Automation accelerates the packaging procedure
In order for the wide range of sausages to be packed on just one packaging solution, the line was systematically automated from beginning to end. The packaging procedure starts with an infeed system, which transfers the pre-sorted sausages from a storage container to the loading robots’ infeed system, while spacing them individually during this process. In the case of the duo-packs, the two chambers of the storage container are each filled with a different type of product. The complete product infeed is designed as two-track to separate the two types of product.
The MULTIVAC H 240 multi-robot handling module was integrated into the packaging line to place the sausages from the MULTIVAC product infeed conveyor into the pack cavities. Its modular construction and the changeable gripper systems of the three integrated HR 460 4-axis robots enable a wide variety of products to be handled. These robots can handle up to 3,500 g total weight at a time, as well as position the product exactly in the required place by means of 4-axis kinematics.
The 4-axis robots are controlled with the data from a MULTIVAC Vision System line scanner, which captures the position and spacing of the sausages at the beginning of the first belt segment, and which then transmits this information to the robots. The sausages, which are not picked up by the first two 4-axis robots and placed in the packs, run onto the next belt segment. A second
MULTIVAC Vision System line scanner captures the position and spacing of the sausages again, and the third 4-axis robot takes over the completion of loading.
After this there are only those sausages on the conveyor, which the inspection system has detected as being too long, too short or overlapping, and which it has not therefore communicated to the robots. They are ejected and fed back manually. An integrated counter determines the ratio of good to reject products for the purposes of internal evaluation.
The use of high-quality materials and the systematic MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™ enables a thorough wet cleaning of the packaging line to be carried out. “As a food processing company, we attach great importance to the aspect of hygiene,” explains Michael Korch and adds: “In 1996 we were in fact the first meat processing company in Saxony with a quality management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001, and since 2005 we have been operating to the highest quality standard in the food industry - the International Food Standard.”
“The new packaging line runs just as reliably as the previous MULTIVAC line,” says the company boss with satisfaction. “The new packaging solution has also paid off financially, since it achieves around 20 to 30 percent more output than the previous one.” This provides the following benefit during daily production: personnel, who were previously engaged in manual tasks in the packaging procedure, are now available for other tasks in the Production department. “Our high expectations have been clearly exceeded. And our customers are pleased and the packs can be opened much more easily than before - in other word, success across the board,” says Michael Korch with delight.