ROBOTIC AUTOMATION – FOOD INDUSTRIES…
APPLICATIONS & SOLUTIONS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Industrial robots will be a key driver as manufacturers look to remain competitive in the food and beverage industry going forward. Key areas for the introduction of robotic applications are:
Pick & Place Robots
Food processing machines often produce products which are randomly oriented and distributed. Robots are the very popular flexible option for food manufacturers with simple pick and place systems.
The high speed flexpicker lends itself to mis-shaped and different sized foods by simultaneously identifying, aligning and placing product. Utilisation defined using the latest technology in vision systems.
Raw Food Packaging
Primary packaging is taking raw or processed food products and wrapping, bagging and/or sealing them. Considerations are made to product weight, size,shape and required primary packaging whilst identifying the correct handling solution. RM Robotics can design and manufacture a large variety of end of arm tools suitable for the application.
Mass produced baked goods are often cooked in large pans. Robots provide a high-speed methods of removing products for primary packaging. Robotic de-panning involves picking up a tray of baked goods using a specialised de-panning tool. Each baked product is grasped by a small vacuum or by small pins.
De-nesting is the removal of an empty package from a stack. It is often performed in conjunction with robotic de-panning — the de-nesting robot removes a package from the stack and the de-panning robot places the baked goods inside it. This type of robotic pairing can handle different products in the same process without taking up too much of the factory floor. The alternative would have been to use interchangeable conveyors but this would not have been as cost effective.
Boxing or Traying – Secondary Packaging
Secondary packaging entails taking individually packaged products and grouping them into boxes, trays or cases. The products are already sealed from the environment, this stage does not risk contaminating the food. As a result, these tasks are often simpler to implement robotically. Products can be moved even ones as delicate as an egg. RMRobotics can cater for any secondary containers including bale-arm crates, ifco crates, shelf ready packs (SRP) or display units.
Tertiary packaging includes taking boxes, bags, trays of product and preparing them for delivery, often by stacking them on pallets. Palletising is the most common robotic application in the food and beverage industry which also improves health and safety and reduces the risk of worker injury.
A fully automated processing line would for instance be: The first robot places lids on plastic tubs (primary packaging), the second robot packages those tubs into a box (secondary packaging) and the third robot palletises the boxes (tertiary packaging). A robot can be used in every stage in the food packaging process, allowing human workers to carry out the more value-added tasks.
The RM Group manufacture all product and pallet handling solutions around packaging and palletising systems. The company has evolved with industry demand for affordable, quality products backed up with a reliable service and after sales care. The company has seen continued growth over years and continues to evolve, becoming one of the UK’s largest packaging machinery provider.
RM Robotics & Rees Trading part of the RM Group of companies.
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