ROBOT-BASED TOILET PAPER PALLETIZATION LINE

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Product:

Toilet paper in rolls, placed a two types of collective packages:

  • bags, containing groups of shrink wrapped rolls
  • displays containing single rolls

Purpose of the investment project:

The objective of the investment project was to adjust the capacity of the palletization process to the capacity of the production line. Apart from an increase in the capacity, the modernization of the final section was supposed to provide significant features, such as:

  • ensuring a high quality of the palletization process
  • limiting the costs related to palletization
  • comprehensive reporting of the results and the course of the process
  • eliminating, by the automation, the most cumbersome works related to palletization
  • guaranteeing continuous palletization 24 h a day

Capacity:

Thanks to industrial robots, the line guarantees a high capacity of the palletization process, namely: 6,923 unit packages per hour, or 1,500 collective packages per hour.

The loading time per pallet is 1.05 min. /1 min. 3 sec.

Other devices:

  • Pallet automatic feeders – the delivery of pallets does not interrupt the palletization process
  • Wrapping machine
  • Label applicator for foil wrapped pallets
  • Transport systems which include:
    - transporting packages to picking and packing systems
    - distributing empty and loaded pallets

Other than by its high capacity, the line is characterized by its high flexibility, consisting in, among others, handling a large number of sizes and shapes of collective packages (containing varying numbers of unit packages), and the arrangement templates assigned to them. At the moment, the line handles 17 templates.

Two similar palletizing lines operate at the plant. In the case of a breakdown or when one of them need to be re-fitted, the second line operates at 100% of its nominal efficiency.

Description of operation:

From the bag machine, which operates continuously with up to 25 cycles /min., the product is transferred to the palletization area in different time intervals. For instance, the bags are transferred at a frequency of one package per single cycle of the machine, and displays at a frequency of several package per one cycle. It is also possible to deliver groups of packages in 2 or 3 rows.

The first stage of the palletization process is picking. The inflowing flow of products is divided by means of a manipulator/distributor into two separate lines, which move the packages alternately to two picking robots. These are industrial robots type M710iC/50H, which prepare the product to be picked up by the palletizing robot. They position the packages properly, and then arrange them into full layers on special picking tables.

The palletizing robot is equipped with a special head adapted to move fragile products, prone to damage, with relatively large dimensions. The head picks up whole package layers, which it then places onto a pallet according to the template programmed. In the case of changes in the assortment, the system refits itself automatically.

The palletizing station also includes a system for feeding cardboard spacers automatically.

Software:

In the line, a modern control system has been installed, equipped with a legible and simple interface. On the monitor screen, the user observes the entire line, the statuses of particular devices, and the current position of the product. Thanks to the advanced diagnostics of the system, they also receive precise information on failures and their location.

The software app installed in the palletizing line visualizes the operation of particular devices and reports the results obtained in detail, for instance the number of palletized products or the number of the pallets released. This also includes such functions as: planning inspections, signalling the need to perform inspections, reporting the line's operation, and recording failure statuses. The user may independently parametrize the line's operation.

An important feature of the software is remote service access to the system (e.g. for diagnosing the machine's operation), and information exchange with an external production planning system.

On the other hand, the Alpa ADD app, thanks to its grafical interface, makes it possible to quickly create new palletization templates, and to optimize the arrangement of the product on a pallet.