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Motoman Robot Case Packing

ACS-058.jpgPET Bottles

Highly flexible system met project challenges and cycle time rates. System packs bottles into cases in any combination of neck up, neck down or flat orientation. System can pick 4-12 bottles per row. Two quantities can be processed without changeover (ex. alternating rows of 6 and 7 bottles in one layer). Case conveyors handle over 7 empty and 7 full cases per lane to minimize need for operator to be on hand.

Project Challenges

  • Robot will pick and place a row of PET bottles into a case in 4.8-5.2 seconds, and a tier sheet (if needed) in 5.0 seconds. Full cases will transfer out in 5.0 seconds.
  • Maximize throughput by eliminating downtime; reduce costs by improving productivity/flexibility and reducing need for manual labor.
  • Improve quality and eliminate bottle marring/denting.
  • System will handle a variety of case sizes and PET bottles. Bottle placement in the cases can be any combination of neck up, neck down or flat.

Motoman Robotics Solution

Motoman Robotics provided a custom UP50 case packing solution that serves two bottle lines, including:

  • Motoman UP50 robot with XRC 2001 controller.
  • Trapezoidal straddle base for mounting robot above case conveyors.
  • Allen-Bradley SLC 5/03 PLC package with Uticor HMI.
  • (2) Bottle infeed conveyors – table-top chain: one 3.66-m (12 ft) L and one 4.88-m (16 ft) L. – Bladder part escapements and end gates. – Retractable side rail when invert packing bottles. – Multiple intermediate air-actuated bottle stop separation devices. – Photo eyes for part metering/sensing down bottle conditions.
  • (2) Empty case vacuum stations.
  • (2) Case conveyors – 5.17-m (17 ft) lineshaft type, with: – Case tilt mechanism. – (2) Air-actuated blade stops.
  • (1) Custom end-of-arm tool – multifunction vacuum gripper handles 4-12 bottles per pick and slip sheets, as required.
  • Slip-sheet rack.
  • Cell guarding package, including: – Wire perimeter fence with dual-channel safety hardware. – Three-color system status beacon with audible alarm. – Two access gates with positive break safety switches. – Two conveyor pass-through openings, protected by three-sided enclosures, to limit operator’s reach into the cell.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

Motoman Robotics provided a custom multifunction gripper that uses off-the-shelf components and has manually adjusted vacuum cup spacing to handle the different bottle widths and types. Robot can pick 4-12 bottles at a time. Once quantity is set, number of bottles being picked can vary automatically by up to three to allow for different quantities between rows without changeover. Gripper sensors verify that no bottles have been dropped during packing. System notifies operator and stages questionable cases to prevent a mixed-ware situation. Once the bottle is picked, gripper can place the bottle neck up, neck down or flat while in motion. Gripper also inserts slip-sheets between the layers, as required.

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