Tech-Con Automation, source for robotic material handling solutions, pallet-based assembly lines, robotic waterjet cutting and cleaning systems and general industrial automation equipment, walks us through a case study with a food manufacturer with multiple carton sizes palletized from two different in-feed lines.
The end user wanted to automatically feed pallet and cartons to loading locations and they only had forklift operators to supply and take-away pallets. With these needs in mind, Tech-Con took a look at the cell requirements and created a solution.
It was determined that the margarine manufacturer could use one robot to keep both lines running at the same through-put. Different stacking configurations were established to fit each line’s carton into the appropriate pallet in the best way, and both the heavy and light corrugated divider slip sheets could be picked using vacuum technology combined with mechanical clamping which ensures stability during case transfer at high speeds.
By utilizing zero back-pressure CDLRs on incoming cartons, the incoming boxes could be buffered without maintaining large buffer areas. They did this while making sure little to no boxes were not damaged. By using a single-pallet shrink-wrapper on a single out-going conveyor, the cost of a duplicate wrapper was avoided, and floor space needs were reduced.
And, they didn’t forget about the forklift drivers—using a dual pallet de-stacker with pallet-feed conveyor enabled the operators to place a stack of pallets into the de-stacker magazine for each of the two different-sized pallets.
The company’s website says of the project, moving from a manual operation to a robotic one reduced injury and eliminated repetitive strain issues, and by combining the lines into one, the amount of floor space used was reduced. Going forward, Tech-Con’s client only requires one robot and tool, a significant bottom-line savings which makes the company more competitive and capable of gaining more orders.