Baking & Snack - August 2018 - 119
a combination of suction and proprietary light grip technology. This tool
can select small muffins, cupcakes,
Danish and more. The Delta-armed robot operates at about 86 delicate pieces
"The robot rotates around to match an
item, picks it up and rotates it again as it
goes to place it," Mr. Kehrli explained. "It
uses electronic tracking of the belt of the
flowwrapper to guarantee it puts it in the
exact same spot every time while the belt
Vision systems provide a key element of quality control. Today's robots
not only keep products in control during the pick-and-place process, but they
also perform quality control, according
to Mr. Aasen. "Since the robots are instructed to only pick products that meet
certain dimensional requirements, any
product that does not fit these dimensions will be discarded," he said.
Bosch launched an enhanced version
of its stand-alone Presto D3 top-loading
collator. For improved quality protection
and accurate filling, the Presto D3 collator is equipped with an air-blow ejection
system that rejects products that are out
of specification. For non-stop machine
operation, the reject station is followed
by a new automatic unjamming device.
"This way, without any operator intervention, it actively controls product jams
while the machine continues to run at
full speed," Mr. Aasen said.
BPA offers tools like vision and thermal imaging to ensure proper product
Robots with vision systems are capable of seeing, picking,
rotating and feeding small and delicate products into
various packaging machines.
alignment at high speeds. The vision and
thermal imaging systems see the location and SKU of the product and communicate that information to the robotic
arm. The robotic arm then picks and rotates the product to place it in its package with proper orientation. "If required,
additional sensors can be incorporated
to verify proper placement," Mr. Rebollo
said. "These systems work extremely well
Suppliers often partner with robotics
companies to enhance their flowwrappers and other primary packaging machines. Shuttleworth collaborated with
Fanuc America and Soft Robotics to create product handling systems that can
delicately manipulate random products.
"These types of partnerships have allowed robotic system integrators to develop solutions to meet the customer's
challenging needs," said Michael Liu, engineering manager, Shuttleworth.
Formost Fuji collaborates with robotics companies both in front of and behind its flowwrappers. Dennis Gunnell,
vice-president of sales and marketing,
Formost Fuji, explained that the better the product is fed into the wrapping
machine, the more efficiently the wrapper is going to run. He added that there
is a difference between the level of product protection between mechanical and