Both the robotic cartoner and the downstream Zero5 flow wrapper operating at interpack leverage ELAU's open architecture automation technology to optimize integration and achieve perfect synchronization -- without black box robot controllers.
Robot systems developed by Cavanna represent a technological leap and have been replacing systems based on fixed automation. The company established the 'Cartesio' division specifically to develop this cartoning solution.
In addition, the company launched an OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) capability that allows its customers to optimize up to 10 packaging systems together.
Technology integrates robotic and packaging automation
Fitted with up to three robots, the robotic island simultaneously erects four display cartons, places bakery products, chocolate bars or similar products in the cartons, then closes the cartons. The modular design also enables automation of selected processing steps, such as carton erecting/filling or filling/closing.
Leveraging the ELAU packaging automation technology was crucial. The system integrates motion, logic and robotic control in a standards-based platform that eliminates proprietary robot controllers that would have otherwise required separate programming and communications. The robots and machine functions are programmed in the same IEC 61131-3 compliant environment and driven by the same servo drives.
ELAU's software library comprises software modules that perform all common robotic kinematics. These software modules allowed Cavanna to develop its own robots without writing complex kinematic algorithms. In addition, the standardized control platform enables synchronization with the robotic island's infeed and conveyor systems and upstream and downstream flow wrappers without customized communications programming.
Fourth axis gives additional degree of freedom
At interpack 2008, the G35 robotic island again represented a highlight at the Cavanna booth. Replacement of intermittent carton transport with continuous motion during the filling process counts among the most significant upgrades. This was made possible by the integration of a fourth axis, which opens an additional degree of freedom for the head of the pick & place. It also simplifies presentation of the individual products.
Cavanna presented a G35 robotic island as the heart of a fully automatic inline-machine for primary and secondary packaging of wafer cookies of two different sizes (100 x 30 x 17 mm and 60 x 30 x 17mm). The line flow wrapped individual wafers, filled a display carton with 12 wafers each, then flow wrapped the open-top display multipack.
The packing line began with an upstream conveyor system that regulated flow of unwrapped product into parallel lanes. An integrated buffer system stacked 21 rows of 16 large products or 37 rows of smaller products. Next, the conveyor system transferred the products to a stream feeding system with multiple servo-driven conveyor belts that single laned the products into a horizontal Zero 5 flow wrapper which, in turn, packed up to 500 products per minute.
The flow wrapper transferred the packaged product to the infeed of the G35 robotic island. The EF version in use has two robots and packs products into lidless display cartons, so a third robot for closing was not needed. The first robot picks four carton blanks, and forms, closes and seals the cartons with hotmelt glue. This process utilizes an intermittent infeed, after which the displays go through the filling procedure continuously. A servo-driven inline feeding system supplies the filled cartons to the downstream horizontal flow wrapper, again a Zero 5 machine which, in this case, overwraps up to 50 display cartons per minute.