Fresco Systems recently supplied and installed a two-line robotic de-palletising system for one of the world’s largest dairy companies.
The robotic depalletiser is designed to eliminate manual handling, improve hygiene standards and reduce labour costs at the dairy plant. Not only were strict hygiene and safety criteria mandated by the client, but the system also had to fit within the existing building envelope.
Full size double pallets are loaded through a rapid roller door by forklift and wait for the scissor lifter to be raised before indexing into the unloading position. The conveyor system is controlled by a PLC with pallet positioning monitored by sensors and interlocked with a light curtain for safety. Pallet status is provided to the operators within the hygiene area and the forklift operators in the warehouse via visual light indication.
The robot then de-palletises the 25kg bags automatically using a vacuum suction head to lift the bag and place it on a conveyor. Pallet/ bag configuration is all programmable to suit the type of product and the configuration of the pallet stacking. If a bag is out of position the robot hunts for it within a defined area until the bag is found; alternatively it raises an alarm for the operator to assist. Bags removed by quality control are treated in the same manner. De-palletising rates are adjustable up to 600 bags/hr per line.
Bags exit the caged area on a belt conveyor, which feed the bags to an outer removal station where the operator removes the outer paper packaging before placing the plastic lined inner bags on another conveyor for transfer to the critical hygiene area. No manual lifting is required to remove the bag outers as the bag is flipped pneumatically. The waste packaging is removed and compacted for recycling. The bags are discharged into a bag dump station where the contents are dense phase vacuum conveyed to a receival hopper for further processing.
Fresco’s two-line robotic de-palletising system is designed to Category 4 safety standards, which is achieved by the use of a 2.5m high physical barrier, light curtains, twin encapsulated key system on the access gate and a standalone safety barrier relay module prior to the PLC.