A flexible logistics solution for efficient truck loading and storing palletised cement bags.
FLSmidth Ventomatic SpA (Ventomatic), one of the world´s leading suppliers of complete plants and single machinery for storage, packaging and dispatching products for the cement and minerals, has developed the Flying Fork-Lift (FFL), a new truck loading system that completely changes the vision of the internal logistic system. It allows for high level of automation and efficiency, reducing operational costs and enhancing productivity.
The creative solution from FLSmidth Ventomatic gives the market a flexible logistics solution combining efficient truck loading and storage of palletised bags. This concept is catching the attention of the main players. The R&D department has intensively tested the first prototype of the machine in workshop last year and, after obtaining the patent for the application, selling of the unit commenced at the beginning of 2014. FFL units have already been sold to India and Indonesia.
The Ventomatic Flying Fork-lift (FFL) system is a merger between two well-known technologies: the palletiser and the push-pull stack loader. It was developed after thorough market studies of truck characteristics, bag characteristics and logistics requirements.
Being the combination of a palletiser and a fork-lift, the Ventomatic® Flying Fork-Lift FFL inherits the basic functions of both (palletiser and fork-lift).
Flexible and efficient
A palletiser feeds the Flying Fork-lift system, which loads stacks of bags directly onto the truck.
This enables the system to operate continuously all day long: As a truck loader when a truck is present in the loading bay, and as a palletiser when there are no trucks to be loaded. The palletised stacks are shifted by a fork-lift to storage, ready for truck loading. The FFL system is designed with great simplicity and high efficiency in mind. It is easy to integrate with existing installations at the cement plant. Supported by a simple steel structure it requires no civil structures, and all equipment is installed at ground level. Operation of the FFL system is completely automatic, and only one supervisor is needed for control and monitoring. The system takes little time to install and commission as it is delivered pre-wired, pre-assembled and pre-tested.
Swift development process
It took less than a year to bring the FFL development project from initial brainstorming to final solution. During 2012 basic data and customer requirements were collected through several site visits. At the end of 2012, R&D was ready to submit a development proposal to the management who gave the go-ahead to develop the system in detail and produce a prototype. By June 2013 the prototype was ready to be tested in FLSmidth´s Ventomatic workshop. Since September 2013, the FFL system has been introduced to customers on several occasions and the system is now part of our standard product range.
India is an important market for the new system, because many cement trucks have fixed sides and highly varying dimensions (internal width and platform length). Besides, the industry traditionally uses non-laminated HDPE stitched bags. The latter causes a great amount of dust during the filling and loading process, which prevents using conventional automatic truck loading technology because key components suffer in this kind of environment.
In a market where equipment supplies are increasingly being regarded as commodities, it is important to focus on logistics solutions that meet customer´s specific requirements.
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