Fanuc Robotics America said its five-axis M-430iA/2F food robot is capable of picking and packing products such as individual muffins at speeds up to 120 cycles per minute on a continuous basis while using visual line tracking.
The demand for faster line speeds, lower labour costs and greater flexibility in handling multiple packaging formats has pushed the food industry toward greater automation. As part of that demand plants are deploying more robotic systems, mainly for the packaging end of the business.
It is the fastest robot ever designed by the company, and has set a new speed record for articulated robots of 120 cycles per minute at a one kg payload, and 100 cycles per minute at a two kg payload, said Sumeet Vispute, Fanucs' product manager for the company's picking, packing, and palletising unit in the US.
Fanuc's V-500iA/2DV visual line tracking software allows the robot to select randomly oriented food products from a pickconveyor at those speeds. The M-430iA/2F then drops product onto an outbound conveyor where product is collated intothe groups required for packaging a particular product.
"As global competition increases, companies are looking for solutions that will help themminimise costs, maximise production efficiency, and reduce labour requirements," saidVispute.
In addition, the new robot is compact, and can be mounted in a variety of positions, includingthe floor, wall or invert. Such flexibility increases the options managers have in using tightworkspaces, he said.
"Our food customers came to us with specific needs for high-speed operation, increased flexibility, and cleanliness standards, and the M-430iA/2F robot meets those needs and more," saidVispute.
The M-430iA has been designed to reduce food particle retention areas and to resist bacteria growth and rust.Fanuc designed the picker with a hollow arm to prevent exposure of the air line and electric cables.
The picker is capable of working with unpackaged products and packaged food products. It uses food-gradegrease during operation. It has achieved the IP67 industry standard, a certification for machinesthat can withstand caustic food industry cleaners used in food plant washdown operations.
In addition to food, the M-430iA/2F intelligent robot can handle beverages, candy, medical devices, cosmetics, household products, office supplies, andother consumer products, the company stated.