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Read our frequently asked questions

+ What is the maximum capacity of an APRIL system?

The maximum capacity of an APRIL system is application dependant and is restricted by number of ingredients and processing steps. For a hot fill ready meal product a single system can manufacture at rates of up to 16,700 kg per hour.

+ Can you manufacture multiple products on one system?

Yes, unlike traditional systems with APRIL different products can be manufactured at the same time with zero cross contamination.

+ What is the batch size?

APRIL offers a range of batch sizes from 500 kg to 50 kg.

+ How does the system handle the high/low care divide?

Typically where a food factory includes low and high care areas, the two are separated by a physical barrier. APRIL systems create barriers and zones in compliance with BRC Global Standards.

+ Can I see the system operating?

OAL have built a full scale demonstration system at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing part of the University of Lincoln in Holbeach. The robot is installed and available for demonstrations.

+ Are there any products the system can’t manufacture?

The nature of the system means that any number of processing technologies can be integrated into the system offering considerable application flexibility and reliability. Initial feasibility studies haven’t found any products the system can’t manufacture.

+ Do you offer feasibility studies?

OAL offer feasibility studies for customers to assess the adoption of an APRIL system. This would typically involve a meeting to discuss process details followed by workup of simulations. For more information please contact us now.

+ What is the payload of the robot?

The payload of the robot ranges from 1,000kg down to 50kg.

+ Does APRIL integrate with SAP?

APRIL systems fully integrate with SAP and other ERP systems using OAL Connected covering job state, recipe details and stock reconciliation etc.

+ Is APRIL compatible with Manufacturing 4.0 & IoT?

APRIL systems are fully compatible with Food Manufacturing 4.0 & IoT. Full virtualisation of the smart factory will enable virtual plant models and simulation of applications.

+ Can APRIL be retrofitted into an existing facility?

APRIL can be retrofitted into existing facilities but consideration will have to be given to existing ingredient feeds and packing lines. APRIL systems are considerably smaller than traditional systems leading to an inevitable compression of adjoining processes.

+ What is the lead time on an APRIL system?

The lead time of an APRIL system is dictated by the complexity of the application(s). The reduced system footprint can have a big impact on overall factory layout so consideration is required during the design phase of new builds. Typically a minimum of 30 weeks lead time is required for a system.

+ What ingredient feeds can be used with APRIL?

APRIL systems use automatic ingredient feeds such as big bag, screw feeds and vibratory conveyors to introduce ingredients. Small scale manual additions can also be added by hand.

+ What is the minimum footprint for an APRIL system?

The minimum footprint for an APRIL high payload system is 10m x 12m x 5m.

+ What is the projected maintenance downtime for APRIL?

The robot will require just 12 hours maintenance per year.

+ How are ingredients tracked through the system?

Ingredients and products are proactively verified and controlled through each step of the process, from the first feed of raw materials right through to finished goods using OAL Connected.

+ How does the APRIL system remove human error?

APRIL removes human error by minimising human intervention in the system. From raw material feeds, processing and delivery to filler the system is fully automated.

+ Why are there no people in the processing area?

Tasks traditionally conducted by people in food processing areas are conducted by an industrial robot. This improves both health and safety and process consistency.

+ How is APRIL cleaned?

APRIL systems have no pipework and valves making cleaning simpler. Spray balls are used to clean vessels and technologies.

+ Can the manufacturing area be sterile?

Yes, application dependent, an APRIL processing area can have a modified atmosphere to promote shelf life extension.

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