With shelf space at a premium, the increased demand for shelf-ready packaging from the major retailers has significantly increased the pressure on existing production facilities as manufacturers strive to meet the challenge.
CKF Systems Ltd, the Gloucestershire robotics and automation specialists, recognised the need to automate this operation and developed a fully automated low-cost robot case packing system. The integrated system eliminates the need for manual packing and improves reliability, operates within a confined space; increasing flexibility and future proofing.
The Robotic Packing cell uses an ABB 6 axis robot at the heart of the innovative new modular system: the robot is equipped with modular grippers for easy format changes. The system places packs into cases in a ‘penny stack’ configuration for optimum in-store presentation and with the ability to handle a range of weights and pack sizes with minimal changeover. It also enables the integration of case handling and labelling within the robot cell.
Product infeed conveyors from existing checkweighers are complimented by a product conditioning and collation system for robot pick and box handling conveyors including auto flap control and closing. Integrated Case sealing and labelling and an intuitive HMI system ensure a simple product selection, easy operation and fast error diagnosis.
“We initially undertook a series of trials at our factory to prove the concept and once built we followed this with extensive factory testing with various products,” explains Ian Schofield, Sales Manager, CKF Systems Ltd. “This enabled us to refine the design and identify change parts to maximise different pack configurations.”
“The benefits should be immediate and substantial,” continues Ian. “Production output will substantially increase through day in day out consistency. The robots offer much greater flexibility and quality control. One of our customers has already noted Health and Safety benefits by eliminating the repetitive action of manual high speed packing and reducing the number of operations in one place.”