Things move fast at the factory in Søndersø, which since 2016 has been named Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Danmark, but is probably better known as the “KiMs factory”. Nearly 200 employees in the administration and production areas make sure that there is enough of the popular crisps and snacks for the shelves in the supermarkets.
Some of the employees in the production areas operate and supervise the production facilities, whereas other pack the finished bags of crisps into boxes, which are then palletised and transport to customers. While the large production plant in the factory in Søndersø is dependent on the warm hands and sharp eyesight of hardworking employees, the palletising part, however, requires only 1 single operator per shift. And it has been like this for nearly 13 years.
”Today, the palletising is pure automation. Formerly, the palletising was done by hand, and required many employees. Today, only 1 operator per shift can handle it all”, says Anders Siefert, Maintenance Manager at Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Danmark.
The automated palletising solution has been an essential element of the production since 2004. Back then, Dan Palletiser supplied a complete system with 3 palletisers and transport conveyors, which palletise boxes with crisps from 14 production lines simultaneously. Each of the 3 palletisers can handle 6 different pallets at the same time.
”All production lines end up with the palletisers and the products are going straight onto pallets. In this way, we can relieve our employees from monotonous lifting, and at the same time we avoid bottlenecks, as the palletising is quicker and more efficient than previously”, says Anders Siefert, who, in spite of the advanced age of the system, declines that the system needs to be replaced.
According to Anders Siefert, the reason for the continuous operation of the system is a combination of quality and palletising systems, not at least, the service agreement. The factory in Søndersø has with Dan Palletiser – an agreement, which involves 4 service visits per year, including a comprehensive overhaul during the planned production stop in the summer vacation, where the service engineers from Dan Palletiser replaces wear parts as chains, bearings, sprockets and actuators, if required.
Besides, the palletising system has also through the years been upgraded by help of the service department from Dan Palletiser. In October 2017, the operator panels were replaced by new and more user-friendly panels, just as new frequency inverters were installed on the palletisers on the same occasion.
”These upgradings have left us with a fully updated palletising system today, in spite of the advanced age”, says Anders Siefert. He is so satisfied with the palletising system from Dan Palletiser that he expects to expand with another palletiser in near future:
”The capacity in our factory is continuously increased due to extra sales and extra production, so to avoid bottlenecks in the palletising area, we will need another palletiser within a number of years. The smart aspect of the Dan Palletiser system is that we can then just expand and extend the existing system, so no need to invest in a completely new system.”
According to Anders Siefert, the cooperation with Dan Palletiser has “simply just worked” since day 1, which is why Orkla did not hesitate to invest in a palletising system for their production of nuts (1 km away from the crisps factory), which now also have fully automatic palletising of their products.
We have a really good cooperation with Dan Palletiser. Besides the planned service visits, they also assist by breakdowns or by need of support, and we always feel that priority is given to our issues, when we call them,” says Anders Siefert, and adds:
”And it is just perfect that have regular contact persons, which are familiar with our facilities. This means that they can move around in the production areas with any extra induction in hygiene or safety conditions. We do not have to start over before each service overhaul. This is a major advantage to us, as it saves us a lot of time.”
The KiMs factory, as it is called in common jargon, has been located in the same place in Søndersø in the northern part of Funen since is was built in 1971. Today, both production areas and administration are located in Søndersø.
In year 2000 KiMs became a part of the Chips Group, which was acquired by the Norwegian Orkla Group in 2005. In connection with the launch of KiMs chocolate and the take over of marketing and distribution of Panda liquorice, KiMs changed its name to Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Danmark in 2016.
Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Danmark A/S is 100 % owned by Orkla ASA, which, besides Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Danmark, also own companies such as Orkla Foods A/S, Odense Marcipan A/S and Orkla Care A/S.