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New tool may offer faster palletizing for heavy cases

By Jane Byrne , 17-Apr-2009

A new automated palletizing system has been specifically developed to enable rapid vacuum handling of heavy cases while enhancing worker safety for a broad range of industries, including the food and beverage processing sector, claims its manufacturer.

Canadian company, StrongPoint Automation, said that its High Capacity Palletizer for RSC cases can replace any palletizer that is currently lacking capacity to handle multiple case sizes or high case weights, and that the system can also be implemented to replace a manual process.

The Ontario-based company said that its new palletizing system includes a StrongPoint End of Arm Tool (EOAT), which is fabricated in a way to ensure optimised tooling weight, and also successfully addresses the issue of dropped or misplaced RSC cases in robotic systems.

“The EOAT is designed to handle a wide range of product weights and sizes without timely tooling adjustments or changeovers, and is able to handle multiple cases each exceeding 50 lbs for a total pick weight of over 200 lbs,” stated the manufacturer

Warren Tait, president of StrongPoint, explained that the new palletizer includes a high capacity vacuum pump used to provide vacuum flows at the cup face, traditionally not achievable with venturi style generators.

Fast processing

Moreover, he claims that the EOAT differs from existing vacuum-based tools in that in can process case placements at high speeds due to its pneumatically actuated side clamps that operate on the principal of a four bar linkage to combat the problem of high shear loads.

Tait told FoodProductionDaily.com that the system can palletize at rates that would normally demand a number of dedicated employees being cycled through the job if it was a manual operation.

“Manual palletizing of heavy cases will often lead to worker fatigue and injury resulting in a problematic loss of production. A single arm system can operate at speeds greater than 20 cases per minute,” he explained.

Enhancing TCO

Tait claims that the High Capacity Palletizer enables plant managers to reduce their overall workforce, reduce or eliminate workplace injury claims while simultaneously increasing product throughput.

“By using a high capacity vacuum approach the StrongPoint system can palletize heavy products at an implementation cost much lower than the traditional bottom supporting fork tools commonly used by other integrators,” he continued.

Tait maintains that the StrongPoint system can easily be placed at the end of an existing line where traditional hand palletizing is taking place, and that its relatively small footprint and flexibility means the palletizer can be fully integrated into the plant environment in as little as 48 hours.

StrongPoint said that it markets its systems throughout North America and Europe.

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