ABB continues to improve their packaging robots with the second-generation IRB 360 robot. Compared to the IRB 340, it has increased speeds, higher payloads, and a smaller footprint. It is fitted with triple grippers that allow the robot to pick up three randomly positioned products from the conveyor belt and places the products individually on a rollstock machine. An upstream image processing system provides the positioning and location data.
The ABB IRB 360 FlexPicker is equipped with integrated vision software to recognize the product type and the orientation on the conveyor belt. It has high-speed flexibility to ensure production is maximized. The 3kg payload demonstrates its high capacity to offer increased product flexibility, and the superior tracking performance enables the products to be picked while moving. As previously mentioned, it also has a hygienic design for wash down applications to ensure food safety. The PickMaster software complements the FlexPicker and makes programming simple.
The FlexPicker can be tailored to a wide range of applications due to the four different variants of the robot. The standard model can be altered to increase arm length if the robot needs to reach over large conveyors. The compact model saves floor space and can fit into compact packaging machines. The high payload variant can take more products simultaneously.
Before packaged food gets to consumers, it must be picked up from a conveyor belt and packaged. When robots package food, they improve hygienic conditions, as well as increase productivity. The ABB FlexPicker is specifically designed for high speed packaging, pick and place and assembly applications for food industries, as well as pharmaceutical and general FMCG industries.
At HoneyTop Foods Facility, the ABB FlexPicker was chosen because of the accelerated production and the improved hygienic conditions. The FlexPicker recognized and grabbed overlapping pancakes from the conveyor, and then stacked them for easy packing. The impressing sorting routine could pack 400 pancakes per minute.
Pepperidge Farm implemented the FlexPicker to automate the high-risk repetitive motions inherent in packaging operations. Robots do the sandwiching of chocolate in the company’s Milano cookies. Not only do workers sustain less injuries when robots do the pick-and-place applications, but they don’t get chocolate on their hands, which is both unsanitary and damaging to the product.