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Robotic Depalletizer & Automatic Bag Dump Station for Powders

robotic depalletizer and bag opening system for chemical powders

One of our manufacturers recently designed and implemented an automated robotic depalletizer and bag dump station for a customer in the chemical industry. The system involves a robotic depalletizer that unstacks 50 lb. bags of chemical powders from a shipping pallet located to the left and right side of the robot.  The bags are picked up 3 at a time and placed 1 at a time on a conveyor that transports them to an inclined belt conveyor that discharges them into automatic bag dump station. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the system, explain how the automated system works using a vision system, and outline the features and benefits of the system.

How the Automated System Works

The system’s automation relies on computer vision to detect and lift / place the bags of chemical powder from a filled pallet. The robotic arm is fitted with End of Arm Tooling (EoAT) that uses zoned vacuum suction to lift the 50 lb. bags. This suction system allows for precise positioning and gripping of the bags, even if they are slightly misaligned or damaged or there is less than a full pallet entered into the system.

robotic depalletizer system placing bags on conveyor

Robotic depalletizer system has End of Arm Tooling (EoAT) that uses zoned vacuum suction to grip and lift the bags

The robot uses a combination of sensors, including a 3D camera, to detect the position and orientation of the bags and pallets. The camera captures a 3D image of the pallet and sandbags, which is then processed by algorithms to determine the optimal path for the robot to follow.

50 lb bag of chemical powder going up incline conveyor to bag opening machine

Bag traveling up incline conveyor to automatic bag dump station

Once the bags are gripped, the robot unstacks them from the pallet and places them onto a belt conveyor. The bags are then conveyed up to an automatic bag dump station that automatically slices / slits opens the bags and discharges their chemical powder. The discarded bags are also collected at the same time, compressed, and conveyed to a collection point for disposal.

Bag opening machine during factory acceptance test with opened and discarded bags

Automatic bag dump station during factory acceptance test. Emptied bags have been sliced open and discharged. Product discharges from bottom of dump station and will be conveyed to downstream processes.

opened and sliced poly plastic bag for 50 lbs of chemical powders

Sliced bag collected from automatic bag dump station. Bags are slit open and completely emptied inside of the system with no product retention.

After the robot has finished depalletizing a pallet, it starts to unstack another pallet located on the opposite side, while the empty pallets are automatically conveyed to an automated empty pallet collection system. This part of the system uses automated conveyors to convey the empty pallet to a pallet collection system.

empty pallets moving toward automated pallet collection system

Empty pallets moving toward automated pallet collection system

empty pallet being squared up before entering automatic pallet collection system

Empty pallet being squared up before entering automatic pallet collection system

Features and Benefits

The automated depalletizer system offers several benefits to the customer, including:

  • Reduced labor requirements and costs: The system automates a previously labor-intensive process, freeing up employees for other tasks.
  • Increased consistent throughput of product to downstream systems: The automatic bag dump station can process and slice open bags quickly and completely, ensuring a consistent flow to downstream systems with all product being discharged from each bag.
  • Reduced ergonomic issues: By automating the depalletizing process, the system eliminates the need for employees to handle heavy bags and reduces the risk of injury.
  • Compact system footprint: The system is designed to take up minimal floor space, making it a good fit for facilities with limited space.
  • Customizable for various bag sizes and materials: The system is flexible and can be customized to accommodate a range of bag sizes (10-100 lbs.) and materials.
  • Low maintenance requirements: The system is designed for reliability and minimal maintenance, reducing downtime, and increasing productivity.
  • Improved accuracy and precision: The use of computer vision technology ensures precise and accurate bag handling and placement.

Ready to Automate an Existing Process?

If you’re interested in learning more about our depalletizing solutions, or other types of automation, please contact us to request more information, ask a question, or get a free price quote.

Call: (979) 217-1480

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