Pick & Place + Palletization
The Client & Objective
One of the world's leading health care companies turned to MMCI to automate a process that nearly every other material handling systems integrator and palletizer supplier wrote off as "too difficult."
Why So Difficult?
- Their unique products were pressure-activated pouches that required sensitive handling to keep them from breaking or activating.
- The system would need to safely transfer the pouches from the production machines to baskets, and then palletize those baskets for relocation to another area for secondary packaging.
- Space was very limited.
- Pouches occasionally broke open so all equipment would need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
MMCI was able to engineer a way to replace the manual pick-and-place method for transferring pouches with a completely automated system which utilized custom-made spiral chutes that gently guided the pouches into the baskets.
The spiral chutes were designed and printed using 3D printing technology, which minimized R&D cost and allowed MMCI engineers to perform actual tests using a variety of shapes and materials.
Next, sensors were placed on the incoming conveyors to monitor the number of pouches per basket and adjust the height of the spiral chutes as each basket filled, minimizing the drop-distance.
MMCI Engineers then specified a Fanuc R-2000iB/100H robot because it possessed the reach, capacity and speed that was required, and could also fit within the limited ceiling height of the working area.
Customized end-of-arm-tooling was designed to accommodate a variety of different sized baskets used in the facility. The innovative design features sensors that find the vertical height of the basket, center the robot, and then deploy versatile clips to lift and place the baskets on to the pallet.
To further automate the process, MMCI's engineers enhanced all of the upstream and downstream elements of the system as well including custom conveyors that be quickly disconnected and moved to a wash-down area for cleaning.
This challenging project represents yet another example of how MMCI’s expertise in automation, integration and robotics allowed us to develop a solution that most other companies would not even consider.
How Can We Help?
At any stage of your automation project, we can help.
Call us at 314-438-3300 or fill out the form below.