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Efficient robot system increased line speed by 25 per cent

Challenge

Calypso Soft Drinks, a leading manufacturer of packaged soft drinks, wanted to automate their carton packing and palletizing operations - quite a complex task, with 56 pack variations demanding three different pallet stacking patterns.

Solution

Three robotic turnkey systems were developed and supplied by MOTOMAN: One cell placed 200 ml six-packs and couplets into cartons as they came off the filling line, with a flexibility to pack the 200 ml six-packs at a density of four packs per box, and the couplets at a density of five layers of 20 per box. Specified packing time was four seconds per box for the six-packs. An additional requirement for the couplets was the insertion of a cardboard separator between each of five layers; around 20 seconds/box is allowed on this product. A second cell on the same line stacked the cartons from the cup line onto pallets, with a maximum case weight of 12 kg for the cuplet boxes. Alongside this installation is the palletising cell for the Tetrapak line. This is the most complicated of the three MOTOMAN-supplied systems as the robot needs to service up to three process lines simultaneously and in all there are 56 pack variations that demand three different pallet stacking patterns. It does this using an ingenious marshalling system, which is operated by the incoming trays, each of which has a product-specific barcode. Once the barcode is read by an integral reader, an electro mechanical path selection system directs the tray onto a designated pick-up conveyor. As soon as there are three trays on an infeed conveyor, an optical switch calls up the robot which lifts the trays, placing two in their designated position and leaving the third in a convenient pick-up position. When it next visits the same pallet, the robot again places two trays and makes up a third pair with the previously-deposited tray, placing that pair also. Programming the movements in this way offers the most efficient pallet stacking routine and appears strangely human-like. As with the pallet stacking robot on the cup line, pallet replacement is incorporated into the cell.

Results

“The system operates extremely well,” said factory engineering manager Chris Edwards. “Whereas keeping up with production on cuplet packing used to be a problem, the robots have allowed us to increase the speed of the line by 25 per cent. On the cuplets, presentation of the box is critical because we are dealing with individual product, so the robots are programmed to spiral as they place the product to ensure that the box sides do not hinder clean placement. This sort of versatility is something that we have come to appreciate as the project has progressed.” Mr Edwards related, “When the robot cells initially arrived on the shop floor I found it difficult to see how we were going to benefit. However, once I had completed the Motoman training course and began to gain some programming experience as we developed the application, it began to make a lot of sense. It is actually quite easy to teach the robot what to do and it is also very satisfying.” Results Increased line speed: 25 per cent

Efficient robot system increased line speed by 25 per cent

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Short Facts

Customer

Calypso Soft Drinks

Product

Food & beverage

Country

UK

Installation Year

Industry

Food & beverage

Application

Packaging Palletizing

System Components

Two SV-3 robots
Palletizing robot
Specially designed gripper

Contact

MOTOMAN Robotics UK Ltd
Phone: +44 1295 272 755
Fax: +44 1295 267 127

Email: information@motoman.co.uk
www.motoman.eu