Try To Know This Thing Of Food Machine

The Finland-based company recently opened its North American office in Toronto. Orfer Oy manufactures robotic material-handling systems for a range of industries. For a new design of a fully automated packing machine targeted to the food machine and packaging industries, Orfer needed a rob

The Finland-based company recently opened its North American office in Toronto. Orfer Oy manufactures robotic material-handling systems for a range of industries. For a new design of a fully automated packing machine targeted to the food machine and packaging industries, Orfer needed a robot that offered fast and accurate handling and that could easily integrate with a vision system to track and pick parts from a moving conveyor.

Orfer’s newest system is the ORFER BoxCellPlus, which expands on the popular BoxCell packing cell with the ability to open flattened boxes, fold the flaps, and seal the bottom with tape and then fill the box with products. Orfer’s existing BoxCell system uses a Toshiba Machine TH650A SCARA robot from TM Robotics to automate the process that quickly packs products into plastic or cardboard boxes. For the design of the BoxCellPlus, TM Robotics helped Orfer define the robot specification based on the reach, payload, and cycle time requirements for food and packaging applications.

Assessing the Requirements

“Packing is a classic pick-and-place application,” explained TM Robotics CEO Nigel Smith. “It doesn’t require the dexterity of a six-axis robot and needs a greater working envelope than a spider-style robot offers.” This is why the new BoxCellPlus uses a high-speed Toshiba Machine TH650A high-speed SCARA robot.

SCARA robots can reach as far as 1.2 meters. The TH650A 650-millimeter reach is close to equivalent to the length of the human arm. Since automated process were designed with human workers in mind, the 650-millimeter reach is ideal for packing and assembly applications. SCARA robots can handle payloads of 10 to 20 kilograms. 10 kilograms is ideal for food packaging. This allows a wide variety of products to be picked while supporting a variety of tool configurations. A single gripper for multiple products requires a number of components, all of which need to be considered when looking at the robot’s final payload. The 10-kilogram payload offers engineers flexibility to design their end-of-arm tooling.

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Flexibility is Key

Orfer chose to ceiling-mount the SCARA robot so it could be placed above the conveyor rather than using the standard floor mounting to the side. This allowed the comapny to minimize the overall size of the BoxCellPlus while maximizing the robot’s ability to access products coming down the moving conveyor and place them into the box. The smaller robot also helped make the system more cost-effective overall.

The SCARA robot’s ability to place parts accurately within 0.01 millimeters was enhanced with an extended Z shaft of 400 millimeters that enables parts to be placed deeper into the box. This accuracy and depth helps prevent product damage during packing, and provides consistent, high-quality output for Orfer customers.

Due to its modular structure and adjustable control system, the BoxCellPlus can be easily integrated into factory or warehouse management systems. As part of an automated packing system, the BoxCellPlus can be fed from conveyors from a weight-checker, labelling machine, or a vacuum packer. The robot also interfaces with leading vision systems, which can be used for inspection and to send coordinate data to the robot to pick parts from a moving conveyor.

Orfer is able to pass along the advantages of the Toshiba Machine robot in its new BoxCellPlus system, including faster, more accurate processing, smaller size, and lower cost.

“Our customers could use multiple machines to erect boxes and fill them, which could take up as much as 50% more space on the production floor,” said Mäkelä. “With the BoxCellPlus, both of those functions happen in a smaller space and at as much as 15 to 25% lower cost than using multiple machines.”

“In comparison to a six-axis robot with a cycle time of five seconds, the Toshiba Machine SCARA robot’s cycle time is approximately two seconds, which dramatically improved capacity,” says Smith. “And it costs about 40% less than a spider robot.”

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