SIG Combibloc releases robotic magazine (R-CAM) for high-speed filling machines that fill up to 24,000 carton packs per hour.
The R-CAM loads the filling machine with carton sleeves fully automatically, increasing the efficiency of workflows and reducing the amount of manual work.
Food and beverage manufacturers who operate filling machines from SIG Combibloc receive the carton sleeves in shipping boxes on pallets.
Up to now, the shipping boxes have been removed from the pallet and loaded into the filling machine’s magazine by an employee.
With six tracks and a top speed of up to 24,000 carton packs per hour, this ties up personnel.
“The aim was to develop an automatic magazine for the high-speed filling machines similar to the Combibloc Automatic Magazine already available for other types of SIG Combibloc filling machine,” says Jan Gansow, global product manager.
“With the Robotic Magazine, we’ve even gone a step further and developed a fully automated magazine.”
“The shipping boxes are removed from the pallet and opened, and the filling machine is loaded with carton sleeves. This process does not require any action from the machine operator.”
The Robotic Magazine consists of two modules: the pallet magazine and the unpacking station.
The pallet magazine offers space for a Euro, industrial or Australian pallet.
Once the pallet is inside the magazine, a scanner records the arrangement of the shipping boxes on the pallet.
The gripper arm moves a shipping box to the unpacking station.
The Robotic Magazine has an internal buffer, which ensures that production can continue to run smoothly even while a new pallet is being loaded into the pallet magazine.
This buffer can accommodate up to 20 shipping boxes of carton sleeves.
The magazine can operate for up to 2.5 hours without the need to top it up with a new pallet.
Inside the unpacking station, the shipping boxes are opened and the sleeves are removed from the box.
The sleeves are automatically filled into the appropriate track of the filling machine, and the shipping boxes are folded flat and collected in a specially provided container for subsequent disposal.
Successful industrial use
The first R-CAM 724 prototype is in operation at Arla Foods Germany at its Pronsfeld factory.
“With the new Robotic Magazine and an optimized line configuration in which the tray packer is positioned close behind the filling machine, we’re now able to operate the entire high-speed line very efficiently with one machine operator”, says Peter Bratsch, who is in charge of the R-CAM prototype at Arla Foods.
“The Robotic Magazine is a key component in building the fully automated filling line of the future, in which automatic guided vehicles (AGV) transport the pallets of packaging material automatically from a central store to the R-CAM,” says Gansow.
“It’s a major step towards fully automated lines for the ‘smart factories’ of tomorrow.”
In an initial step, the new Robotic Magazine is available for the CFA 724 high-speed filling machine for filling products in the small-size combiblocSmall carton format.
In a next step, the fully automated magazine will also be offered for the CFA 124 for filling combiblocMini carton packs.
Fully automated solutions for the filling machines CFA 512 and CFA 312 for filling the medium-sized carton packs combiblocStandard and combiblocSlimline are also planned.
The filling machines CFA 724 and CFA 124 that are already installed can be retrospectively fitted with the Robotic Magazine.
The R-CAM can be integrated into the SIG Combibloc ECS Line Monitoring System.