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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Cadbury's improve palletising recipe with ABB robots
Article Type: Mini features From: Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Volume 37, Issue 1
Cadbury's Sheffield factory is benefiting from faster, more accurate palletising following the introduction of a £1.2 million palletising system implemented by CKF Systems Ltd, one of ABB's strategic industrial partners. The system sees the introduction of three ABB IRB 660 robots, all controlled by ABB's dedicated palletising programme, PickMaster 5 (Figure 3).
The new system incorporates three independent robot-palletising cells, each comprised of an ABB IRB660 robot complete with vacuum gripper. The new system handles up to 22 cases/min and incorporates a pallet handling system including pallet dispensers and high-speed stretch wrappers. Each robot station offers multiple line feeds which collect products from three separate conveyors. The robots also have the ability to handle three separate pallet sizes.
The three ABB 660 robots are capable of handling up to 250 kg each resulting in a multiple box pick up to reduce cycle times and to maximise throughput. The four-axis design comes with a reach of 3.15 m and is ideal for palletising bags, boxes, crates, bottles and more.
ABB's PickMaster 5 palletising software also contains all the features necessary to create a robust palletising application that offers flexibility in generous measure for the shop floor. The software is designed to enable the complete project to be configured offline using a graphical user interface without the need for extensive programming and enabling easy changes in production.
Cadbury's new system was commissioned and installed over a 12-week period with a loss of only 12 h production time. Since being installed, the department has experienced a 22-week period of high levels of productivity and service levels above 99.5 per cent.
The new robot system also helps reduce Cadbury's carbon footprint by increasing the pallet stacking height to 1.7 m, resulting in more products stacked on one pallet. Adding more products to a pallet means that a greater volume of stock can be delivered using fewer vehicles and warehouse space is better utilised.
Gloucester-based CKF provides conveyors and automated conveyor systems specifically designed for the food and pharmaceuticals industries. Its systems range from stainless steel.