Case Studies / Palletizing / Bags of Livestock Feed

Motoman Robot Handling and PalletizingRobot system meets all project goals and requirements. Robot palletizes individual singulated, pre-flattened bags (40 kg, 30 kg, and 20 kg) and meets required cycle time of 1,080 bags per hour. Robot provides improved productivity, reliable production, and tighter, more uniform and stable pallet loads in required patterns. Robot significantly decreases need for direct labor, while improving safety by reducing injuries.

Project Challenges

  • Fully automate bag palletizing process to reduce manual labor and improve safety by reducing lifting and repetitive motion injuries.
  • Improve productivity and maximize system throughput by eliminating down time.
  • Individually palletize singulated, pre-flattened bags and create more consistent, stable unit loads.
  • Achieve production rate of approximately 1,080 bags per hour (18 bags/minute). Minimum bag size is 630 mm L x 430 mm W x 150 mm H (24.8" x 16.9" x 5.9"). Maximum bag size is 830 mm L x 600 mm H x 250 mm L (32.7" x 23.6" x 9.8"). Normal bag weight is 40 kg (88.2 lbs), but the system must have flexibility to run 20 kg and 30 kg bags.
  • Plastic pallets are 1,700 mm L x 1,400 mm W x 139 mm H (66.9" L x 55.1" W x 5.5" H) and weigh 105 kg (231.5 lbs).
  • Five bags per layer will be palletized in a two-long x three-wide pattern. Bags will be stacked five layers high, with the stacking pattern alternating 180 degrees each layer. Slip-sheets are not used between layers. Orientation of the bag labels is not required; however, final sewn seam of each bag must point to inside of pallet on all layers.

Motoman Robotics Solution

Motoman Robotics provided a custom SP100X palletizing system, including:

  • Motoman SP100X robot with XRC 2001 robot controller. Robot base riser, S-axis hard stop, and DeviceNet PCI interface module are included.
  • (3) Bag infeed conveyors – (2) 1.52-m (5') L, 914.4 mm (36") W belt conveyors with centering mechanisms preceding a 1.22-m (4' L) chain-driven live-roller conveyor with fixed end-stop.
  • (3) Pallet conveyors – CDLR with 1.83-m (6') overall length, 1,473.2 mm (58") effective width; pop-up empty pallet blade stop and crowder; and fixed end-stop.
  • Automatic pallet dispenser
  • Controls package, including PLC and human-machine interface (HMI).
  • Custom end-of-arm tool – tine-style gripper with air-actuated inner guides for individual bag pick and place.
  • Cell guarding that meets ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999 safety standard. Includes: 3.66-m (12') H woven-wire perimeter fence; two access gates with positive-break safety switches and dual-channel hardware; conveyor pass-through opening, protected by three-sided enclosure to limit operator’s reach into the cell; and a self-muting light curtain assembly.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

Motoman Robotics provided custom end-of-arm tooling consisting of a mechanical tine-type fork gripper designed to individually pick and place bags. The gripper combs between conveyor rollers to lift bags and retracts during load building. An air-actuated bag hold-down mechanism activates during transport to center the bags and allow accurate placement. Sensors indicate gripper open/closed, bag holder mechanism on/off, and bag present conditions.

Ref: ACS-096

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