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FEATURE INDUSTRY 4.0 AXIOM GB AUTOMATES LYNAS FOOD HUB IN IRELAND


allowing us the capacity to grow more effectively in our local markets.”


AN EFFECTIVE ENGINEERING SOLUTION Phone orders for the Republic of Ireland are received by the telesales team in Coleraine up to 5.30pm and then the loading of the trucks begins. The first truck leaves by 6pm in order to arrive in Dublin in time to unload for the 10pm evening shift. Once there, the products are manually loaded onto an infeed conveyor at a rate of up to 45 products a minute. There is a substantial range of different


The Lynas Foodservice Group chose Axiom GB to design, manufacture and install an automated sortation system in its new distribution hub located in Lusk, County Dublin


T


he innovative sortation system is capable of sorting 45 diverse food


products a minute to 11 destination lanes enabling the Lusk facility to process up to 20,000 products in a single shift. The new automated system in Dublin


has also freed up capacity in the company’s Northern Ireland headquarters in Coleraine. This has enabled Lynas to service growth in other markets.


CROSS DOCKING SORTER FOR A FAST, EFFICIENT OPERATION Lynas prides itself on providing the best products and the best service to its customers. This dedication was behind the opening of the automated cross docking hub in Lusk, north of Dublin. This modern facility operates an evening shift between 22.00 hrs and 06.00 hrs, six days a week. Alastair Magee, finance & IT director of Lynas Foodservice was responsible for selecting a suitable partner to automate the new facility, he explains the decision to select Axiom; “We needed a solution to free up capacity in the Coleraine distribution centre where we hold all our stock. The automation which was installed there six years ago has been largely successful, however problems began as our business grew in


18 FEBRUARY 2020 | IRISH MANUFACTURING


the Republic of Ireland. We were getting a bigger and bigger bottleneck in the system during the early part of our evening as we rerouted product for that market. This meant we were running out of time to properly service both markets. “Rather than expanding in Coleraine a


decision was taken to eliminate the pinch points from that facility and move bulk products destined for the Republic to Dublin, re-sorting them in a new facility in Lusk for which automation would be required. “The Axiom solution technically


appealed to us as the best because of its simplicity and scalability. Pricewise it was comparable with the other companies so it wasn’t really a financial decision. One of the key factors was the values that we saw in Axiom which matched our own. This was important to us during the decision making process - my MD felt that he could relate well to Matthew Nickson, Axiom’s MD, because both companies are family owned and run so we understand each other in that regard. “The Republic of Ireland is a very


attractive market for us and we now have a facility that gives us the opportunity to serve that market to our own high standards, whilst at the same time


Axoim GB www.axoimgb. com


“The Republic of Ireland is a very attractive market for us and we now have a facility that gives us the opportunity to serve that market to our own high standards”


food related products to be processed including tins, sacks, packs of drinks and even tubs of ice cream. The Axiom sorter can handle any shape of product up to 500mm long and for those items that are non-conveyable, trays are used. Product is conveyed on a combination


of roller and belt conveyors to the sorter where it passes below a camera system. Here the barcode on the top face of the product (in any orientation) is read and an image taken of the product and label. The barcode data is then passed to the automation control system (ACS). Both the ACS and programmable logic


controller (PLC) communicate with Lynas head office system to collectively track the scanner information along the sorter and determine each product’s destination. Swivel wheel sorters then divert individual products to their respective sort lane. If any problems are detected the product bypasses the 11 sorter lanes and is routed back as an error onto a dump lane which runs underneath the sorter lanes back to the loading area at the start of the system. Sorted products are manually offloaded


from the end of the lanes and palletised ready for immediate onward despatch in the waiting trucks direct to customers. “Fundamentally the key benefits are


firstly the speed that we can re-sort products in relation to what it would take for a manual team to do it and secondly the accuracy of the sortation. “The accuracy is driven by our own


barcodes which not only dictate the outfeed lane the product is going to go to, but how it will be positioned properly within the load. So it’s not just a good warehouse experience it’s a good driver experience too. These are things that you can do with automation that you cannot easily achieve with human interference.”


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