Case Studies / Palletizing / Cases of Candy

Motoman Robots PalletizingSystems meet or exceed all customer requirements, and palletize one to four cases at a time to create required stacking patterns, adding slip sheets, as required. Systems handle 149 different SKUs and can handle up to 255, which exceeds current requirements by 40%. Highly flexible robotic systems easily accommodate changeover between batch runs, new stacking patterns, changes in case size, etc.

Project Challenges

  • Pick cases from one of four existing infeed conveyors and place them onto pallets on corresponding existing pallet conveyors.
  • Handle a wide variety of product cases and slip sheets, as required. Cases range from 251-673 mm L x 135-417 mm W x 79-384 mm H (9.9"-26.5" L x 5.3"-16.4" W x 3.1"-15.1" H) and weigh approximately 2.0-28.2 kg (4.4-62.2 lbs).
  • Build a wide variety of patterns. Of the 149 active SKUs, 125 are column-stacked patterns and 24 have the top layer rotated 180° to interlock the load; only 17 receive an intermediate tier-sheet; and all receive a base slip-sheet on the empty pallet.
  • Systems must be able to pick and place one to four cases or a slip-sheet in approximately 8.5-9.0 seconds. Current production rate for each palletizing cell averages 8 cpm.

Motoman Robotics Solution

Motoman Robotics provided four identical custom EPL160 palletizing solutions, interfaced to the existing control system. Each cell includes:

  • Motoman EPL160 “Expert Palletizing” robot with NX100 controller.
  • PCI Ethernet/IP board.
  • Custom palletizing software.
  • Custom end-of-arm tool – four-zone vacuum gripper.
  • Collision detection device.
  • Cell guarding that meets ANSI/RIA 15.06-1999 safety standard, including 3.05-m (10') H woven-wire safety fence; (2) personnel access gates: (2) self-muting light grids; a single pass-through opening for four infeed conveyors, plus two openings for two sets of outfeed conveyors, all protected by three-sided enclosures; and dual-channel safety hardware.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

End-of-arm tooling provided by Motoman consists of four-zone vacuum grippers with variable-speed vacuum pumps that are used to handle product and slip sheets. Grippers include pneumatics package and vacuum on/off sensors, as well as a laser sensor used to find the height of the slip sheet stack.

Ref: ACS-122

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