Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

August 9, 2022

 

DCS Packaging Supplier Improves Efficiency and Cuts njury Risk with ABB Robot Cell 1 400x275

A manufacturer of cardboard trays has cut staff time needed for machine tending while ensuring employees face reduced risk of injuries

The application:

Assembly and stacking of fresh produce boxes

The challenge:

Load machines efficiently using fewer staff and reducing risk of injury to workers associated with lifting and repetitive tasks

The solution:

Fully mechanized loading, production and stacking system, featuring two ABB IRB 4600 robots to stack finished boxes and flip the top box of the stack to avoid ingress of dust.

Well-made protective packaging is key to ensuring that foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables arrive on supermarket and grocery shelves in peak condition. Keeping pace with demand means that this packaging needs to be produced as quickly as possible without compromising either quality or strength.

Orora Fresh Packaging Solutions is achieving this at its Canada HQ using an ABB robot cell to help assemble, load, and lift its protective cardboard packaging products for the fresh food industry. As well as helping to boost efficiency, the cell is enabling the company to make better use of its workforce, with fewer people needed to run its packaging line. By reducing the need for staff to handle the packaging, the risk of injuries associated with lifting and performing repetitive actions is also minimized.

 

Watch this video to see how ABB Robots Check All Boxes, Helping to Make Packaging Company More Productive

 

At its plant in Kingsville, Orora Fresh Packaging Solutions produces plastic and corrugated cardboard trays for the transportation and storage of fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables. The process involves pre-cut corrugated sheets being loaded into the machine, which forms the boxes ready for stacking on pallets, wrapping and dispatch.

The company was faced with several challenges – including the need to boost productivity and improve the quality of work for existing employees. With material handling and packing included on Canada’s occupation shortage list, the company was also having trouble in hiring staff.

“Manufacturing is one of many sectors in Canada that is struggling to find staff. Statistics Canada figures show around 87,000 job vacancies for the first quarter of 2022, and there is no relief in sight for the near future.,” says Nicolas Durand, Head of ABB’s Robotics Business in Canada.

“This is having a big impact on the ability of companies to meet demand for their products, requiring them to find new ways of handling the work.”

Before the installation of its new automated solution, staff at Orora Fresh could load only 10-15 sheets of cardboard at a time, needing to repeat this action many times in a shift. Stacking the completed boxes was also manually based. The repetitive nature of the job and the sometimes-high temperatures experienced in the plant had led to difficulties when trying to employ extra staff to cover for seasonal peaks.

Frank Pavicic, Human Resources Manager, Orora Fresh, says:

“We had some older machines that posed challenges in loading and reaching when loading the cardboard, causing the potential for injuries to people. During summer months, the cardboard loading area could also become unpleasantly warm, which led to a high turnover of staff as people did not want to work there.”

A durable solution

To get the right solution for its needs, Orora Fresh worked with AIS Technologies Group. Summing up the requirements of an automated solution, Shawn Horton, Director of Marketing and Business Development for AIS Technologies Group, says: “Can we do things more efficiently, can we reduce labor, can we produce a more ergonomically friendly system?

“We chose ABB to help us build a solution because we were looking for a durable product that met our needs, met Orora’s needs and would also stand the test of time.”

AIS technologies came up with a solution based on two ABB IRB 4600 robots. Corrugated cardboard sheets are loaded into a magazine, which can take 250 at a time. The sheets are then drawn into shape in the box forming machine. A vision system looks for issues such as correct gluing or any tags sticking out. If a finished box does not meet these requirements, it is rejected.

Boxes then go into the stacker, where an ABB robot stacks an entire pallet with boxes to the correct height for transport. The second robot then flips the box over to form a cap, preventing the ingress of dust into the boxes, and then places the boxes into a proper pallet formation.

Variable boxes pose a challenge

While developing the new system, one of the biggest challenges was the variability in the boxes. The flipping maneuver requires two motions, first lifting the box and then inverting it. This involves removing the handling device used to lift the box and then holding it with another device to turn it over and put it back on the stack. AIS simulated these movements using ABB’s RobotStudio offline programming and simulation suite. Some 95 percent of the development work was done in RobotStudio, with five percent done on a physical prototype.

“Using RobotStudio greatly reduced the commissioning time,” says Horton. “If we had not been able to simulate offline then we wouldn’t have been able to do it at all.”

Efficiency at the plant has improved as five box machines that needed 10 people can now be run by three. Overall, each machine can run 6000-7000 boxes. Although this is a lower volume than previously, cost savings are still achieved through staff savings and greater quality of end products.

Although staff were initially wary that the new system would result in job losses, no full-time employees were eliminated. “Once they saw the scope of work and our commitment to investing in our facilities, they were very positive,” says Pavicic. The new efficiencies have freed up people to run different types of machines, while the new system has eliminated repetitive strain injuries and reduced risk of trips and falls.

Adds Mackenzie: “Being able to produce a quality product the first time, running through an automated system, reduces our scrap and our downtime and gets our product to the customer in a priority manner.”

ABB Logo 300x150

 

 

 

Source

 


Editor's Pick: Featured Article


 

DCS SEW MOVIC 1 400x275

 

When it comes to power transmission and motion control, SEW-EURODRIVE needs no formal introduction. Counted among the industry leaders in drive technology, SEW-EURODRIVE makes drive-based automation its business. SEW-EURODRIVE, founded in 1931, is a global company that specializes in gear motors, frequency inverters, drive systems, industrial gears, and control software. SEW-EURODRIVE products are distinguished by their modular components and customer-centric philosophy. Their modular components can be built in a multitude of configurations, durable gear housings, offer flexible mounting capabilities, and provide advanced electronics that ensure equipment continuously operates efficiently.

Drives & Control Solutions' sibling, Mechatronics Canada, had the opportunity to speak with Shane Carnegie, Electronics Product Manager at SEW-EURODRIVE Canada, to learn more about MOVI-C, a modular automation system that offers a full solution for automation tasks. MOVI-C has been continuously expanding its reach into the mechatronics space, offering an encompassing solution for machine builders and integrators. Below Shane walks us through some of MOVI-C’s unique features and real-world applications.

Can you explain what MOVI-C does?

MOVI-C is an all-in-one modular automation system. Building on the familiar SEW modular gear motors and previous generation inverters, we now have modular inverters, controllers and associated software which ties everything together. For example, you can have a gear box with an AC induction motor, a permanent magnet motor, or a servo motor based on your application requirements. Attached to that we can provide a motor controller which can be mounted in a panel or directly on or near the gear motor. The positioning or velocity control software can be pre-loaded into the motor controller at the factory and all that is required is to send the same standard process data words from your main PLC to the drive system to perform your desired motion. The software interface looks identical no matter what controller or underlying gear motor system is attached.

What are some of the major features that MOVI-C has to offer?

 

Read more here 


 


Sponsored Content


Convenient Power Infeed and Distribution 

Siemens DCS Aug3 Kerwill CP Ad 2 300x250 copy

 

 

The 3RV29 infeed system is based on a basic module complete with a lateral incoming supply unit (three-phase busbar with infeed). Expansion modules (three-phase busbars for system expansion) are available for extending the system.

 

 

To learn more, click here

 

 

 


 


 

DCS HPS Putting Power Quality to the Test 1 400x275

The HPS Power Quality Lab allows customers to experience real time testing of line side HPS power quality products such as transformers, line reactorsactive harmonic filters and passive harmonic filters as well as load side products such as load reactors and different types of dV/dT filters with various cable lengths. The power quality products can run at full load using either 10HP, 25HP and 100HP VFD systems and associated motor/load. 

The HPS Power Quality Lab will be available for booking starting in October.

HPS Power Quality Lab FAQs

Where is the HPS PQ lab located?

The HPS PQ Lab is located at our Headquarters in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

What products can be tested in the HPS PQ lab?

The main products that can be tested are line/load reactors, passive harmonic filters, active harmonic filters and dV/dT filters.

How long is a typical session in the lab?

It is expected that a session will typically be completed within 1 hour depending on how many products, sizes and operating conditions are to be addressed.  

Read more here


 

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New Product

DCS Keep Your Distance and Saty Safe New MP8000 Bluetooth Enabled Safety Relay from Littelfuse 1 400x275

Introducing the Revolutionary New MP8000 Bluetooth® Enabled Overload Relay. This smart, universal relay can communicate directly with your smart phone via Bluetooth®. No need to open the control panel. Monitor and control unlimited relays through the Littelfuse App on the smartphone you already own from a safe distance.

Sign Up for an In-Person Demo Today!

"This is a HUGE opportunity. During a new installation, I can be right next to the motor at start up to see if it’s binding (or other problems).”



To read more, click here


 


Featured Product

DCS With Breakthrough 4 Tube Technology and Larger Sizes Endress Hauser Promass Q Finds New Roles in Oil and Gas 1 400x275

Promass Q 300/500, the high-tech Coriolis flowmeter series from Endress+Hauser for demanding fluids, now boasts revolutionary 4-tube technology, opening up numerous additional applications in the oil and gas industry in particular – for example, as a highly accurate duty meter for custody transfer and fiscal metering, or as a precision reference device (master meter) for on-site verification measurements. Furthermore, Promass Q now is available for three larger pipe sizes: DN 150 (6”), DN 200 (8”) and DN 250 (10").

Compared to Coriolis flowmeters with two measuring tubes, four-tube measurement allows up to 25% higher flow rates. This accelerates all transactions and ultimately saves money. For example, it reduces standstill times for loading and unloading oil tankers, resulting in lower charges.


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