Innovative use of ABB robots has provided distinct operational advantages when designing a fully automatic 70 pack per minute sliced cheese packer for a leader in the Australian dairy industry.
It has been several years now since the majorN.Z engineering company, Haden and Custance, honed the utilisation of asingle ABB IRB 340 flex picker. This highly flexible machine was used to place cheese slice packs into clear, preformed hinged style packaging which is dominating retail refrigerated dairy cabinets throughout Australia.
The original design catered for shell packs which varied in size from 250g, 500g,and 750g.
Flow wrapped 250g packs are selected singly and placed in the shells which have been “de-nested” from a horizontally mounted shell magazine.
Depending on the shell size one, two or three cheese packs are placed into eachconveyed shell.
To ensure accurate positioning of each pack within the shell a vision system is utilised to determine the orientation ofthe product prior to being picked up by the robot.
Packs are presented to the pick conveyor in no set orientation upstream therefore a camera and robot system will identify the presented pack and orientate it accordingly, after the pick and before the place. From there the shells are closed and sealed as part of the overall operatorless machine design.
Such was the success of the prototype another machine has been designed to order but to 120 packs per minute, catering for more pack sizes as well, by the same major processor.
Packs now range from 150g, 250g, 300g, 500g, 600g and 750g which would cover the retail requirements of most consumers.
The new unit will provide the combined compatibility of three robots within a relatively short operating footprint.
Selection of the open style nested packaging shells from a storage magazine is achieved by an additional robot. The magazine contains hundreds of stacked shells indexing forward as production demands; whilst the robot does the pack selection and places each unit open side up for cheese pack placement.
There are two ABB IRB 340 Flex pickers which work in tandem selecting conveyed cheese packs, orientating them as required, through the use of the vision system before placing them squarely but gently within the retail package. From there the package is automatically closed and sealed prior to exiting the packer. Individual packs are then labelled and multi-packed into shippers for transportation throughout Australia.
Industry knowledge and cutting edge engineering expertise has pioneered many innovative equipment designs created by H&C. Haden and Custance are also proud to be able to provide all of the required services relating to design and manufacture, combining automation of the complete system and system integration as required into existing client equipment.
Haden and Custance provide a one stop shop for innovation and automation!