Robotic case packer offers flexibility for production lines

Robot head

South Australian-based machine builders HMPS was recently commissioned to design and automate a complete system for a flatbread producer

Four different-sized flatbreads needed to be packed in five different-sized stacks. This needed to be done to fit the customer’s existing carton range and the application required a cycle rate of up to 110 packs per minute. In addition, it needed to adhere to food safety requirements and remain flexible with little operator involvement.

The expert team at HMPS realised that the biggest challenge would be the variety of product sizes and packing formations, together with the varying weights and the speed that they needed to achieve.

Taking all of this into consideration, the team opted for its HMPS6000 Robotic RSC Casepacker as the solution. The case packer was specially designed to pack wrapped flatbreads into RSC cases.

“We partnered with pioneering technology leader, ABB on this project to ensure that we used a high-quality robot which delivered on superior speed and range,” said Mark Nicholls, Victoria and Tasmania area manager for HMPS. “Bags enter the RSC Casepacker in single file and are then picked and placed individually into cases using an ABB Flex Picker Robot System.”

The RSC Casepacker is made up of key elements that includes four flex pickers, infeed conveyors, magazine and erecting arms, an overhead transfer conveyor, a product merging system, outfield conveyors, hot-melt system, a main cabinet, an operator panel, overflow chutes, an ABB robotic case packer as well as ABB robotic palletises with a pallet dispenser and pallet wrapper.

It offers flexibility due to packing combinations of the all-in-one machine. Easy change-over between settings. Each piece of equipment (flow wrappers, conveyors etc.) will be linked to the next upstream or downstream piece so that a controlled stop or start may be initiated. Each piece of equipment has its own HMI – each controlling the equipment to which it is mounted.

Catering to the requirements of Industry 4.0, this unit offers Devicenet/Ethernet compatibility and provides feedback on faults and run rates via a PLC and Scada System. This allows for traceability.