Robotic Automation Versatility
Robots bring versatility to the processes that they automate. Automation, especially in the food industry in processes such as case palletizing and packaging, has led to increased production rates and higher accuracy and efficiency.
Advance Brands offers cooked poultry, beef, and pork, and while meat hasn’t been an industry typically known for packaging automation, it became a priority at Advance Brands. Their inventory is produced for specialized customer orders, and automation allows them to adapt to different items, different packaging styles, and different types of packages. One of the automated lines in the plant can process up to 16,000 pounds per hour of chicken nuggets or strips. This line feeds into three packaging lines where the products are pouched and sealed.
The end-of-line operations add to the plant’s versatility: an automatic picking process picks and case-packs products in primary packages. The case is taped by a case sealer, labeled with a print-and-apply label, and then its bar code is read by a palletizing system to be guided into one of four lanes. There, a robot from KUKA palletizes it according to the customer’s order.
Pepperidge Farm has one of the most modern cookie production systems in the world, as everything is automated. The oven, product handling, tray filling, bag manufacture, filling, and packaging processes are all completely handled by robots. SIG Pack is the robotic supplier, and worked with Pepperidge Farm to address its main problem: stacking cookies is complicated, and the demand for quality was high. Along with the wide range of products that needed to be produced, automation was the solution.
One half of a two-layer cookie is taken from the cooling belt, coated with chocolate, and then turned with the coated side up. DELTA robots then join the two halves accurately at a speed of 1300 pieces per minute. The robots then pick up the products and lay them into the paper trays that are fed to them. The robots are fitted with Ethernet connections allowing them to exchange data with one another, guaranteeing that the trays are always filled and cookies cleared from the belt. With 180,000 packages leaving the system in 8 hours, the benefits of automation are clear.
Automation allows these food plants, along with many other plants in a variety of industries, the versatility they require to produce their products in an efficient and accurate manner. RobotWorx specializes in robotic automation integration and can provide many examples of robot versatility. If you are interested in integrating a robot system into your facility, contact us today online or at 740-251-4312.