Beatson Clark supplies glass packaging containers to the pharmaceutical, food and drink markets worldwide. The company has recently invested in a robot palletising system, engineered by Fanuc Robotics UK.
Beatson Clark supplies glass packaging containers to the pharmaceutical, food and drink markets worldwide. Specialising in providing packaging systems for niche brands, and complete product lines for customers with variable needs, its success depends on flexibility and responsiveness in delivering a high-quality product.
The company has recently invested in a robot palletising system, engineered by Fanuc Robotics UK, to support its growth in its food and pharmaceutical markets. Beatson Clark's customers have very specific requirements for the way their glass containers need to be packed and delivered, and a core need for the robot system was for flexibility and to be able to produce neat stacks.
Two amber bottle production lines, at approximately three metres high, deliver sealed packs of sterile bottles to the palletising cell. A Fanuc M410iB robot is mounted on a pedestal base to allow it to easily pick up from the overhead position and place packs neatly onto either of two pallet stations.
Colin Rimmer, Beatson Clark's Project Manager, explains: "We will provide packaging in whatever form the customer needs and currently this requires the robot to be able to palletise eighty different products. Additionally, customer expectations of quality are justifiably high – the robot ensures we get zero breakages and very neat pallet stacks.
"Our production speeds have increased to meet demand and the system is able to maintain palletising rates of 16 packs per minute including a separator placement cycle for each complete layer."
Speed and flexibility
The new palletising system replaces a dedicated palletiser which was unable to offer the speed and flexibility of the robot.
To avoid breakages, gentle pick-up and placement of glass bottles is critical to the operation and the Fanuc robot is equipped with a specially engineered handling device. Packs positioned at the pick-up area are pushed onto two independently operating flat plates, part of the robot handling unit, by a pneumatic pusher. The robot then positions the packs just a few millimetres above the required placing position on the pallet. The flat plate under the pack retracts allowing the pack to be gently placed on the pallet. The handling device then repositions itself over the pallet and retracts the plate for the second pack to be positioned.
Serving two pallet stacking areas, the M410iB's small footprint and integrated controller ensure that the area occupied is compact. Cell control is co-ordinated by the Fanuc robot controller and a touch screen panel provides a graphical user interface for straightforward program selection.