TF Automation was approached by Really Useful Products (RUP) over fifteen years ago to support with automation in the company’s production processes. RUP has expanded and evolved into a fully integrated lean manufacturing business now across two sites in West Yorkshire.
Really Useful Products, design, manufacture, market and distribute their own range of innovative storage solutions including plastic boxes, drawer units, dividing trays, folding boxes and racking.
The TF project design team were tasked with designing a machine to fix two handles and apply a bar code label to RUP’s range of 0.14L boxes. The machine was required to align the handles in the correct way so as to enable the machine to attach a handle to each side the boxes and then apply a bar code label. The machine consists of a bowl feeder into which the moulded handles are added, this then aligns the handles and conveys them into the machine to enable fixing to the boxes, using a rotary to access each side of the box. The boxes then have the bar code automatically applied as they exit the machine to be packed.
This machine fits seamlessly in the production process as the boxes come straight off the moulding machine, along a conveyor and into the box assembly and labelling machine, and out the other end straight on to packing and despatch.
Prior to this the handles were fitted onto the boxes manually which was extremely time consuming and a difficult and awkward job and was very labour intensive. The machine dramatically improved throughput of the finished items to keep up with increasing demand.
We have manufactured and supplied three box assembly and labelling machines to carry out this task and in recent months all three machines have been returned for refurbishment bearing in mind they have been in continuous production for around 15 years. The machines have been stripped down and cleaned and reassembled and have been returned and are now fully reinstalled and working efficiently.
The TF design team are delighted that the machines are still performing to enable improvements in efficiency for RUP and take pride in the fact that their design and engineering solution is still valid and current several years later.
RUP has a number of Engel moulding machines producing the various size of storage boxes and we have worked in a three-way partnership successfully over the years ensuring RUP achieve production efficiencies in a cost-effective way. To support this partnership, TF Automation has designed and supplied “end of arm” tooling, which is attached to the robot arm to take the finished boxes out of the mould machine and convey to packing and despatch. The TF team also designed an in-mould labelling machine for RUP’s rainbow desk tidy to add branding to the box.
TF continues to support RUP with their ongoing continuous improvement program to increase efficiencies in production by providing cost effective process automation solutions.