Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:00AM / Globalexadvertising
In the food industry, Packaging is amongst the most established robotic applications. The requirement for uniformity of products in the packaging stage cam only is met when the process is automated as opposed to being handled by human workers.
Here are the top food packaging robotic applications:
Processed foods are usually the same in terms of size and shape. This makes them easy to handle for robotic grippers. Even so, food processing machines will often produce foods that are randomly oriented and distributed. The process of sorting and separating can be daunting to human workers. However, with a bit of programming, robots can perform the sorting and separating.
Robots are perfect for packaging randomly placed products. A simple pick and place programming allows them to identify, align and place the products simultaneously. Non-robotic alternative entails the use fixturing which takes up a lot of space and it doesn’t have the ability to sort the products.
Primary packaging entails the wrapping of processed or raw food products. The packages vary in shape and size based on the type of type of food being packaged. Robots can be automated to perform these tasks. You can make use of robots in the different stages of food packaging, including quality analysis.
For most home bakers, one of the hardest tasks is removing the cake from the pan. When it comes to mass production this problem can be solved by the use of robots. Mass production goods are baked in large pans. The problem of depanning products has often led to losses from damage. Robots offer an easier solution in removing the products safely from pans and prepping them for primary packaging.
Depanning with the aid of robots involves the use of specialized depanning tools. This tool safely removes the product by use of vacuums to ensure safety. This saves time and improves the bottom line by reducing losses and damage to baked products.
This is a process that involves the removal of empty packages from stacks. It is done alongside depanning. The denesting robot will remove a package from the stack as the depanning robot places the baked produce inside the packaging. Depanning and denesting are commonly used together in the packaging or cupcakes and other pastries. These two processes are more cost-effective manufacturing automation processes as compared to the alternative which involves the use of conveyors which is expensive.
Robotics care most commonly used in the secondary packaging process, and boxing is one a good example. Secondary packaging involves picking of individually packages products and placing them in groups inside cases or boxes. By the time a product is in the secondary stage of packaging, it has already sealed from primary packaging and thus there is no risk of contamination. This makes secondary packaging or boxing a simpler task for robots.
It is possible to make use of collaborative robots in the different stages of secondary packaging, including the handling of delicate foods. For instance, a UR5 from universal robots is used by egg producers to arrange boxes filled with eggs into a larger cardboard box. Collaborative robots can also be used in the packaging of products that are not easy to grasp. With the use of specialized gripers, the UR10 can pick and place bags of vanilla cream which are very delicate and place them into boxes.
The tertiary level of packaging involves preparation of the packaged boxes for shipping. This is often done by stacking the boxes on pallets. Palletizing is the most common robotics application in the food and beverage packaging sector.
It is possible to integrate the use of collaborative robots for all the packaging steps. One robot can be automated to place lids on tubs in primary packaging, the second robot can be automated to package the tubs in a box in secondary packaging while the third robot can be used for palletizing the boxes for shipping. This is a good idea of how small manufacturing plants can make use of robots for food packaging.