Collaborative Robot Provides a Flexible, Compact EOL Packaging Solution for Stand up Coffee Pouches
The solution also features Fibre King’s exclusive Pallet Pattern Building Software resulting in reduced downtime and servicing costs.
The Challenge: Develop a turnkey end of line packaging system for a range of stand-up coffee pouches using tray and hood cases. The solution needed to provide for quick changeovers and flexibility to swap between the customers product lines and varying case configurations.
The Solution: Fibre King’s winning solution included customised, integrated case packing, robotic palletising and related case and pallet conveyors delivered to project specifications.
Bespoke design solution using industry experience
Project management and line integration of all equipment
Fibre King Equipment Used:
Tray and Hood Case Packer
Collaborative Robot Palletiser using Australia’s first Fanuc CR35iA Robot
Exclusive pallet pattern building software.
Infeed and outfeed conveyors
Safety fencing and light curtains
FIBRE KING TRAY AND HOOD CASEPACKER
The Fibre King Tray and Hood Casepacker has been designed as a compact all-in-one machine that automatically collates and loads the products into an HSC case drawn from a magazine, then lids the product and glue seals.
“The result of this automation process is consistently neat, user-friendly packaging for stockists and consumers”. Says Dale Sinclair, Fibre King’s Project Manager.
The products are separated to create a gap using a twin infeed belt. The products are then conveyed into a dual servo cleated belt. Each section of the belt (Pocket) can hold up to three packs depending on the product. The belt is servo driven to accurately position the belt to index the products into the pockets
Once the required row count is in the cleated belt, this section of belt is driven to the side indexing station. A side push assembly pushes the products into the loader area. This is repeated forming 2 rows of product. As the second row is being side indexed a partition is inserted between the rows. The loader assembly grips all the products and the partition and transfers the product above the case before lowering the product into the case. The loader then moves back to the starting position to repeat the process.
The partitions are loaded into a vertical storage magazine to be indexed to the pick face. The partition magazine is on the same side of the case packer as the HSC and Hood magazines. A pneumatic vacuum pick assembly picks the partition from the pick face and releases it onto a guide slot. The servo driven partition progressor pushes the partition in between the formed rows as they are being side pushed from the cleated infeed conveyor. The partition is then loaded into the case with the collated packs.
HOOD APPLICATION AND CASE INVERSION
The Hoods are loaded into a vertical storage magazine to be indexed to the pick face. As required the flat blanks are pulled via a vacuum cup assembly to the horizontal servo progressor. As the horizontal servo driven progressor locates the hood above the case the hot melt adhesive is applied to the underside of the Hood. A vertical servo driven hooder picks the tray and lowers to the top side of the HSC Case. When the lid contacts the HSC, the minor flaps are folded before being adhered to the major flaps. Some adhesive will also glue the hood to the HSC at this station. The Completed Tray and hood is ejected onto the outfeed conveyor where a side gripping assembly flips the case onto its base (180° inversion).
COLLABORATIVE ROBOT PALLETISER
The Fibre King Collaborative Robot (Cobot) Palletiser includes our exclusive pallet pattern building software.
“This software offers an intuitive graphical user interface for an experienced operator to easily add or change product specifications or pallet patterns replacing the need for service call outs and/or downtime when pallet patterns need changing”, Says Dale.
This software is run through the PLC and is supported by the Allen Bradley touch screen to enable manual dragging and dropping to accurately position the products onto the pallet.
How it works: The products arrive at the infeed conveyor Wide Face Leading. The Cobot picks and places the products onto the pallets by way of a vacuum gripper. The pallets are placed on the floor either side of the Cobot. There are pallet guides to locate the pallet to a datum position. When one pallet is completed the operator removes it with a forklift or pallet jack and replaces it with an empty pallet.
“Using a Collaborative Robot Palletiser enables the product to be safely palletised within a small space alongside operators without disrupting workflow,” adds Dale.
The Collaborative Robot Operates inside Safety Fencing with a Light Curtain. Due to the restricted space around the collaborative robot, fencing is used instead of area sensors to ensure the speed of the robot palletiser is not disrupted due to traffic from the walkways and the forklift access route.
The Robot operates at a non-collaborative speed during normal operation. When an operator enters the safety zone and breaks the light curtain the robots speed reduces to collaborative mode allowing the operator to remove full pallets and replace with empty pallets while the robot continues to palletise at the second station.
Fibre King chose a Fanuc CR35iA Collaborative Robot for this project for it’s load capacity and reach which makes it suitable for palletising applications.