LaborSave, a sack opening and emptying system that uses high-tech robotics, brings efficiency, safety, and savings to the sack-emptying process. The results are revolutionary, providing an automatic "win-win" option for industry.
The Cost Dilemmas in Handling Raw Materials
Keeping costs down to maximize profits is a bottom-line goal that has become increasingly elusive for industrial manufacturers. When the raw materials include expensive plastics or petrochemicals, even tiny losses will blunt a company's competitive edge. On the other hand, the delays in production speed and extra manpower necessary to conserve those materials can be almost as expensive.
Attempts have been made to improve the speed and efficiency of raw material usage by eliminating the bottleneck of repeated sack opening and emptying. Varous packaging and storage innovations have appeared on the market to address this challenge. They include bulk packaging (gigantic sacks delivered in 30-ton containers), which greatly reduce the number of sacks that must be opened; and bulk storage (in 200-ton silos) which enable raw materials to be added to a production process at a controlled, uninterrupted rate.
These innovations have been a mixed blessing, however.
Bulk packaging does cut down on the man-hours involved in sack opening and emptying, but that savings is eroded by the cost of dedicated trucks required to deliver the huge containers. They cannot haul anything else and must return to the supplier empty, and naturally the cost of wasted logistical resources is passed on to the industrial buyer.
Bulk storage, in addition to the considerable cost of each silo, runs the risk of disaster by mixing multiple deliveries of raw material: high-quality material topped by an "off spec" shipment can render the entire silo contents useless, triggering alarming losses in material and production time.
The Market Trend: Back to the Sack
Companies that have learned these lessons the hard way are returning to shipments of raw materials in small sacks of no more than 25 kg each. The ease of quality control, the cost-effective transport, and the simple storage requirements are further enhanced by the competitive pricing among a wider choice of suppliers.
Studies have shown that unit sacks of raw plastic materials are more cost-effective than bulk by 40 to 80 Euros per ton... a significant savings.
But companies also find themselves facing the same disadvantages that prompted the move toward bulk packaging in the first place.
Emptying a Sack: a Simple Job With a Complex Challenge
Sack opening and emptying is labor-intensive, slows down production, and results in costly waste from inefficient emptying - with an average of 0.2 to 0.4 percent in raw material left inside. Yet to recover that percentage would mean further slowdowns and more manpower.
The ideal solution would have to meet these conflicting demands simultaneously.
Getting all of the product out of its packing sack is critical to the optimal use of raw materials. Even 0.1% of material left in a sack can add up to significant waste in a high-volume production line, where thousands of sacks are emptied daily.
High-priced products like pigments, plastic granules or powdered chemicals are not free-flowing and can stick to the seams or corners. Industrial production lines must choose between sacrificing those valuable bits in the interest of speed, or taking valuable time to brush out each sack.
Keeping sack fragments out of the raw material is crucial for quality control, and a matter of health in pharmaceuticals or food production. Cutting the sack too roughly can shred the edge, mixing bits of paper, plastic or jute fiber into the product as it pours out.
Besides contaminating the ingredients, sack fragments can cause other problems: clogging filters, blocking pumps or interfering with solubility. In baked products, they become visible as burnt specks. The presence of this foreign matter can increase the number of units rejected by quality control, further raising production costs.
The dust raised by sack emptying is considered unavoidable. But manual disposal of the empty sack throws more residue directly into the face of the worker assigned to this task. This poses a health risk and may require protective equipment.
All of these factors ultimately affect a plant's costs, product quality and time-to-delivery.
Therefore, the "perfect" sack-opening machine will:
• Empty the contents as completely as possible.
• Minimize product contamination by sack fragments.
• Minimize the dust thrown into the air from emptying.
• Be suitable for handling food products.
• Be able to handle all products with equal efficiency.
• Be adaptable to all sack types.
• Dispose of empty sacks quickly and efficiently.
• Require minimal human intervention to operate.
• Be simple to install, activate and adjust.
• Require little or no maintenance.
• Be easy to clean.
• Take up minimal space on the production floor.
• Be mobile.
"Advanced" Solutions: Still Fighting Their Way Out of the Sack
Several "sophisticated" sack openers/emptiers have been introduced to the industrial market, and due to the great need for a solution, they have received a great deal of attention. Two methods are being widely used, which we will just label "A" and "B".
System A: "Automatic" only begins with sack cutting, and sack emptying is done on the run.
With this device, employees have to load each sack onto the moving conveyor belt, demonstrating the first disadvantage: the process still requires manual labor. With strict EU limits on the maximum weightlifting allowed in the workplace, and with sacks frequently ranging from 25 to 75 kg, the system may require as many as four attendants to continually "feed" it.
The conveyor then brings the sack to an automatic cutter blade, which slices the sack open as it passes. The emptying time, however, is limited to the time it takes for the torn sack to be pulled across a 1.5 meter gap with a hopper placed beneath. Any material still clinging to the interior of the sack after it crosses this opening is lost - an average of 1 to 2 percent.
System B: Full sacks are chopped to bits, and raw material is sifted out... sort of.
Resembling a giant blender, this machine destroys the sack to release the contents, inevitably mixing pieces of sack into the raw material. Whatever problem was solved by speed, therefore, is replaced by a new problem: having to filter out the desired material from the shredded waste.
The new problem is daunting indeed. Using a "tumble dryer" method, the mixture is spun with force against a cylinder with holes like a sieve. Some of the holes become plugged by sack fragments or pockets of clumped material, while tiny sack bits escape through other holes to contaminate the sifted product.
Waste of the purchased product averages around 2 percent, making this fully automatic process a costly one. And increasing the processing speed will only increase that loss - as much as a catastrophic 3 percent.
The Real Automatic Answer: LaborSave Robotic Technology
LaborSave overcomes all the disadvantages of the "state of the art" sack-emptying systems. Its patented design and technology brings to the process a completely new level of efficiency, safety and savings.
Unique LaborSave Features
Fully Automated from End to End
The LaborSave system is the only sack handler in the market that can be truly called "fully automated" - requiring absolutely no manual assistance and virtually no maintenance. Only loading the full pallets and removing the empty ones are performed by a forklift operator, and even this process can be automated if desired.
"Fully automated" also means full safety for plant personnel, who no longer need to lift heavy sacks, work around moving blades or handle empty dust-filled sacks.
LaborSave is designed to handle more than 1300 sacks an hour, with a consistent 99.99% emptying ratio. This remarkably low material loss - not 0.1 percent, but 0.01 percent - is guaranteed.
The LaborSave automatic cycle consists of four efficient steps:
1. Mechanical grippers lift a full layer from the pallet and slide them
horizontally across sharp cutting blades.
2. The parallel blades slice cleanly into the sacks from below, with no loss of
3. Grippers hold the sacks in place and shake them, causing the contents to
drop into the hopper below.
4. Empty sacks are compressed and stored in a bin or automatic compactor.
• LaborSave handles most types of sacks: plastic, polypropylene, paper and burlap, ranging between 25 and 75 kg in weight.
• Most sack arrangements on a pallet can be handled automatically by the system, with inclinations up to 25 cm.
• The LaborSave empties most kinds of materials with equal efficiency: granules, powders, foodstuffs and chemicals.
• The system is also mobile, providing sack handling for all industrial environments, any location in the plant, anytime it's needed.
Choice of Capacity
High Capacity - handles 238 to 600 sacks per hour (12-18 product tons).
HC G2 - handles 400 to 750 sacks per hour (15-22.5 product tons).
Very High Capacity - handles 500 to 1300 sacks per hour (25-37.5 product tons).
LaborSave is programmed by a user-friendly electronic menu, Also included is an option to install sensors in storage silos at maximum and minimum levels, which activate and de-activate the sack emptying operation.
Optional LaborSave Features
• Automatic full pallet feeding conveyor
• Automatic empty pallet removal
• Automatic empty pallet stacker
• Automatic empty sack compactor
• Pneumatic conveying system
It's no wonder that industrial leaders on four continents are lining up to order the LaborSave system.
The Creators of LaborSave
LaborSave was designed and is manufactured by Ayal Robotics & Engineering Ltd, a privately owned company with more than 15 years of high-tech expertise. Ayal Robotics has developed dozens of automated solutions for industrial applications.
With the introduction of LaborSave to the market in 2004, Ayal Robotics secured the leading market position as a supplier of a completely automatic sack-emptying technology, setting a new industry standard with its unprecedented 99.99% emptying rate.
LaborSave is CE, UL, TUV & GOST approved, with distributors across the world