The MEL System® (Modular End-of-Line) is a real breakthrough in the design and implementation of integrated end-of-line systems. It incorporates two very important innovations: a modular approach (MEL-ready modules concept) and the Backbone, an IT-control super- module combining MES, PLC and SCADA technologies.

An added benefit of the system is that it can incorporate supply chain functionality (e.g. automated direct shipping and warehouse delivery tracking).

The MEL System® has been successfully implemented at a number of multinational manufacturing companies, delivering dramatic increase in productivity, OEE and optimal utilization of existing infrastructure.

The MEL System® has 4 distinct equipment phases and 1 IT / Control backbone:

Backbone

The Backbone of the MEL System® has been developed by Zenon’s experienced software and control engineers. It is a unique combination of PC, PLC and Scada based software, designed to deliver:

  1. Integration of the MEL System® modules in one efficient system
  2. Synchronization of the modules: In all packaging plants, although the individual operations might be efficient, when they operate as a system the overall efficiency is much reduced. The Backbone of the MEL System® provides a solution to this problem.
  3. Connectivity to the various other plant IT/control systems: The MEL System® lies in the heart of the packaging operations. The seamless connectivity to the other IT systems (ERP, MRP, MES, WMS, other Scada etc.) can secure a smooth end-of-line operation and the secure start of the supply chain.
  4. Information intelligence: The Backbone incorporates a number of Manufacturing Execution System (MES) functions like:
    • Raw materials usage
    • Production and work flow monitoring
    • Traceability data
    • Quality control data
    • Various actual production metrics, KPIs and statistics, OEE
    • Maintenance data (predictive, preventive and emergency)
    • Fault & Stoppages data recording (brake downs, changeovers etc)

All the above information is presented in a meaningful and interactive way to the system operators and management.

Primary packaging operations (PPO) modules:

  • Coding and marking
  • Checkweighing
  • Labelling
  • Package quality inspection (with machine vision)
  • Sorting

Secondary packaging operations (SPO) modules:

  • Case forming
  • Case packing
  • Coding
  • Checkweighing
  • Labelling
  • Package quality inspection (with machine vision)
  • Sorting

Tertiary packaging operations (TPO) modules:

  • Palletizing
  • Pallet stretch wrapping
  • Pallet labelling

Direct shipping / Delivery to warehouse operations:

At this phase the MEL System® delivers the shipping units either for direct shipping to the loading bays or to the warehouse. The delivery can be automatic (through sorting systems) or using forklifts, or a combination of the above.

MEL System® Modules:

Coding and marking modules

Why MEL System®:

The Innovation

  • Modular approach at the equipment, devices and machinery level
    • Contrary to the individual packaging of products which has a wide variety of different equipment and processes, the end-of-line is much more uniform. This allows the adoption of a modular approach at the equipment, devices and machinery level.
  • Integrated approach at the control and IT level
    • A unique control and IT system lies at the backbone of the MEL System®, enabling:
    • The integration and synchronization of the individual modules delivering efficiency and flexibility
    • The positioning of the MEL System® as the starting point of the supply chain

The modular approach

  • The end-of-line operations are separated in 4 distinct phases.
  • Each phase includes a number of individual modules, each serving a specific operation.
  • The modules can operate both as autonomous units and as integral parts of the whole MEL System®.
  • Each module consists of devices and components, either built and integrated by Zenon or sourced by external suppliers, Zenon’s ‘integration partners’.
  • The MEL System® modules cover the requirements of the end-of-line operations. However it is highly unlikely that in a particular implementation, all modules of the MEL System® will be used.

The MEL-ready concept

All the modules of the MEL System® are “MEL-ready”, i.e. they can operate autonomously but also as a part of the complete system.
The MEL-ready concept is important as it allows:

  • the gradual integration of the modules in a packaging line: individual modules of the MEL System® can be purchased separately and can operate autonomously. These modules can be integrated and be incorporated in a whole MEL-system at a later stage.
  • the use of existing end-of-line systems in the MEL System®: Zenon’s engineers can certify if the customers’ existing/legacy systems are “MEL-ready” and can be incorporated as modules of the MEL System®. The MEL System® has been designed so that existing end-of-line machinery can be easily incorporated with a few minor modifications into the MEL System®.

Areas of application

  • The MEL System® can be used by any manufacturing plant involved in the packaging of food, beverages, pharma, cosmetics, metal parts, paper etc.
  • The primary packaging of the products can be in the form of bottles, boxes, cans, jars, spray cans, sacks, bags, buckets etc.
  • The secondary packaging can be in the form of cartons, trays, multipacks, other shrink film packs or a combination of the above.
  • The shipping units can either be tertiary packages (pallets), secondary packages or a combination of them.

Benefits

To the production:

  • Increase in productivity
  • Overall safety improvement
  • Cost reduction (good ROI reported from customers)
  • Ease of use with minimum needs for operator interventions and maintenance
  • Flexibility
  • Quick product changeovers
  • Error minimization
  • Meaningful production data presentation
  • Ease of implementation
  • Optimal resources utilization (space, manpower, existing equipment and IT)
  • Expandability

To the supply chain:

  • A sure start of the supply chain, at both the physical (shipping units) and the data flow levels
  • Can cope with both direct warehousing and direct shipping or any combination of those
  • Can quickly adapt to unexpected changes in demand/ incoming orders
  • Excellent ROI

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