work in an evolutive way with a real partnership relation.
« The continuous search for innovative solutions by the technical service of UP Trace meets our very specific needs. For every problem, there is a quick and effective answer. A responsiveness that perfectly meets our requirements! » tells Dominique Baccu, Production Foreman for the Bi unit (Ammoniaque phosphates).
Marking and labelling
To bring up a growing amount of data on PE bags of phosphate products without slowing down the rates, the UP trace Project team ensured the successive implementation, in different production sectors, of automatic label print and apply APL 7000 (with articulated applicator arm) and 3500 (simple linear actuator) systems from UBScode. All of them are steered by NiceLabel’s labels editing software for the convivial and flexible creation of highly variable contents. These systems allow to achieve speeds up to 600 applications per hour.
The Biammonic unit MAP-DAP was first equipped with a UBS APL7000 for the labeling on the large side of bags, and quickly doubled by a Citronix inkjet printing system to meet some customer’s specific requests for direct printing on bags. Althought this alternative is more limited in number of characters and lines, it offers many possibilities and its intuitive keypad makes it easy to program impressions. After more than four years of operation, Aurélie Clément, Assistant Service Manager, notes : « We are working in heavy industrial conditions and the robustness and UBS reliability qualities promised by UP trace have been widely confirmed. Despite an increasing amount of information to affix necessarily on the bags, our rhythms are largely respected and this labelling step often offers the opportunity to catch up with the delays upstream. The solution coupled with the NiceLabel software gives us great flexibility with respect to the very specific labeling demands of customers (quantity, quality of information, language (Arabic, Chinese…)). »
The second unit to be equipped was the technical and nutritional phosphates PTA, consisting in two parts, STPP and Europhos. The phosphates bags produced in this installation, with quality, size and density contents too variable to be limited to two or three printed lines, absolutely and exclusively require labeling. On the STPP production lines, a UBS APL7000 replaced the manual application to print and apply labels automatically generated in NiceLabel. On the Europhos line, a UBS APL3500 has been chosen as best suited to the online environment through its linear actuator for a side application of the label. « Two industrial solutions of high reliability, responding perfectly to the specificities of each production line and of which the potential rates will allow us to ensure the future duplication without purchasing new equipment. », according to Robert Mathy, Responsible of STPP unit.
Finally, to ensure storage and shipping of pallets of phosphate bags , UP trace totally renewed the existing WiFi infrastructure and extended the network cover to additional warehouses following a strong on-site analysis. Communication is ensured by a set of Access Points, antennas and controllers allowing information exchanges with the company’s ERP. From the production’s exit and after stacking the bags on pallets, Zebra ZM400 printers receive production data and generate labels with barcodes that identify each outcoming pallet. Any movement (stock entry, storage, shipping) is scanned thanks to Zebra/Motorola LS3408 handheld terminals or to vehicle mounted terminals Zebra/Psion VC5090 communicating with SAP. The stock update is done in real time.
Marie-Rose Parmentier, Supply and Inventory tracking employee at Prayon, concludes for us: « The full network coverage in a particular environment (mobile racks store) provides today an immediate update of the data storage. Weekly packaging inventories of half a day were abolished and only the annual inventory has been maintained. The saved time is precious, and the reliability is total. UP trace team’s reactivity, but also its expertise, its management of our consumables stock, actually perfectly respond to the spirit of continuous improvement and quality of Prayon ! »