The Great Canadian Bean Company really knows its beans – from navy to pinto to black turtle beans, not to mention dark red, light red and white kidney beans. For nearly 30 years, the global supplier of beans, based in London, Ontario has provided dry, edible beans to both the domestic and international canning and packaging industries.
On average, the company employs approximately two-dozen workers, who are charged with cleaning, sorting and bagging the beans. However, until recently the bags were manually palletized – a task that was taking a physical toll on employees. Plus, it was limiting the company’s ability to meet increased daily production requirements.
“We were assigning multiple workers to palletize the bags, including one operator to fill and sew the bags and two to four operators to load the full bags onto pallets,” says Bill MacLean, owner and president of the Great Canadian Bean Company. “The employees needed frequent breaks and were prone to injury from lifting the heavy bags.”
With so many workers focused on one task, other areas of production were not operating as efficiently. The company needed to find a solution that would streamline the palletizing process, reduce workplace accident insurance premiums and provide more overall flexibility for bean production.
MacLean contacted the Automation Project Group, a robotics/automation systems integrator specializing in palletizing and packaging equipment for a recommendation. The Automation Project Group worked with ABB to install an IRB 640 palletizing robot at The Great Canadian Bean Company.