Tech showcase: Robotics in packaging

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Integrating robots into bakeries’ packaging areas can greatly reduce labor requirements for placing unwrapped baked foods into infeed conveyors or to put primary-packaged products into carton or secondary packaging. Robots are tireless workers, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week without fail.

In fact, today’s robots reportedly have a mean time between failures (MTBF) of approximately eight years when operating around the clock

Additionally, robots are basically maintenance-free, yet when an issue does arise, the monitoring system quickly identifies the problem with specific reference to the location and fix required.

Robotic systems generally require much less space than their hard-automation alternatives, and today’s systems are highly flexible and feature quick, tool-free changeovers in many instances. Also, packaging robots feature more intuitive software systems that allow for easily programming new baked foods for picking and placing.

Robotic applications in packaging continue to expand as bakeries and the suppliers who integrate them into bakeries become more comfortable with their technology and abilities.

Articulating-arm robots for basket loading

Designed for increased layout flexibility, AMF Bakery Systems’ articulating-arm basket and case loaders feature 4-axis robots. Auto-adjusting product guides and backpressure-managed indexing conveyors feed products to the loaders, which can also insert U boards into cases as needed. Application-specific end-of-arm tools can pick products using an infinite number of patterns without tool changes. Also, the company’s patent-pending Automated Motion Optimizer software package eliminates the need for teach pendants. (+1) 804 355 7961

Delta robots for primary packaging

Designed for flexibility, high-speed delta robots from BluePrint Automation can be integrated into a wide variety of primary packaging lines. The robots pick “naked” products and place them into cartons, trays or flow wrapper infeed chains. Delta robots can pick and place almost any horizontal pattern, and machine vision systems scan incoming products and send position and orientation data to the delta robots. The delta robots are driven by servo motors and controlled by state-of-the-art motion controllers. (+1) 804 520 5400

Changeovers in 5 minutes or less

Paloma-D3 pick-and-place robots from Bosch Packaging Technology align and place products into cartons, cases or trays. Constructed from stainless steel, the robotic packaging line meets current hygiene standards and regulations for food handling. Tool-free changeable form sets make changeovers of less than 5 minutes possible. Bosch also manufactures 1- and 2-arm robot cells, depending on the line’s capacity. (+49) 711 811 57255

Quick-change end effectors

Colborne Foodbotics designs and manufactures robotic systems for many pick-and-pack applications such as depanning, line balancing, sandwich production, stack and wrap infeeds, and carton loading. Its Robotic BBL systems supported by pattern optimization analysis and justification programs provide bakeries with the opportunity to lower costs throughout the packaging and distribution system. Its robotic systems incorporate technology to make them highly flexible, and changeovers can take less than 2 minutes using its automatic tool change systems. (+1) 847 371 0101

Robotics for artisan bread

De La Ballina Industries offers patented solutions for counting, inspecting and packaging artisan-style breads. Its system optimizes packing of rustic products using multiple-articulation robots. A conventional and universal counting system sums long breads such as baguettes or small products accurately. The company also combines robotic and universal solutions to reduce capital investment by limiting the number of robots. (+33) 5 65 65 19 05

Bar loading robot cell

Despite its compact footprint, Delkor Systems’ new robotic loader places up to 400 bars per minute picking up multiple bars at a time and putting them into a single or multiple layers in cartons. The robot cell’s articulating end-of-arm tools are designed to gently yet accurately control the bars during loading. Cartons are precisely indexed into the cell and positioned for loading via servo-driven side belts. Completely tool-free changeovers can be performed in less than 5 minutes. (+1) 763 783 0855

Robotic tray loading

Customized to a bakery’s specific needs, AutoOp state-of-the-art vision-guided robot systems from LeMatic, Inc. improve product consistency by automatically rejecting substandard baked foods. The lines incorporate the company’s AutoEye top and bottom inspection system, and the AutoOp counts, groups and sorts conveyorized baked goods so they can be high-speed picked and placed into cartons for packaging. LeMatic’s robotic systems are easily integrated with higher level controls and information systems. (+1) 517 787 3301

Source:  Baking & Snack International

Cool hunting – IT & Marketing Manager Ferré & Consulting Group