SIG Combibloc has introduced a new Robotic Magazine (R-CAM) for high-speed filling machines, that fills up to 24,000 carton packs per hour.
The new R-CAM loads the filling machine with carton sleeves fully automatically – a real gain in terms of the efficiency of workflows and reducing manual work.
Food and drink 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.
Jan Gansow, Global Product Manager at SIG Combibloc, explained, “The aim was to develop an automatic magazine for the high-speed filling machines similar to the Combibloc Automatic Magazine (CAM) already available for other types of SIG Combibloc filling machine.
“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. Thanks to the Robotic Magazine, workflows are more efficient, saving working time and costs.”
The Robotic Magazine basically consists of two modules: the pallet magazine and the unpacking station. The pallet magazine offers space for a Euro pallet, Industrial pallet 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.
The first R-CAM 724 prototype is in operation at Arla Foods Germany at its Pronsfeld factory. “With the new Robotic Magazine and an optimised 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,” said Peter Bratsch, who is in charge of the R-CAM prototype at Arla Foods.
Jan Gansow added, “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.
“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.