Flexible pouch packaging is one of the fastest growing primary packaging methods in the industry, delivering products ranging from shredded cheese to beverages. To meet consumer demand, manufacturers must develop more efficient ways to package their offerings.
Delkor Systems produces a range of automated secondary packaging machinery including forming, loading and closing equipment for cases, cartons and trays. The company recently developed the Delkor MSP-200, an integrated robotic case former-loader-closer that improves the adaptability and efficiency of flexible pouch operations. The system also includes a “case combiner” module as an option.
“In a typical end-of-line system, four separate machines connected by conveyors handle the forming, loading, closing and combining functions,” said John Kalkowski, director of marketing for Delkor Systems. “The mid-speed MSP-200 optimizes these operations in an integrated unit.”
With a space-saving monobloc design, the MSP-200 features two distinct material flows—one for the case and the other for the product.
On the case-flow side, a former based on the Delkor Trayfecta creates cartons, flange-seal cases, trays or the Delkor Cabrio Case at a rate of 30 cases per minute. The Cabrio Case converts from a corrugated shipping case to an attractive, retail-ready display.
On the product flow side, the flexible pouches enter the machine on a conveyor. A vision-guided four-axis delta robot collates the product and places it in pack patterns on a servo-driven conveyor. The conveyor transports product to the main picking robot, which loads it layer-by-layer into multiple cartons at a rate of 150 pouches per minute.
Once loaded, the cartons are closed automatically and can be date-coded or labeled inside the machine. Unsealed case flaps are rejected automatically. Using the optional combiner module, smaller single-facing cases can be combined with hot-melt glue to ease palletizing.
“Thanks to machine vision on the in feed, the system can accommodate a random product flow,” said Adam Koller, director of engineering, Delkor Systems. “This improves uptime, since there is no need to align or collate the product.”
The system can form, load and close a variety of case designs in both fluted and chipboard materials. It can also create single-, double- and triple-facing patterns for retail-ready cases and will automatically “nest” products for the highest possible density.
The integrated system is controlled by an Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controller, which manages all machine and motion functions. Six integrated Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 40P ac drives provide power control. For motion synchronization, the controller is tightly integrated with an Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6000 multi-axis servodrive through a SERCOS interface. Allen-Bradley SensaGuard non-contact interlock switches and Guardmaster safety relays help provide machine and personnel protection. Allen-Bradley fiber optic and photoelectric sensors are also incorporated throughout the system.
The MSP-200 easily integrates to both upstream and downstream equipment through discrete I/O or Ethernet/IP and is monitored using an Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus 6 1000 graphic terminal. Technicians using Ethernet/IP can also remotely monitor the system.
The system features tool-less changeover as well. For all product-related recipes, changes are completed electronically in about three minutes per lane and less than 10 minutes for the entire machine.
With the development of the mid-speed MSP-200 complete, Delkor continues to collaborate with Rockwell Automation on new systems.
The company is currently developing a high-speed packaging system for the flexible pouch sector. The system, the Delkor HSP-400, will incorporate the company’s iTRAK technology. iTRAK technology enables independent control of multiple magnetically propelled movers on straight and curved paths to enable faster speed and greater machine flexibility.
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Automotive, ALL INDUSTRIES, Packaging, Ethernet — cables • hubs • switches, I/O modules