Vision guided robotic case packing of flexible bags

York, PA JLS Automation has expanded the capabilities of its Osprey® robotic case packer to now include casing of flexible packages. Package styles that can be handled include pillow bags, stand-up (quad type or doyen) resealable pouches and more. With the robot's ability to rotate the packages, virtually any case pack pattern is possible from basic stacking to horizontal nesting.

"We've all seen tremendous growth and popularity of flexible packaging, especially with stand-up bags, in recent years," says Craig A. Souser, President/CEO. "It's a market that will keep growing. Case packing of flexible packages has traditionally been done by hand, which puts limits on line-speeds and overall productivity. With our Osprey, producers can now automate their casing of flexible packages and increase their overall line efficiency, while increasing their bottom line in the long run."

As packages are delivered to the Osprey from a HFFS or VFFS machine, collation of bags into flights is not required. By use of vision-guided technology, the case packer will automatically orientate the packages when picking and prior to casing. This allows for a jam-free operation.

When compared to conventional 2-axis pick and place systems, the Osprey offers flexible and simplified end-of-arm tooling (EOAT). That means quicker changeovers, ability to rotate/orientate packages on the fly and a more sanitary design, which is standard with all JLS machines.

Case handling is performed via a new pinch belt design allowing for quick changeovers, better sanitation and lower maintenance costs. Food manufacturers can now eliminate costly and complicated collation systems, indexing belts, flighted case conveyors and flap control mechanisms. Reliable case handling and control, dynamic case loading ability and fast case exchange rates are some of the additional benefits.

The Osprey features single or dual ABB IRB 360 FlexPicker robots (8kg payload), which are the most sanitary picking robots on the market today. System speed for a dual-head Osprey is 150+ packages/minute, depending on bag size/weight.

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