"We found customers are looking for a single, automated end-of-line solution that is as focused as possible," said Pete Squires, vice president of controls at Schneider. "The robotic packer-palletiser loads, labels, scans and palletises cases with a single robotic arm. This increases automation while maintaining a small footprint, thereby, saving plant floor space."
The robotic packer-palletiser features a 5-axis Motoman robot with XRC controller, capable of moving up to 176 lbs. The machine's compact footprint allows for pallet sizes of up to 48" x 48" and unit loads up to 72" high.
Capable of running single line applications, the robotic packer-palletiser's production rates depend on numerous factors, including the product being packaged, the number of products per case and pallet patterns. The custom designed End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) is flexible enough to "grab" and pack various size objects, including boxes, bags, bundles, bales, cans, bottles and jars.
The robotic packer-palletiser has a programmable Allen Bradley Logix controller with a touch screen operator interface, making changeovers easy. The machine features a product and case infeed conveying system, enabling simple integration with other equipment.
Cases are automatically erected, and the EOAT places product into the case. Cases are then sealed both top and bottom with tape or glue. The EOAT then labels, scans and palletises the case onto a fixed pallet station, all with the same robot.
"We have designed the robotic packer-palletiser to supply as much functionality as possible with a single robot," said Paul Burdick, director of sales and marketing. "This solution represents a subset of Schneider's overall end-of-line automation capabilities."
Schneider manufactures a complete line of case packers, tray packers, and case erectors along with robotic palletising systems. The company also offers a variety of ancillary equipment such as cartoners, conveyors, pallet dispensers, shuttle cars, and elevators, that can be integrated with coding/labelling equipment, product code scanners, weight checking, and stretch or shrink wrapping equipment to provide a complete system solution.
Traceability is of course an important consideration for food and beverage manufacturers. Stringent legislation, consumer concerns about food safety and growing pressure from retailers have forced food manufacturers to look at every possible means of ensuring traceability and efficiency throughout the supply chain.
Legislation has been a significant driver. The recent US Bioterrorism Act and forthcoming EU legislation on traceability have added to the pressure on manufacturers to get their house in order and be able to trace products right through the chain. The problem traditionally has been a lack of investment in the food production sector.
This is now beginning to happen on the manufacturing side, through tracking and tracing and through closer collaboration with retailers. Industry experts believe that over the next few years, manufacturers will have achieved significantly tighter control over their processing and packaging operations.