A major candy manufacturer needed to upgrade their systems for case packing bags of candy into corrugated cases. Remtec recommended a robotic solution to replace the manufacturer’s outdated dedicated case packers. Since the operation had to handle candy bag sizes ranging from 6.25 to 51 ounces, with varying case sizes, the new packing systems needed to be flexible and adaptable.
To meet the application needs, Remtec developed case packing systems based around the Fanuc M-3iA 4-axis, parallel link robot, which included FANUC’s iRVision and line tracking to locate the bags for picking. FANUC’s Visual Line Tracking technology enables the robot to pick products from a conveyor in motion. An encoder attached to the conveyor provides speed, position and direction inputs to the robot so that the part can be accurately located. FANUC’s iRVision technology manages the detail of coordinating images and parts, and relays the position of the part on the conveyor to the robot. The Vision system was set up for five different bags sizes and three different colored bags.
The systems each have an Allen – Bradley CompactLogix™ PLC, which is operated from a PanelView Plus 1000 HMI. The CompactLogix controllers are ideal for small to mid-size applications that require coordinated motion, complex communications and must be safe to operate. The system also includes a flap spreader for the corrugated cases to ensure the bags can be loaded into the cases reliably.
The new robotic case packers are capable of loading the small, lightweight bags at rates in excess of 100 PPM (pieces per minute) and the larger, heavier bags at 50-60 PPM. Overall these new systems will run faster and more efficiently than the old systems they replaced, with less downtime and many fewer missed picks.