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With the ability to sort and stack various lengths and weights of timber, place binding sticks and pick and stack multiple boards simultaneously, SCOTT can tailor a solution specifically to meet your needs.
With our automated and robotic solutions for the timber industry providing a wealth of benefits, find out how we can help your business:
Reduce labour costs
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In the heart of Victoria’s food belt, Jamestrong-Kyabram has been in the industry for over 25 years supplying cans for the food and nutritional manufacturing industries.
Being the largest supplier of infant formula and nutritional powder packaging in Australia, Jamestrong-Kyabram’s overall capacity sits at 500 million cans per annum.
Innovation leads to increased production
Due to strong growth in the infant formula and nutritional powder market, Jamestrong-Kyabram needed to find ways to innovate and improve, specifically to increase production capacity. This led to the investment by Jamestrong-Kyabram in technology provided by Scott Automation & Robotics.
Scott Automation & Robotics, part of the Scott Technology Group of companies, are a leading provider of automation & robotic solutions globally. SCOTT improve productivity, reliability, yield, and safety for manufacturers and processors across industries including general manufacturing, meat, food and mining.
Robots deliver 300 cans per minute
The Robotic palletising solution has the capacity to palletise 300 cans per minute, a significant increase in production. The new production line at Jamestrong-Kyabram consists of three robots. A Motoman UP50 handling the unrolled tin sheets used to create the cans while two KUKA KR180’s operate simultaneously to handle the palletising component of the system. One robot uses a magnetic gripper designed to pick and place a complete layer of cans onto the pallets, the second KUKA robot uses a vacuum gripper to manage the divider boards and top frames. In addition to the palletising robots the infeed and outfeed conveyors were supplied by our partner Cantech Engineering based in Kyabram. The safety guarding around the robot system complete with interlocked doors addresses the workplace health and safety requirements.
Flexibility and space key to success
The Scott Automation & Robotics system at Jamestrong-Kyabram has delivered a flexible solution capable of handling multiple pallets of varying products at high speed. The compact footprint achieved by the robotic cell design was also a critical factor for the success of the new production line.
Adding up the benefits
• Innovative Solution
• Improved Production
• Flexibility of System
• Reduced space
• 24/7 Support
Robotic Palletiser delivers a Return on Investment (ROI) in 2 years
Palletising in any manufacturing plant presents many operational challenges: from production efficiencies to safety considerations.
This is particularly applicable to a company like VIP Packaging, a leading plastic and steel packaging company in Australia and New Zealand, which manufactures packaging solutions for the food and beverage, personal care, household consumer and industrial chemical industries.
Among its products, VIP Packaging manufactures extrusion blow-moulded and injection stretch blow-moulded high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bottles.
With clients that include many of the most well-known household names in Australia and New Zealand, VIP Packaging is committed to innovation, quality and sustainability.
The production line at the plant predominantly palletises bottles used for shampoos and laundry detergents. To minimise manual handling and gain production efficiencies, VIP Packaging called on Machinery Automation & Robotics (MAR) to deliver a solution to automate its palletising production line.
The VIP Packaging plant transfers packaging bottles that are arranged in pallets in a predesigned format that is suitable for transport directly to clients. These bottles can range in size from 500 mL to 2 L and are delivered wrapped with clear plastic stretch wrap to ensure the bottles stay in position when transported.
Adhering to occupational health and safety standards, improving productivity and generating labour cost savings were all important priorities for VIP Packaging.
According to Geoff Biscaya, rigid containers general manager at VIP Packaging, “To remain competitive it was clear we needed to reduce labour costs by automating our downstream inspection, packing and palletising of our high-volume blow moulding machines.”
Throughout this process there were three main palletising lines that would benefit from automation. These include the packaging handling, the pallet handling and the stretch wrapping. The challenge ahead was to design a system that could automate the entire palletising line and deliver not only the cost savings, but also improve quality control and safety.
After studying the operation of the VIP system, MAR presented a fully automated system – including three robots, a pallet dispenser, a twin shuttle, a three-vision system, a fully automated HMI, an automated pallet strapping system and a pallet stretching machine – which were all controlled by one central motor control centre from Rockwell Automation.
In the VIP Packaging plant, plastic bottles are continuously transported on the conveyor to the palletising line, where they are picked up by the robot and stacked in the pallet. Sensors are used to count the required quantity of bottles for each layer of packaging. Once a layer is complete, the robot picks up a plastic slip sheet and places it on top of the layer of bottles. This process is repeated until the pallet is full; the robot then places a timber sheet on top of the pallet to keep the bottles in place.
According to Merv Shirazi, project manager at Machinery Automation and Robotics, “The design of the grippers or claws on the robot arm was critical to the efficiency of the palletising process.
“When the plastic bottles stand up, we needed to make sure that they were in correct position; because if one bottle slipped or fell out of place, a domino effect could occur and hundreds of bottles could then fall, which would not only create a safety hazard that would need attention, but it would also mean that the whole pallet would have to be rejected,” he explained.
To stop the bottles that are packed in the pallet from breaking or slipping, the pallet is automatically wrapped in clear plastic. Each pallet is then transported by shuttle to the loading dock and the empty pallet is returned.
It’s all under control
In any automated system, integration between the control and safety system is important – but in a palletising line that is controlled by a single operator, complete integration is essential. PowerFlex 4M drives, used to provide effective motor control for the conveyors and the entire robotic palletising system, were controlled by CompactLogix.
PowerFlex 4M drives provide effective motor control for the conveyors.
According to Harish Ahuja, OEM account manager at Rockwell Automation, “The Rockwell Automation compact machine control platform provides cost-effective integration of a machine or safety application into a plant-wide control system because it integrates safety, motion, discrete and drive capabilities in a single controller, making it the most appropriate choice for this application.”
The operator workstation features a PanelView Plus 1000 touch screen that, in addition to the primary control for the system start and stop function, also includes programming for the manual control of conveyors, manual control of the robot gripper, shift production data, error reporting, robot control and access control for maintenance and cleaning.
“The programming of the system is simple and straightforward and it caters for a wide range of bottle-design shapes and sizes. The control platform also includes integrated safety systems which deliver improved operator safety,” said Biscaya.
When moving to an automated system, operator safety was a key priority. With this in mind, the system was designed with six separate safety zones that require no supervision. Parts of the plant were required to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is why reliability and minimising downtime was very important to VIP Packaging. This was addressed by designing and building the line to allow access to specific components that wear over time in a particular machine, without having to shut down the whole plant during routine maintenance.
Installing a new solution generally requires a period of shutdown of the existing system while the new one is installed, so the goal with this project was to keep this to a minimum and also to reduce the risk of any teething problems with the new solution. To achieve this, the new system was thoroughly tested off-site prior to installation.
“The complete system, including cycle times and other parameters, were factory tested off-site prior to installation so we could minimise the risk of downtime. This ensured that the installation progressed smoothly, which was very important to our business,” said Biscaya.
The PanelView Plus 1000 touch screen HMI is easy to navigate and incorporates a number of selection options.
The PanelView Plus 1000 touch screen HMI is easy to navigate and incorporates a number of selection options.
Consistent quality control
Maintaining superior quality control is essential to VIP Packaging, which is known for packaging solutions that not only offer outstanding performance but also differentiate and enhance customers’ brands. Biscaya knew that automating the company’s quality control systems would help it to maintain its reputation for superior quality packaging solutions and also introduce labour cost savings.
“With the help of MAR, we were able to integrate vision systems that could identify a number of bottle faults and reject those bottles. This automated quality control system was more consistent than the human element, which allowed us to lower the cost of each pallet through the associated labour savings and reduced packaging waste,” he said.
To confirm that the automated system was working effectively, the HMI system was programmed to monitor and sound an alarm to alert the operator if too many bottles were rejected consecutively.
Counting the savings
“We are continuing to realise the many benefits that the new automated system is providing. It has met all of our key requirements by allowing us to reduce labour costs, while also improving quality control and safety. In addition, the solution has established a low base cost to run the plant over time, which helps to improve our productivity and competitiveness,” said Biscaya.
The automation of the palletising line has resulted in significant labour savings, quality control and reduced running costs. The return on investment is approximately two years, which will allow VIP Packaging to reap the rewards from the solution for many years to come.
PACE Zenith Awards 2014, Manufacturing Project of the Year Adam Saint, with VIP Production Manager, Shane Roberts
Robotic Palletising and Pallet Handling System wins ‘Manufacturing project of the Year” at the PACE Zenith Awards
Placing boxes, trays, bags, bottles or other items on a pallet seems manageable enough. However, when you need to meet the most rigorous demands in terms of speed, care of handling, pallet patterns, stability, precision and cycle time, nothing compares to a robot-based automation solution from Machinery, Automation and Robotics
VIP Packaging is a leading plastic and steel packaging solutions provider in Australia and New Zealand, delivering innovative and sustainable outcomes for their customers.
VIP packaging turned to MAR to optimise their palletising procedures of blow moulded plastic bottles. Originally VIP packaging employed a manual palletising process, which was not only labour intensive but also inefficient and at times inconsistent.
MAR installed a system to automate the handling of the packaging products from the blow moulder outfeed to the pallet. The newly installed system can be broken in various functions including a Conveyor System that routes product from three moulding machines and converges into one conveyor to feed into a cell. Vision systems on common cell in feed verify product quality. The inspection systems complete three different Quality Assurance checks – handle flash removal, neck flash removal & neck circularity. The robot system, which provides continuous operation during the palletising process, comprises of a robot which distributes the empty pallet stacks to the loading stations. The Pallet Handling System Pallet Dispenser which transfers either complete or empty pallet with two pallet loading conveyors per cell. Finally, a pallet strapping system is built into the outfeed allowing the product to be wrapped prior to exiting the system.
The programming and operation are carried out via the user friendly Robotics HMI screen providing the operator with clear, concise instructions throughout the entire palletising process plus alerting them to any irregularities or faults.
The benefits of the automated Plastic Bottle Line Palletising system are quite clear:
Elimination of all manual handling during palletising operations, resulting in significant labour-cost savings and adherence to occupational health and safety standards
High-speed palletising with a minimum rate of 1400 bottles per hour
Incorporation of two separate carton infeed conveyors and six pallet-loading stations within a single cell
Flexible palletising – both Chep and Export pallets can be processed simultaneously within the cell
Incorporation of a fully automatic stretch wrapper system
A user-friendly, customised Panel View Plus 700 HMI
Centralised vision inspection system ensuring quality assurance
An increase in production capacity due to the fully automatic upstream packing systems
Our palletising robots have provided VIP Packaging with a cost-effective, easy to use, one-stop choice for both end users and system integrators.
Gippsland timber company Fenning will be the first to use a revolutionary new robotic system for sorting and stacking timber, “Manual stacking is one of the toughest and most physically demanding jobs in our industry,” says Rodney Natty, Fenning’s general manager.
Developed by Machinery Automation and Robotics (MAR) with FWPA funding, the robotic system sorts and stacks various lengths (09–£0 m) and weights (up to 100 kg)
The system can place binding sticks, stack timbers of the same or random lengths, place short-length pieces end-to-end and handle multi-board layer and panel stacking. The system can sort and stack simultaneously, virtually eliminating the need to pre-sort timber-a major advantage over conventional stacking machines.
“We’ve got two robots on order with delivery anticipated in January,” says Natty. “They will improve packing consistency and help reduce injury and fatigue. We’ll be able to relocate two staff to other duties in the same area, such as setting up the robots and ensuring they have enough timber.”
Natty says the robots will take all timber (from 100×50 to 300×50 in cross-section and 0.9 to 5.4 m in length) from the outfeed of the company’s Dimpter docker and stack up to 15 packs by length at a rate of 12 boards a minute.
Fenning is one of ten Australian timber companies currently considering the new system.
One company has placed a firm order, another has requested a proposal for immediate submission to the company board, and several others are considering specific applications.
Automated and robotic systems cope well with dusty and saw-dust filled environments that are unpleasant or potentially harmful to staff. This improves workplace conditions by reducing the need for staff to undertake heavy and repetitive physical work in unpleasant environments and enables the staff to be reallocated to more valuable tasks.
Troy Krogh from MAR said the system could also help reduce operating costs and material waste, increase output rates and manufacturing flexibility, and save space in high value manufacturing areas.
The FWPA funding enabled MAR to further develop and broaden the scope of an earlier project that focused on a specific stacking environment. MAR successfully designed and tested robotic technology-robot, vacuum gripper arm and associated software-for a broad range of timber stacking, movement and storage situations, both for finished products and work in progress.
Factory acceptance trials conducted at MAR confirmed that the technology could achieve the required specifications for piece selection, transfer speed, rotational or linear movement, stacking accuracy, binder placement and automatic pack tallying.
The robotic technology was then presented to 18 hardwood and softwood timber processors in Northern NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. The processors were selected according to the types and sizes of plants that could benefit in terms of throughput, processing costs, OH&S issues, sorting accuracy, product presentation or automatic tallying, including links to management software and labelling. Thirteen companies requested on-site presentations, which enabled their staff to discuss the technology in terms of existing systems, development needs, company strategies and limitations.