Occam’s Razor suggests that sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer. However, as industry professionals know, in the world of robotics it’s just as often that the easiest solution is not the best solution. In the case of Consumers Co-operative Refineries Ltd., the standard robotic vacuum palletizing system wasn’t going to work with their product. In order to solve CCRL’s palletization predicament, RIA Integrator Flexicell manufactured a different system of palletization.
Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor — Packaging Digest
After investigating conventional palletizers, the company decided to go to a robotic system. Their palletizing system needed to be capable of handling two different products-cases and 5-gal plastic pails-simultaneously.
The robotic palletizer handles different size cases and 5-gal plastic pails— simultaneously. When changing case sizes, the operator selects the proper case size from the menu on the HMI, which adjusts the individual vacuum zones to match the case size.ereas cases are typically picked up by vacuum because their surfaces are flat, the pails have multiple fixtures on the lid, which disrupt the vacuum. This meant that another method would have to be used, such as mechanical jaws.
Also, the cases come in varying sizes. While only one case size runs at a time, CCRL could not afford any downtime between different products. A changeover had to happen quickly, meaning that the robot’s gripper needed to handle different case sizes on demand, while still being capable of moving the pails. This flexibility required a sophisticated end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) design.
To read the rest of the article at Packaging Digest, featuring RIA Integrator Flexicell, RIA supplier FANUC Robotics America Corp, and MCA Supplier Rockwell Automation, click here. When have you had to look beyond the standard answer to find a solution for a difficult problem?