Packaging : Robotics from Cermex

Cermex here demonstrates the use of robotics in packaging.

In continuation of its range of "Ready to Pack" modules and machines, Cermex has just developed a new version of wrap around case packer for one of its customers, a French SME in the food industry. It is able to load cartons or flowpacked aluminium trays of frozen food either horizontally or on edge ... for optimal industrial flexibility and merchandising!

Over and above the integration of two robots in a same wrap around case packer, this new application demonstrates the importance of Cermex's policy of designing by functional and industrial sub-assemblies adopted more than 3 years ago. All new Cermex machines are developed or redeveloped based on this pragmatic approach which consists in optimising the expertise of each team of technicians in the Design Offices (120 employees out of a total staff of 500), before combining the elements into a unique machine for the customer.

This approach combines the best of empirical and human knowledge (such as expertise in cardboard handling) with the best of current technology (such as the development of robotics).

After being spaced out at the case packer infeed, the frozen products in cartons or flowpacked aluminium trays are stacked directly in the tooling of one of the two robots. The tooling is in fact a mechanical gripper which descends step by step on each product in order to build up the programmed number of cartons or trays.

In order to meet the speed, two identical robots are installed on each side of the product infeed conveyor, so that the second robot can take over from the first one when the latter is loading its stack of products into the case.

The principal advantage of this solution, with two robots integrating the product collating system, consists in making the most of the mechanical potential of the robot. Instead of reaching up to 50 cycles/min with each robot loading single products in order to keep up with the nominal product infeed speed, Cermex divides this speed by 5 or even 10 by handling a complete batch for each cycle.

The effects of inertia related to speed and acceleration are much easier to control at low speed than at high speed. Accuracy in gripping and loading the products is also more reliable at this level of speed, a significant point for applications with this type of primary packaging (flowpacks in particular).

Controlled product manipulation is also guaranteed during loading by keeping the batch of cartons on edge using the suction cups on the gripping head (grippers retracted) until the case flaps are folded, thus preventing products from falling.

At the same time as products are collated and loaded, the Cermex WB case packer extracts and erects the cardboard blank (trays with upper ledges in this instance) which encases the products as per Cermex standards in terms of automation of corrugated cardboard packaging.

There are a number of films here on the packaging industry. This is because I am the publisher of Central and Eastern European Packaging -- - the international platform for the packaging industry in this region focussing on the latest innovations, trends, design, branding, legislation and environmental issues with in-depth profiles of major industry achievers. Most people may think packaging pretty boring but it possibly effects your life more than you really imagine!

Central and Eastern European Packaging examines the packaging industry throughout this region, but in particular in the largest regional economies which are Russia, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Austria. That is not to say that the other countries are forgotten, they are not, but obviously there is less going on. However the fact that there are so many travel related films here is not from holidays but from business trips attending trade fairs around the region. Every packaging trade fair is a new excuse to make another film!


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