Published on Jul 29, 2014
This customer approached MCRI with a case palletizing challenge. As part of a plant expansion project, they needed to add palletizing capacity. Their existing case palletizing system consisted of separate layer building and palletizing. They weren't happy with their existing paddle wheel style case diverter automation, and had problems with their palletizing robot dropping cases of frozen product.
Another key concern of the customer's based on previous palletizing systems was ease of recovery.
ARB style conveyor and other sortation systems were considered for the layer building operation. The customer and MCRI came to the conclusion that a robot sorter would be needed to provide the required flexibility and reliability. The customer had 10 years of previous FANUC robot experience to support their decision.
Two different conveyors that aggregate product from the production floor feed up to six different SKU's of cases of food products at a time (out of 100's of possible SKU's) into this centralized palletizing area.
FANUC iRVision system is used on each of the two input conveyors to locate cases on the conveyors as cases enter the palletizing area. A camera based bar code reader on each of the two input conveyors identifies the SKU of the incoming cases.
The robot cell controller tracks the case position and SKU as the case travels down the infeed conveyor.
When the case arrives at its assigned layer build spur, a FANUC M10 layer forming robot (six total) moves the case to the correct infeed position and orientation on the infeed belt. The case then moves to its layer-build position.
There are two FANUC M410 full layer palletizing robots. Each robot services three layer build tables. When a full layer is ready at the layer build table, a stop releases and the layer moves into the robot pick position. The M410 robot picks up a full layer and sets in down at the palletizing position.
When a pallet is fully built, it conveys out to one of several stretch wrappers. An empty pallet is immediately fed to the palletizing position so the layer palletizing robot never has to wait for an empty pallet. Empty pallets are fed from automatic pallet dispensers on two strand chain conveyor.
The system has ease of use software built into its HMI terminals to allow an operator to quickly recover from an event that may halt automatic system operation.