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Excel Automation has been awarded a further order for another major upgrade of Chivas Brothers’ production facility at the Kilmalid site in Dumbarton.

With three phases of the palletisation and automatic despatch (PAD) facility already completed and the fourth due for completion in May 2009, the latest order covers the refurbishment of two cranes in a bulk glass area, which holds empty bottles for brands such as Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin and Malibu.

Currently, two 28-year-old Demag manual cranes work in a single aisle.

They are designed to access multiple levels to deposit pallet loads of bottles, which during transport and storage are shrink-wrapped and strapped onto pallets.

Each crane is equipped with a remote entry module that reaches into the racking ten pallets deep to deposit two pallets, then returns to the crane for the next two, and so on.

Pallet positions are recorded so that they can be retrieved in the correct order for each of the eight de-palletising lines that convey them to the bottling plant.

When pallets reach the de-palletisers, the strapping and wrapping is removed manually.

This latest Excel contract covers a comprehensive mechanical upgrade of both cranes, including the safety systems, an electrical control system to convert the cranes to fully automatic operation, and the installation of an Invar warehouse inventory system to sequence and control the complex bottle-picking process required for the various Chivas brands.

To enable the bulk glass area to remain operational, one crane was due for refurbishment in December 2008 and the other in January 2009.

Excel Automation

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