A Melbourne based probiotic manufacturer required a robotic automation solution to palletise product inside their cold room store operating at a temperature of around 2°C.
Current manual packaging methods were too slow and required many hands to achieve the required production rates of up to 1064 cases per hour across two manufacturing lines.
Due to OHS concerns of operating in the cold room for extended periods the product was packed onto pallets in the production area, and then manually moved to the cold room creating inefficient double handling.
John Hart Automation installed a turnkey robotic automation system inside the cold room which included a Fanuc M-710iC/50H palletising robot with a cold room suit and a custom built end-of-arm-tool to handle the delicate probiotic packaging.
The system also includes a 10-pallet de-stacker, infeed and outfeed pallet conveyors, dedicated slip sheet dispenser and integrated safety system.
The product enters the cold room on two infeed conveyors where two custom built accumulators arrange the product into packs of three, in order for the robot to keep up with production demands.
The special end-of-arm-tool captures the three pack on the infeed conveyors without gripping it, by sliding support fingers underneath the pack and supporting it on three sides.
The robot quickly moves to the outfeed conveyors and places the pack onto a perfect stack by extracting the support fingers and allowing the packs to gently land on the layer below.
The system allowed staff to be repurposed throughout the plant and created a more efficient process flow from production to the store area.