The cooperation with FlexLink was fantastic

Vårystra kor med spring i benen släpps ut på bete. Fotograf: Janne Lindmark. Norrmejerier

Norrmejerier’s main driving force is to meet their customers’ needs of fresh, attractive and unique dairy products with high quality. To live up to their customers’ requirements, they needed a factory with high capacity and low production costs. There was also an increasing demand on volume and production of cheese, which needed to be taken into consideration. Because, let’s face it – the Swedes love their cheese.

Norrmejerier – sustainable farming in the north of Sweden

Norrmejerier is a dairy producer with three factories in the northern part of Sweden. Every year, the three factories handle about 200,000 tons of milk, which they use to produce different dairy products, such as milk, sour milk, cream and cheese. Norrmejerier offers their consumers tasty products with high quality. When you choose a product from Norrmejerier, you should feel safe and trust the content in the package, as well as feel confidence for the handling through the whole production chain.

Increased flexibility, volume and automatization were required in the factory

Hygienic design – reduces bacteria in the food industryFlexLink kept a close dialogue and discussed different solutions with Norrmejerier, to understand their needs, and identify the most ideal solution for them. The discussion covered everything from increased volumes, how the facility was built, how to optimize the production flow in the factory, to budget and how many operators they could afford. The answers to these questions helped FlexLink figure out a perfect automated production flow solution.

Norrmejerier wanted to do this investment since they had a very old factory with low capacity and worn out equipment. They had started taking a lot of new orders, and wanted to increase their volume due to a high demand on cheese. They also needed to increase the speed and automatization in the factory, and lower the production costs.

“We were looking for suppliers who could deliver a reliable system. The cooperation with FlexLink was fantastic. They had a very competent project manager. We had weekly meetings and reviewed everything on a regular basis. We discussed improvements and made some changes during the project.”, says Micael Höglund, one of the project’s managers at Norrmejerier

FlexLink’s solution – a combination of products, experiences and the ability of understanding needs

Safety engineering – makes safety an integral part of industrial operationsFlexLink designed a customized solution to make the packaging of cheese more efficient. The automated solution was a result of experiences from prior projects, where FlexLink had designed similar solutions. FlexLink put together different pieces of the puzzle and came up with this customized solution, which was unique and based on Norrmejerier’s needs. FlexLink also delivered conveyors with the prerequisite to maintain excellent hygiene. We built a zone, specifically for the handling of opened and unpackaged cheese.

“With the old equipment we had a capacity of producing 35-40 pieces of cheese per minute, and now we have a capacity of 140 pieces per minute.”, says Micael Höglund Norrmejerier

When FlexLink’s customers define their needs for a new conveyor system, it is helpful for them to know what possibilities there are, and what types of solutions there is to choose from. Therefore, it is important for us, as a provider of automated production flow solutions, to inform our customers about the various options available. It is the supplier’s job to inform, ask questions and understand the customer’s’ needs, and create a customized solution. That is one of FlexLink’s most important jobs, one we take very seriously.

“A very important part was FlexLink’s innovative way of placing cheese in trays. In the old facility we also used robots for picking the cheese, but then one by one. When one cheese moves a little bit in the tray, the placement of the next cheese is more difficult and this caused a lot of stops in the line. Now we place the cheese in a pattern and then pick a whole layer. This innovation was a very important reason for selecting FlexLink as a supplier. We had never seen something similar before.”, continues Micael Höglund, Norrmejerier.

Automated packaging solution for more efficient handling of cheese

The challenge with this order was that everything was new; the premises, the process equipment and all the machines. That meant that many suppliers were involved, which required a lot of planning. Another challenge was to figure out an automatic solution to pack the cheese. That was our first time to construct that specific solution, and it was successful.

“Right now we are in the start-up phase and we still have some issues to solve, but we do see the potential in the system. I really believe this will be a state-of-the-art factory.”, says Micael Höglund, Norrmejerier

FlexLink delivered a new conveyor system with high capacity, new processes and lower production costs. The overall conveyor system was designed to deliver high accessibility in the whole factory. The replacement of the conveyors has led to a higher quality of the products, due to excellent hygiene and cleaning possibilities, as well as a better working environment. Norrmejerier’s investment has made their future brighter, and contributed to Norrmejerier being a dairy producer to rely on for many years to come.

This is a short summary of how a cooperation with FlexLink and one of its customers could look like. Do you want to know more about FlexLink’s cooperation with Norrmejerier? Contact me here with any questions, or visit our website.

Patrick Djerf 2 Articles
Patrick Djerf is a Project Manager for Strategic Projects at FlexLink in Sweden.

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