Mitsubishi Electric and the system integrator Bosso create a high performance system intended for the primary packaging operations of a production line of an important pasta factory.
Filling Line: The Problem
We were contacted by an important Sardinian pasta factory to solve a problem that arose on one of the production lines. Specifically, the need was to manipulate and pack what in technical jargon are called ravioli plates, or blocks consisting of six ravioli each not yet separated from each other, but only engraved. These plates had to be removed with the utmost delicacy (to avoid breakage) and stacked in individual trays, in columns of three or four, depending on the type of package, and separated from each other by a thin sheet of plastic.
An operation that – before the involvement of Bosso (and therefore also of Mitsubishi Electric) – was carried out entirely by hand by assigned operators. “If we take into account that the line in question produced 80 plates per minute, it is easy to imagine at what speed the operators had to work before the operation was automated but also how alienating and heavy that work could be.
Mitsubishi Electric and Bosso create a system that includes a line consisting of four SCARA robots integrated with vision systems and complex gripping systems
Therefore, following the Step by Step approach, part of the SMKL method, in the preliminary phase a single process to be automated was identified, namely the primary packaging operation. The feasibility study followed the initial step of collecting and analyzing the starting data, during which the ROI and other KPIs were calculated, which showed savings in terms of time, resources, and product quality.
On a practical level, the solution consists of a high-performance system managed by the iQ-R automation platform and consisting of MR-J4 servo drives and four compact SCARA robots of the RH-CRH family, ideal for precision and “space-saving” applications, who are entrusted with the task of handling food products in order to ensure maximum efficiency in primary packaging operations.
Finally, the man-machine interface is entrusted to the GOT 2000 HMIs, which guarantee complete system management in a simple and intuitive way. The robots are networked and, in fact, guided by a vision system also suitable for quality control. “Given the extreme delicacy of the product to be handled, another problem to be solved was the removal of the plates”, adds Lazzari. “A problem that we have solved by equipping the robots with a particular type of suction cups – without contact with the Bernoulli effect (BEC) – able to pick up the object without touching it thanks to a lamellar air flow interposed between the plane of the suction cup itself and the ‘object”.
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