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Upgrading to an Automated Palletizing System for 100 lb. Paper Bags

fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using a bag gripper tool

Fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using a bag gripper tool

A contract packaging company recently upgraded their existing manual bag stacking system to an automated palletizing system.  The new system includes bag handling and robotic pick conveyors, a Fanuc robotic arm with a bag gripper tool, and an automated pallet and slip sheet dispenser.

With the added palletizing automation, the system is now able to fill and stack 100 lb. bags at a rate of 10-12 bags/minute.  The company can also quickly swap out settings to fill and stack 50 lb. bags at a rate of 15-16 bags/minute.

Process Description

An operator fills 100 lb. craft paper bags with abrasive minerals using 2 valve bag air packers.  These types of bag fillers use air pressure to push the minerals into a bag.  Using a self-sealing valve bag for this type of application ensures minimal product spill and dust.  It also reduces the need for additional bag closing equipment.

Once filled, the bags automatically tip and drop onto a bag discharge conveyor.  Then, the bags move through a bag turner conveyor that correctly orients them before they are conveyed up an incline conveyor to a pacing conveyor.  The pacing conveyor controls the speed of the presentation of the bags to a Fanuc robotic arm via a squaring conveyor and a robot pick conveyor.  Additionally, a bag printer is used to print a unique trackable and scannable code on each bag while on the pacing conveyor.

 

bag discharge conveyor and bag turning conveyor

Bag discharge conveyor under air packers and bag turning conveyor

 

100 lb. bags of minerals moving through bag turning conveyor and up incline conveyor

Reverse view of 100 lb. bags of minerals moving through bag turning conveyor and up incline conveyor to pacing conveyor with a bag printer

 

Next, the bags move into the automated palletizing system where a Fanuc robotic arm with a bag gripper tool gently picks up the bags and stacks them on an empty pallet that includes a slip sheet.  The bag palletizing robot stacks the 100 lb. bags using a custom stored recipe that generates a specific stack pattern for this particular product.  Switching the packaging system to fill and palletize 50 lb. bags is also a simple process.  It only requires the operator to change the target set fill points on the air packers and load another stored bag palletizing recipe on the robot’s remote control.

 

Fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using a bag gripper tool

Fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using a bag gripper tool

 

Additional view of Fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using bag gripper tool and stacking on an almost full pallet

Additional view of Fanuc robot picking up 100 lb. bag of minerals using bag gripper tool and stacking on an almost full pallet

 

As mentioned earlier, this system also includes an automatic pallet dispenser with automatic slip sheet dispensing.  Empty pallets are loaded into a magazine.  When an empty pallet is requested by the system, it is dispensed from the magazine and is conveyed to an automatic slip sheet dispenser.  One slip sheet is applied to an empty pallet before both are conveyed to a set position where the robot starts to stack bags on top of it.

 

Empty pallet being dispensed from automatic pallet dispenser

Empty pallet being dispensed from automatic pallet dispenser

 

Automatic slip sheet dispenser placing slip sheet on a pallet

Automatic slip sheet dispenser placing slip sheet on a pallet

 

Once a pallet has been completed, it moves down a filled pallet take away conveyor where an operator removes the pallet and places shrink wrap over it.  Then, the operator applies heat to the shrink wrap which causes it to contract and hold the bags in place on the pallet.  Then, the operator removes the pallet for shipping or storage.

 

Shrink wrapped pallet of 100 lb. valve bags containing abrasive minerals

Shrink wrapped pallet of 100 lb. valve bags

 

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