Case Studies / Palletizing / Cases and Trays of Powdered Baby Formula

Motoman Robot Handling and PalletizingRobot solution palletizes various sizes of product in cases or wrapped/ unwrapped trays onto pallets in required patterns. System also handles pallets and adds bottom, layer and top sheets, as required. Flexible system achieves required average combined production rate of 20 cpm. Usually picks cases/trays four at a time, but can pick and place asynchronously to easily create load pallets in designated patterns. Robotic palletizing solution improves productivity, reduces direct labor costs. Improves worker safety and reduces costly worker compensation claims due to lifting and repetitive motion injuries.

Project Challenges

  • Palletize cases and wrapped/unwrapped trays of powdered baby formula, handling cases, trays, slip-sheets and pallets, as required. Achieve combined cycle time of 20 cpm.
  • Palletize 8 oz, 16 oz, 25.7 oz and 36 oz product packaged six units to a case/tray. Individual cases/trays range in size from 312.7-406 mm L x 211.1-267 mm W x 87.3-187 mm H (12.3-16" L x 8.3-10.5" W x 3.4-7.4" H) and weigh approximately 1.4-6.1 kg (3-13.5 lbs) each.
  • Smaller (8 oz and 16 oz) product is palletized 20 per layer. Larger (25.7 oz and 36 oz) product is palletized 10 per layer.
  • Palletize product onto GMA-type or heat-treated pallets in loads up to 1,397 mm (55.0") H. Place slip-sheets between base pallet and bottom layer for both lines and on top of top layer for 8-oz trayed product.
  • Improve productivity and reduce direct labor costs. Improve worker safety and reduce injuries/compensation claims due to lifting and repetitive motion tasks.

Motoman Robotics Solution

Motoman Robotics provided a custom robotic palletizing solution, including:

  • Motoman EPL160 “Expert Palletizing” robot with NX100 controller.
  • Robot base riser.
  • Custom end-of-arm tool – paddle-style gripper.
  • Slip-sheet rack.
  • Case conveyor package for two infeed lines.
  • Bar code scanner.
  • Spiral lowerator.
  • (2) Pallet build stations.
  • Pallet conveyor package for exit line.
  • Main control panel cabinet for conveyor system, including Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PLC.
  • Cell guarding package that meets ANSI/RIA 15.06-1999 safety standard, including:
    • 3.05-m (10') H woven-wire safety fence;
    • (2) access gates and dunnage gate; (2) self-muting light grids;
    • (2) pass-through conveyor openings, protected by three-sided enclosures; and dual-channel safety hardware.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

Motoman Robotics provided a custom mechanical paddle-style gripper designed with the capability to pick and place individual cases/trays asynchronously, as required. It picks four cases/trays at a time for most patterns, but picks larger product two at a time for some patterns. Four pneumatically actuated paddle grippers adjust their spacing from the centerline to accommodate larger/smaller product. Robot uses a search sensor to find pallet and slip sheet stack heights. Retractable arms handle pallets. Grippers include open/closed sensors.

Ref: ACS-121

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