The End of the Line for Automated Manufacturing

The ability to obtain Automated Manufacturing solutions from a single supplier lowers production costs and boosts productivity.

With packaging prices reaching 40% of Automated Manufacturing expenses and the high cost of complying with food safety regulations, food and beverage manufacturers and distributors are increasingly relying on automated systems. Among their requirements are turnkey solutions, flexible automation that can adapt to changing responsibilities, complex packaging materials, faster product cycles, and working circumstances that range from sterile to freezing temperatures.

Loaves of bread, individual chocolates, steak, pig, and cheeses are all handled by robots. All food-handling robots must be sanitary and able to withstand routine cleaning and sanitization procedures. They must move unstructured objects such as individual candies from one conveyor belt to another and arrange them in a suitable manner for insertion into outer packaging while moving at breakneck speeds.

A vision system is required to survey the conveyor and locate the objects in the proper location. Robots are controlled by vision systems, which employ strategically placed cameras to provide a steady stream of data to the controller.

In addition to glass and metal, end effectors near and at the line must be able to work with paper, thin mylar, and woven fabric bags as well as the usual materials. Moving goods in bags, for example, makes the packing and palletizing steps more difficult, but robots can easily handle packaged products with a suction attachment, saving time and money. It is possible to increase productivity by up to 20% above human workers when palletizing automation is used correctly.

Palletizing at a factory or warehouse is a time-consuming task. A variety of items require stretch wrap, and while the flimsy material is difficult to pick up, robots are successful in using vacuum attachments to take up the material. When handling heavy bagged commodities such as rice or other grains, it is necessary to use a gripper that captures the outer of the bag with tines and keeps the top of the bag in place with a cylindrical design. Rather than stacking bags on top of one other, the robot constructs a pyramid of parcels, with packages spread out on the lower tiers and closer together near the top. Canning cans and bottles, on the other hand, require specific handling if they tip over or become stuck.

Heavy crates are ideal for loading by a robot equipped with a vacuum gripper, but they are extremely dangerous for humans to handle. This is especially true when containers need to be piled on top of one another.

Distributors must depalletize products Automated Manufacturing that have been palletized by manufacturers in order to fulfil orders from grocery stores or chain stores. Because a warehouse’s product inventory dwarfs even a large order, distribution automation must be able to remove one layer of palletized products without causing disruption to the layers below it to function properly. When putting together a palletized order, distributors must deal with a variety of pallets containing different products and cases.

Manufacturers require a robotics portfolio that includes applications requiring low to high payloads, position repeatability, reach, stacking precision, cold climate operation, waterproofing, and hygienic settings, among other features. For applications that handle food in a variety of shapes and sizes, multi-axis kinematics as well as various mounting configurations are required.

Out of need, the food and beverage industry requires easy integration and user-friendly automation software in addition to robot flexibility. Objects must be recognised in a smooth and automatic manner regardless of their orientation. Specifically, this includes automatically designing both the robot code and robot behaviour.

Automated systems that require multiple reach, payload, and other attributes are best handled by robot manufacturers who offer an extensive product line.

Cold, sanitary environments, and washdown requirements are common in food and beverage manufacturing; system integrators must be familiar with best practises in this area, which is particularly prevalent in the dairy business. All dairy products must be kept chilled; however, some must be frozen while others do not require freezing.

Complex palletizing and stacking solutions necessitate extensive knowledge and experience in situations where items and patterns change on a regular basis. In order to begin, determine the types and sizes of robots that will be most appropriate for each individual production line.

Production expenses for food and beverage operations, from manufacture to distribution, can be reduced by sourcing automation solutions from a single supplier.