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Palletizing takes a positive turn

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Date Published:12/3/2008 11:12:14 AM

A robotic palletizer features a 'positive turning' infeed system to transfer and turn packs to form pallet patterns

A robotic palletizer features a 'positive turning' infeed system to transfer and turn packs to form pallet patterns

PACKAGING plays a large role in the environmental impact of non-biodegradable materials and at times is accused of being the chief culprit behind their proliferation. Consequently, the industry is changing its ways as the need to reduce waste becomes increasingly important. The current trend in the beverage sector is for lighter bottles. Add to this the demands of major retailers for the reduction or even elimination of secondary packaging (the film around the packs and the pads between the pallet layers) and for more varied bottle and pack sizes. Mainly driven by the demands of large retailers for more varied, small-sized packs, secondary packaging is also feeling the pressure to reduce or even eliminate the film around packs as well as the pads between pallet layers. End-of-line equipment is in full development to keep pace with the latest requirements of the beverage market. To reconcile less robust packing with an increasing demand for flexibility, Sidel has created a state-of-the-art application for the preparation of pallet layers that will replace the conventional collision system of layer formation, where the rotation of the pack is caused by impact.

Reductions in damage

The robotic palletizing system is known as a "positive turning" system because packs are not turned by impact with a device in their path as with a conventional collision system. The surface of the conveyor is flat, which prevents the packs from wobbling and reduces the risk of them falling over, thus considerably reducing the risk of damage. This flat mat conveyor feeds the packs, moving at pre-set speeds and spaced a specific distance apart, so that one or more lateral robots can position them. The robot is fitted with grips, which seize the pack and position it as it moves forward. The grip system moves and/or turns the packs while never leaving the surface of the conveyor and positions them in such a way as to perfectly reproduce the predefined pallet pattern. The robot's special end effector turns the packs and positions them to create the correct pallet pattern. Here's how it works: the robot lowers the effector over the pack as it moves forward. At the same time, two flaps grip the sides of the pack and displace and/or turn it, as directed by the program, on the mat conveyor.

Greater versatility

The new robotic application system can be used for packs of PET bottles, glass bottles or cans. This greatly increases flexibility for production that requires frequent format changeovers. The state-of-the-art application achieves the transfer and turning packs to form pallet patterns with the following benefits: ?Perfectly stable packs greatly minimize the risk of damage. The flat conveyor surface ensures that the packs never wobble, and the risk of toppling over is negligible. ?The packs are positioned precisely at the point established by the chosen pallet pattern. This means that as they turn the packs are no longer free-moving but fully guided and controlled. ?The machine layout is extremely simple and gives the operator complete freedom of movement. ?Streamlined mechanics and software mean that the transfer and turning of packs takes place in a single step by means of one or more robots. The system requires far fewer drives and pneumatic cylinders, and consequently, the software on the operator control panel is much simpler. ?Format changeovers are simple and fast. While the conventional system requires a series of manual operations on the machine, the new application affords the opportunity for automatic changeovers from the control panel. This is a very important advantage, especially given the increasing use of robot islands offerinNike Air Max 2017

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