Automation offers cost, energy and labor savings
Automated machinery isn’t that new, but the options and upgrades it includes sure are. From working on its own like all-in-one machines to knowing what to pick and place in a tray with varied products by robots using vision systems, there is surely something out there for your processing and packaging facility.
In this equipment roundup, we selected some of the recent launches to show what’s out on the street now ― and what you might want as part of your production process. Many of the machines listed here debuted at Pack Expo International in late October. Don’t be left in the proverbial dust. It’s time to get connected.
Festo exhibited its new Festo Automation Experience (AX), an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for predictive maintenance, predictive quality and energy optimization. Using advanced analytics, Festo AX maps data to learn a component, machine, product or energy system’s healthy state. Festo AX provides actionable information to correct anomalies when data begins trending out of normal.
This new solution improves machine utilization and quality, lowers waste and ensures energy optimization. It provides a bridge between advanced analytics arising from operational technology and IT-based business intelligence. Festo AX gives companies a tool to be more competitive and sustainable. It also provides original equipment manufacturers with a notable differentiator for their machines and systems.
The latest factory automation technology from Bosch Rexroth was showcased at PACK EXPO in a multi-technology demo integrating several automation technologies. The company simulated a pick-and-place CPG application using several technologies from its Factory Automation portfolio.
A lightweight, maneuverable Kassow Robot picked up product from a moving VarioFlow plus conveyor to place it on a pallet. VarioFlow plus conveyors are suitable for CPG applications because the plastic chain surface is nearly closed, allowing even the smallest of parts to be transported safely and reliably. Once the pallet is full, Rexroth’s MP1000R AMR, made in collaboration with Geek+, moves the product to a storage location using Rexroth’s ROKIT Locator software. Navigating autonomously, the MP1000R brings a second pallet full of product back to the VarioFlow plus conveyor, where the Kassow Robot loads more boxes onto it.
Also, a new, scalable and app-based Rexroth ctrlX AUTOMATION platform can be applied in a packaging line to reduce component and engineering costs by 30%-50%.
The 424 series wraparound case packer by SOMIC Packaging produces up to 25 cases per minute, utilizing what SOMIC Packaging CEO Peter Fox describes as the ultimate in space-saving simplicity and ensuring a smooth operation.
The compact 424 W3 case packer was designed for collating, grouping and packaging products in wraparound cases, folding cases, display cases and open cases as well as open or covered trays. Developed for a wide range of products and case models, the Wraparound Packer SOMIC 424 W3 is equipped with individually produced format tools, providing nearly unlimited flexibility when it comes to developing solutions for your packaging requirements.
Movicon.NExT HMI/SCADA is a modular, scalable platform that goes beyond SCADA to solve automation problems for both CPGs and original OEMs, from the single-machine level to a complete plantwide industrial internet of things (IIoT) project implementation.
Among Movicon.NExT modules, Movicon Pro.Lean provides performance data and analytics for evaluations of OEE, Movicon Pro.Energy measures and tracks consumption, while the advanced Movicon NExT.AR solves operational problems through visualization tools that allow personnel to evaluate previously unreachable equipment. For maximum flexibility, Emerson also provides Movicon WebHMI, an HTML5-based visualization tool that can be used as a stand-alone HMI product running on Windows or Linux operator panels, or as a Web Client for Movicon.NExT SCADA applications, as well as Connext, an industrial protocol gateway.
Three problems facing the fruit, veg and potato sectors are blockages, variations in product quality and human error. Bühler’s new SORTEX Monitoring System (SMS) offers increased performance visibility and reduces risk with remote real-time monitoring. At-a-glance dashboards give a comprehensive yet straightforward overview of the sorting performance of each optical sorter. A variety of customizable alarms can notify the customer of production anomalies.
SMS provides an overview of the key performance indicators of a Bühler SORTEX machine and delivers actionable insights to increase productivity, yield and efficiency. The monitoring system allows for full remote traceability, greater efficiency and an improved yield with a Bühler optical sorter.
Sidel has created a state-of-the- art end-of-line solution for a French winemaker. The new packing solution, offering automatic changeovers, enables the customer to increase production capacity and keep pace with growing sales. Sidel’s complete and automated solution is enabling outputs of 14,000 bottles per hour. The combination of the Sidel Cermex FlexiPack auto-adjustable case packer, DiviArm distributor and the PalVite palletizer offers maximum flexibility with rapid format changeovers, as well as guaranteed reliability and bottle protection.
The packer allows fast and seamless changeovers in just a few minutes due to the automatic adjustment of lanes and gripping head. It also enables easy creation of new formats directly from a human-machine interface (HMI). The DiviArm solution allows a smooth lane distribution of the bottles at the infeed, preventing shocks. The compact PalVite 4000 is almost entirely controlled from the HMI, from format changeovers, requiring only one manual adjustment of the case turner at the palletizer infeed, to the creation of new patterns.
ProMach brands Quest, Wexxar Bel and Bartelt debuted an integrated flexible pouch packaging line at PACK EXPO. The integrated pouch packaging line features a Quest Quik Pack QP200-AV2 robotic case packer (pictured) and a Quest Box Bot QB333 robotic palletizer. The Quik Pack pick-and-place robotic case-packing solution is optimized for products in flexible packaging. The system can identify, orientate and load a wide variety of package types into both retail and shipping-style secondary packaging containers.
Stand-up pouches are produced and filled on the Bartelt horizontal bagging machine. The pouches then flow automatically to the Quest Quik Pack robotic case packer. which loads the bags into the case based on the case pack pattern configured through the QPack case packing software. Empty cases are supplied by the Wexxar WF-20 case former and sealed by the Bel 252 sealer. The sealed cases are then picked up by Quest Box Bot which palletizes them based on the pallet pattern configured in the QBox palletizing software. The advantage of this line is high automation and the ability to accomplish several tasks in a very small footprint.
The PackPoint automated packaging system combines five job functions into one, providing forming, packing, sealing, printing and labeling all in one compact, streamlined unit. Configured to match production requirements, this system can be integrated with a robotic picking and packing technology to increase efficiency.
Constructed of steel, PackPoint systems are manufactured with built-in features to optimize production. From on-demand case sensors to chain and lug drives, the system components help provide reliable performance and continuous operation. PackPoint is available in semiautomatic and automatic models, PackPoint systems are configured to match production requirements and can easily be adapted to changes in demand by switching out components.
The UR20 was reimagined, redesigned and rebuilt. Every detail from software to end caps has been architected to deliver next-generation performance and quality, complementing Universal Robots’ e-Series. UR20 is not just a bigger version of existing UR cobots; it’s the cobot redefined, boasting an all-new joint design that increases all joint torques approximately 25% and joint speeds by as much as 65% with an increase in TCP speed of 100% (2 m/s vs. 1 m/s).
The UR20 can handle up to 20 kg with a greater reach of (1750 mm). It’s the lightest robot on the market in its payload and reach class, weighing only 64 kg with a small footprint (Ø 245 mm). The improvements in UR cobot performance include overall motion control capabilities and more than 30% increase in speed and torque. The small footprint of the new UR20 results in a remarkably compact installation, optimizing utilization of the workspace. The corresponding image shows the new UR20 cobot in Robotiq’s Palletizing Solution.
The automated Double Wicketed Bagger doubles output in the same small footprint as the FSWB3 Single Wicketed Bagger. Engineered for food safety, it is easy to clean and service. The FSDWB3 Bagger has a unique horizontal and vertical feed belt that eliminates jamming before it starts.
The Double Bagger includes a central weigher, which can be made smaller or bigger depending on what’s necessary for the produce at hand. Wicketed baggers can run 17-21 bags per minute, and Double Wicketed Baggers can now run double that number of bags using the same side. It is made with full polished stainless steel, has a touchscreen for program storage, an adjustable bag feed belt, three quick-change infeed can sizes and more. The Double Wicketed Bagger works with poly, poly/mesh combo or full mesh wicketed bags.
At PACK EXPO 2022, KUKA Robotics showcased its new complete, end-to-end process automation multi-robot cell for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. The solution features completely integrated automation, including three KUKA robots, an autonomous mobile platform and advanced vision software.
The KR 3 DELTA hygienic robot provides outstanding performance and value for pick-and-place applications for the food, packaging and other industries. The ultra-compact KR 6 SCARA with a 6-kg payload offers reach/radius options of 500 and 700 mm and a Z-axis stroke of 2 mm. Both robots were paired with KUKA.VisionTech that provides powerful tools for 2D object recognition and quality control as well as code and optical character recognition.
KUKA’s six-axis KR 6 AGILUS is designed for particularly high working speeds, boasts a 10-kg payload and comes in a wide range of variants. Working with the three cell-based robots and completing the end-to-end solution was KUKA’S KMR iiwa that combines the sensitive, autonomous KUKA LBR iiwa lightweight robot with a mobile, flexible platform.