Automation Success Stories

Robotic bag handling

Fanuc robotic bag handling cell helps to ease problems of OH&S and labour.

baghandling

Customer

Australian building products manufacturer

Problem

Much of the work involved the manual handling of 20-30kg bags of building products such as dry mix concrete, grout and tile adhesives. Due to the laborious nature of the work, issues of OH&S, staff retention and lower productivity were a problem for the client. By removing the manual handling requirements, yet still maintaining the flexibility for many different products, the client’s goal was to eliminate those issues, whilst still retaining the existing equipment and achieving a consistent level of production.

Solution

Equipment:

  • Fanuc M710iC Intelligent robot
  • JHA&R custom built bag handling gripper
  • Bag pick station
  • Floor mounted pallet guides
Installation

Operation of the cell requires the empty bags to be placed into the fixture and empty pallets to be placed in the cradles. The robot picks up the empty bag and opens the mouth on the bag for insertion into the feeder tube. The robot picks up another bag as the first one is filled and then the full bag is removed from the tube and placed on the pallet, while the next bag is filled. This process is repeated until the pallets are full. The system is programmed to deal with different packing arrangements and bag sizes and this can all be selected via the robot controller.

With a 70kg load capacity and 2005mm reach, the compact FANUC six axis M710iC/70 robots was ideal for this application as it affords the flexibility to increase the weight of the product being handled. As the robot is required to operate continuously and reliably in a dusty environment, the IP67 environmental protection rating was also very important.

John Hart designed and manufactured the custom gripper that was both nimble enough to handle and place the empty bags accurately into the feeder tube but also strong enough to remove a 30kg finished product with ease.

Outcomes & benefits
  • Robot cell can run unattended
  • Eliminates manual handling and issues related
  • Increase output of the equipment and finished product
  • Significant reduction in labour costs