A transfer robot integrated with a case packing robot create a high-speed case packing system for light-weight products.
In this month’s product highlight, we are going to focus on a very important aspect of a recent case packing project–the transfer robot. Bastian Robotics developed a robotic case packing system that required the orientation of the product to be changed 90° from the production line prior to inserting it into the case. Given the high system production rate, a standard pusher could not maintain the orientation of the product due to its odd-shaped packaging and light weight.
Through preliminary testing, the use of a pusher exhibited issues by knocking over and spinning product as it was being transferred between conveyor lines. To solve the issue, Bastian Robotics utilized a FANUC 5-axis LR Mate Robot to pick two products off of the Dorner infeed conveyor and place them onto the outbound transfer conveyor.
The robot End of Arm Tool (EoAT) was designed with an array of vacuum cups to contact the product while maintaining packaging integrity. Four points of contact on the product provide stability as it is transferred between conveyor lines. Once placed on the transfer conveyer, the product advances forward on the belt.
A wedge located in the middle of the conveyor drives the products apart so the tabs of the product do not interlock and orientation is maintained. This process is repeated until enough products have been accumulated on the transfer conveyor to complete a full row in the case.
At this point, the second FANUC LR Mate Robot will pick up a row of product and place it in the case. Depending on the product that is running, the second robot will pick up either two or three products at a time.
During an End of Run, the first transfer robot will clear everything off the Dorner conveyor until the product detection PE is clear for ten seconds. The second case packing robot will pick all remaining rows of products on the transfer conveyor then wait for ten seconds and pick any remaining products regardless if there is a complete row. The cases will then be released, emptying out the entire cell.
This article is part of a monthly series highlighting new and interesting projects at Bastian Solutions’ robotics division in St. Louis, MO. For questions about this project or others, please contact us at [email protected].