Keys to a Successful Installation
After submitting your order and signing the approval package, your palletizer will be built at your selected manufacturer’s facilities. It will be developed, built and tested in line with your approval package that will have included machine and system layout, pattern, pallet and sheet drawings.
Any long-standing and reputable palletizer manufacturer will insist on testing your machine with your products before you have a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). For this, you will need to provide test product, sheets and pallets that you will use with your machine. This will allow the producer to be confident that the machine will operate to your expectations before delivery.
The FAT is an important part of the order process. It allows you to observe the palletizer performing in accordance with the purchase order requirements before leaving the production facility for delivery.
During the FAT you can expect to see:
- Static test of the palletizer including reviewing the specification sheet with the machine
- Review safety, mechanical and electrical features of the machine
- Identify the maintenance check areas on the machine
- Demonstration of the controls
- Review of all start-up procedures
- Dynamic tests of the palletizer including running the products and patterns at speeds noted in the specification sheet
- Review troubleshooting, including fault recovery and how to get the machine back into automatic mode
- Meeting with the parts and service departments to discuss spare parts requirements, commissioning and training
Following on from your FAT, you should leave the facility with all the information required to install the equipment in your production facility, even before contacting the service manager to arrange for commissioning and training.
Most customers use their own contractors (or maintenance employees) to install their new palletizing system(s). These are generally local contractors who are aware of permits and code requirements. However, some customers ask the manufacturer to carry out installation and commissioning—something Columbia/Okura LLC employees are highly trained to do. In either scenario, the following items should be considered:
- Schedule a technician at least two weeks in advance to the installation date
- Schedule or confirm appropriate equipment, tooling and personnel are available for unloading and positioning the equipment
- Arrange to have appropriate product and personnel to test/run patterns
- Review the installation manual for your palletizer
- Confirm all upstream and downstream conveyors are operational
- Inspect equipment for shipping damage
- Place equipment according to the plant layout drawings
- Provide personnel and tooling to anchor the palletizer to the floor
- Connect the main power and the air
- Confirm all sections have been reconnected and wired
- Confirm all upstream and downstream interlocks have been installed and tested
- Confirm all guarding and safety requirements are in place
- Provide appropriate product and personnel to run test patterns
- Arrange to have all operators and maintenance personnel trained
Following on from installation, ensure you have preventative maintenance scheduled to take place regularly. With proper care, you can expect your palletizer to operate for up to 30 years. Ask your manufacturer for more specific information on preventative maintenance for your specific machine to keep it in tip top shape for years to come!