The packaging and packaging processes can be automated extremely efficiently with Pick and Place technology. This makes it possible for manufacturers to continue producing economically even in the face of current difficult market trends. In order to continuously improve the efficiency and flexibility of processes, the packaging machine manufacturer Schubert is constantly developing its modular robot technology. The latest components of the system are the T-Series Pick and Place robots. With the T4 and T5, Schubert lines can be further tailored specifically to customer needs and performance ranges. More than 400 T-robots are already being used, for example, at the plant of an international manufacturer of confectionery and pastry products.
The Pick and Place function is one of the most important packaging functions, especially in the food and confectionery sectors. But other industries, such as cosmetics, also use Pick and Place applications. Because when highly efficient and at the same time flexible packaging is required, automation with Pick and Place robots is the solution par excellence. This is the only way manufacturers can achieve cost-effective performance of packaging processes and, at the same time, meet the growing demands for varied product assortments, such as mixed packaging, and the versatility of different packaging formats. This is particularly important for ephemeral and consumer-driven industries. Meanwhile, manufacturers have to face another challenge: the pressure of demands to use sustainable packaging materials. What is needed, therefore, are highly flexible and efficient packaging machines with robotic technology that offers manufacturers future-proof in all these aspects. This is the only way to optimize the performance of the machines, expand the formats as desired, replace the packaging materials with sustainable variants and always maintain the quality at the highest level.
Schubert has developed another type of robot for its Pick and Place machines, the T series, which is based on the well-known Delta robot type.
As an experienced manufacturer of packaging machines that has been building its own robots since the 1980s, Schubert knows the requirements of the sector and develops its robots to meet the specific needs of the packaging industry. Versatile types of robots process even highly sensitive products. The individually designed and quick-changing tools adapt to any product shape, also thanks to the achievements of 3D printing. Pick and Place robot lines can easily make the switch between plastic and cardboard trays. An almost unlimited number of formats can be processed on Schubert Pickerlines with and without trays. In addition, an in-house developed image processing system monitors the product quality on each line, if necessary also in 3D. For those who also want to pack in tubular bags, the Schubert Flowpacker is a tubular bag machine with integrated Pick and Place feeding.
Over the past decades, more than 700 Picker Lines have been built with thousands of robots and tens of thousands of tools. Pick and Place is, therefore, one of Schubert’s main competencies. Practically any product consistency has already been processed: freshly made, hot from the oven, deep-frozen, already packaged or naked, sticky, greasy, fragile or pressure-sensitive: the wide range of products packed to date guarantees customers safe, careful and at the same time very efficient product handling.
The T5 robot has a fifth axis with which the products can be rotated and tilted.
In addition to its proven four-axis Scara F4 robots, the packaging machine manufacturer has developed another type of robot for its Pick and Place machines, the T series. The design of the T4 robots and their associated T5 robots is based on the well-known Delta robot type, but differs from the other robots with this kinematics on the market. Their limited rectangular working area predestines them to high performance in the tightest of spaces: up to six of the four- or five-axis Delta robots can work simultaneously on a single TLM rack. With this density of robots, Schubert covers a larger working area inside a submachine. This means more performance over a shorter distance, more flexibility in machine layout and, ultimately, more compact Pick and Place machines. This compact design can be a decisive advantage, especially when the location and the available space in the production room are complicated. The T5 robot has a fifth axis that allows the products to be rotated and tilted, which is ideal, for example, for cookies that must be placed vertically on a tray. The additional movement of the arm provides greater flexibility in the packaging process and the possibility of performing difficult sequences particularly effectively and safely. In this way, product quality is guaranteed even in the most complex machine processes.
Like Schubert’s F4 Scara robots, the T robots work mainly in a team and are scalable according to needs. With the different types of F4 and T4/T5 robots, Schubert is able to offer its customers in each case the best solution for their individual projects. Thanks to the wide working area transverse to the direction of belt travel, the F4 robot is particularly suitable for wide or very wide product belts. This is especially true for Pick and Place machines that only require a tray or box conveyor on one side. All Pick and Place robots are equipped with quick-change tools, some of which are manufactured using 3D printing. Through the PARTBOX parts streaming platform, Schubert customers can have these format parts in stock as a virtual warehouse and, if necessary, reprint them themselves with a standard 3D printer using a certified printing task.
The F4 robot is still an important component of the system:
Thanks to its wide working area transverse to the direction of belt travel, it is especially suitable for wide or very wide product belts.
The T-series is already proving its effectiveness at an internationally operating confectionery company and a confectionery manufacturer, among others. There, a lightline Pickerline with T4 robots packages different types of pastries on trays. To accommodate the preconfigured lightline family Pick and Place machine in the limited available space, the machine builders used a 1600-millimeter wide product conveyor belt and integrated eight T4 robots into the line. In this case, the high performance density of the robots saves one meter of space over the entire length of the line and delivers the desired performance despite the reduced space of the production hall.
For thin cookies with or without a chocolate base, a round suction cup is used that gently collects the products. The T4 robots are able to place the cookies safely and efficiently on the plastic trays, even in different orientations and counts. To ensure that only perfect cookies are packed, a 3D scanner has been integrated into the lightline Pickerline. It not only detects the exact orientation and surface of the products, but also the height, with an accuracy of about 0.5 millimeters. Even cookies with a perfect surface are checked according to the criterion of the specified height. This makes it possible, for example, to determine whether the cream filling or the sponge cake base is present in the sandwich products. This improves the reliability of the process, and the quality of confectionery products remains homogeneously high. Having expanded the product portfolio, the candy manufacturer can easily process new formats with other robotic tools. The switch to more sustainable cardboard trays is also possible at any time on the lightline Pickerline, making the line a safe investment for the future.
At the plant of an international manufacturer of sweets and confectionery,
a lightline Pickerline with eight T4 robots packs thin cookies on trays.