Valvoline-Cummins Ltd., a leading manufacturer of Lubricants and Car care products, required an automated VRC system at their upcoming plant at Navi Mumbai, for transportation of pallets from the ground floor to their storage facility at the upper level.

Pallets weighing 1000 kg.were to be vertically lifted to a height of around 10m. to the upper level storage area. A high speed of around 20 m/min. was required, and the whole process was to be fully automated. Chain conveyors for loading and unloading were to be provided by Datar Engineering as well. Forklifts were to be used for loading the pallet onto the conveyor and Pallet trucks were to be used for unloading at the upper conveyor. A C-Shaped loading and unloading pattern was to be provided.

Engineers at Datar Engineering after inspecting the site, came to the conclusion that a 4-Post VRC would suite the purpose. The VRC carriage would have to have an integrated Conveyor module for automated operation. Chain conveyors would be used for loading and unloading the material from the VRC.

The entire automated control was done with PLC programming. The operation of the system was kept such that it can be reversible, and could be operated with ease by a layman, at multiple control points along the system.

The operation of the system was, a pallet would be loaded onto the chain conveyor by a forklift at the ground floor, various sensors along the conveyor length, would identify the pallet, and accordingly open a boom barrier, and the pallet would be carried onto the VRC. The barrier would then close, and the VRC would carry the pallet up to the upper level, after which, the boom barrier at the upper level would open, and the conveyor module on the carriage would unload the pallet onto the upper level chain conveyor, which would then be unloaded by the pallet truck.


A few unique features of this system were:

  • A special type of chain conveyor which would sizeably reduce slip and damage to the pallet was used.
  • A new and much simpler type of chain tensioner was used.
  • Sensor mountings were done in a manner which was foolproof.
  • Sensor mountings were made adjustable, not fixed.
  • Barriers and protective mountings were installed for safety.
  • Alignment issues were addressed by simple modifications to the conveyor.
  • Foolproof PLC logic was applied.
  • Pallet traffic control system was applied in the PLC logic.
  • The VRC was fitted with all the standard safety features provided by Datar Engineering.

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