In April this year, ABB installed and commissioned a robotic palletizing system at Seng Choon Farm’s 36 acre site in north-west Singapore, to support increased production output as well as the company’s future expansion plans. Since then, the robotic palletizing system, that stacks heavy boxes and baskets of eggs onto pallets, has raised the farm’s productivity by 30%.
Before the robotic system was installed, workers would manually stack the cartons and baskets of eggs onto the pallets, with a single worker lifting about 15 tons of eggs a day. This role was rotated among seven workers throughout the week to minimize safety risks that could arise due to the high intensity of the job. The automated palletizing system now relieves these workers from lifting the heavy loads during their shift and has enabled the farm to re-deploy them in less strenuous roles.
“While the nation expands its agriculture industry, it is highly essential that automation is adopted in all new developments to ensure sustainability. Robotic automation is an example of a dependable solution to reduce footprint on the factory floor and ensure continuation and optimization of production,” said Ang Boon Hua, Head of Robotics, ABB Singapore. “We are pleased to contribute to the productivity of a trusted, home-grown brand such as Seng Choon Farm and will continue to support agricultural development in Singapore through our advanced technologies.”
With the robotic palletizing system now allowing the farm to lift 20 tonnes of eggs a day, raising productivity by 30%, the farm foresees a further boost in output over the next few years. Koh Yeow Koon, Managing Director of Seng Choon Farm, said, “The farm’s production volume has already risen from 150 million eggs per annum previously to exceed 200 million eggs per annum. I am convinced that the full productivity gains derived from ABB’s robotic technology will be further realized as we increase our production volume in the near future”.
While Seng Choon Farm aims to increase production volume through expanding its farmland and rearing more hens, its production capacity is very much dependent on capacity down the production line. “Running a farm involves feeding chickens, clearing manure, collecting, inspecting and sorting thousands of eggs a day, and packing them into trays, boxes, and finally pallets before they can be sent out. Automation at every stage of production is essential in order to handle the high production volume,” added Koh.
Seng Choon Farm’s implementation of the palletizing system is supported under Capability Development Grant managed by SPRING Singapore (an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry) that helps Singapore enterprises grow. The local statutory agriculture and food authority announced earlier this year that 36 plots of new agricultural land for farming are being made available from August 2017 onwards, in an effort to ensure the nation’s food supply resilience.