Thermoform Product Handling
Our automation engineers bring innovative solutions to material handling challenges inherent in plastics through:
Thermoform Product - Material Handling and Palletizing
AMT recently completed a project handling a thermoformed (Styrofoam) product, with all the manipulation difficulties associated with that material. The pack out process was fed by a high-speed continuous-motion printing process. Once printed, the system created measured stacks and compressed them to a specific length before a robot created pallets of the product, then stretch-wrapped and labeled them before they left to be staged for shipment. This product material exhibits high variation and required tool design and programming to handle high variation and promote stability as it was processed through the system.
This system is comprised of a series of dual robotic cells installed in our customer’s facility. Custom-designed machine automation works to properly separate and manage part stack size. FANUC R2000 robot handles part stacks in order to feed next operations, buffer part content and reject improper stacks for human inspection. Each series has a first cell that manages thermoform product exiting customer forming machines. Product is nested for the correct stack density and then transferred to a conveyance system. The second cell palletizes stacks of product so that they can be transported.
Some of the main advantages that this system provides for the customer:
Improved consistency of handling of a challenging product, which by its nature is easily affected by environment and material properties and inconsistencies. In particular this improvement was felt in the ability to properly build and transport pallets of material.
AMT was able to customize each series of production cells to work within small building constraints and with location of monument machinery in order to provide for function, safety and flexibility.
Customized human-machine interface (HMI) allowed for more dynamic operator control of the system in order to help manage the impact of upstream and downstream events. This also provided detailed diagnostics, simplified error recovery and operator ease of use.