Secondary packaging of dairy products
Complete secondary packaging, including palletization of as many as 20,000 yogurt tubs per hour, calls for sophisticated solutions as well as robots that are capable of implementing them.
Choceňská mlékárna is a leading brand of spreads, yogurt and curd cheese. Established around 90 years ago, the Czech company is committed to the highest quality standards.
In identifying a solution for packaging 20,000 tubs of a typical Czech dairy favorite per hour, one thing was clear from the outset: Even though cheaper solutions were to be found on the market, the entire packaging line was to be equipped with Stäubli robots. As far as the company management were concerned, Stäubli sets the standard in food production, and they weren’t prepared to settle for a second-best solution.
Four SCARAs and two six-axis machines for maximum output
The packaging line, which was installed in record time, is equipped with four Stäubli TS60 SCARAs and two large Stäubli RX160 six-axis machines. The task of the SCARAs is to pick the tubs off a conveyor belt as they leave the production stage and place them at high speed but without risk of damage in cardboard trays that are traveling past the station on a parallel conveyor belt. The trays containing 12 units are then transported by means of the conveyor belt to the next station where they are stacked four high on top of each other.
These four-deep piles containing a total of 48 tubs now reach a station where they are deposited on wooden pallets. This demanding task is handled by two large six-axis RX160s. The robots not only have to operate at high speed but also with extreme care. They stack six four-tray layers per pallet, each layer consisting of six cartons. That makes a total of 1,728 tubs per pallet.
Reliable and fast high-output packaging
If the robot were to cause a collapse of the man-high pile with an imprecise movement, the result would be chaos. The fact that this has not happened so far is due to the judder-free and smooth trajectory; only the patented Stäubli drive technology is capable of achieving this while maintaining such high dynamics.
Another key advantage of the system becomes apparent when it is time to switch between different product variants. The changeover can be accomplished in just a few minutes – even if the grippers on the SCARAs have to be swapped. The quick-release system allows the gripper exchange to be performed literally with a flick of the wrist.
The senior management at Choceňská mlékárna are highly satisfied with the performance of the robots. The six Stäubli machines have made a significant contribution to increased production flexibility, allowing output to be readily adapted to the constantly increasing demand.