Finding the ice creams packing sweet spot
Tip Top has purchased four machine solutions from us in the past. Due to the success of our past collaborations, we were selected to work on their latest project. The challenge was to design, manufacture and deliver four machines tailored to suit Tip Top’s requirements. The brief was to:
- Erect, load and close four carton sizes.
- Feed these into a case packer with the ability to pack the cartons into five shipper SKU’s
- All of this at 300 ice creams per minute
In addition, everything needed to fit into a small footprint. The delicate nature of the chocolate skin on the bars meant we had to be as gentle as possible.
This solution now utilises Codian robot hardware and Gocator 3D vision systems – contains four, four-axis delta robots controlled by Beckhoff IPC and servo control technology. Typically, we will use a 2D system for applications like this, but we found the 3D system gave us better results across the range of ice creams.
High-speed 3D product scanning and RML’s software platform allow upwards of 300 ice creams to be scanned, tracked, picked and then placed into cartons.
There is a 6-axis robot positioned at each end of the system, one to deliver empty cartons in, and one to empty packed cartons out making this a 30-axis machine.
It is critical that the ice creams are only held in the machine very briefly, as they degrade quickly if they are not packed and sent to the blast freezers within a set time period. Logic has been written into the systems code to ensure we balance out the delivery of cartons from the loader through to the case packer and into the freezers, to ensure the product quality is maintained.