CKF Systems Ltd, a leading supplier of automated handling, robotic solutions and conveyor systems to manufacturing industry, has developed a range of cost-effective robot handling cells designed specifically for those businesses currently operating a manual palletising line.
The AC25, a direct replacement for existing manual operations, is exceptionally easy to install and operate and at a cost of just £80,000, will typically provide a payback in under two years.
"Our objective was to design a low-cost robot palletising cell that can be installed as a standalone operation or combined for multiple feeds with a common discharge into secondary palletising operations such as spiral wrappers or pallet stacking," explains Kevin Staines, sales director, CKF Systems Ltd.
“All aspects of the cell are based on proven technologies and utilise user friendly interfaces for both operatives and engineers. The operational simplicity of this palletising cell means that we have addressed one of the biggest concerns of those SME’s still resistant to change; that their businesses are unprepared for the complexities of automation."
A typical manual palletising line is, by its very nature, a labour intensive handling operation with inherent limitations in respect of box sizes, weight and restricted flow rates. The AC25 will operate at 15 cases per minute and, unlike a human operative, is not compromised by the introduction of layer cards or heavy boxes. Furthermore, current legislation restricts the maximum unit weight that an operative can lift and also defines the maximum achievable stack height on a pallet.
The AC25 Robot Palletising Cell has none of these limitations, its versatility includes increased stack heights that provide better trailer utilisation, reducing transportation costs and therefore providing a subsequent environmental benefit.
Manufactured in the UK, the cell utilises an ABB four-axis robot and industry standard equipment and comes with full support, including training and spares, a 12-month warranty and the option for a range of add-on features.
It is capable of handling cases with dimensions of up 400mm long x 300mm wide x 250mm high and a net weight of 25kg. It is designed with enhanced handling capabilities and high reliability levels. The CKF Palletising Cell will handle Euro or UK pallets with layer cards as an option.
In addition, the cell can easily be expanded to accommodate a series of additional modules such as vision cameras, layer cards, open-flap detection and pre-collation of boxes for increased throughputs and alternating pallet patterns.
Mike Wilson, chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA), has welcomed this latest CKF initiative: "The pressures on operating costs and output levels and the difficulty of attracting people for arduous tasks are real threats to the long-term sustainability of businesses that do not embrace automation. CKF’s AC25 is a cost-effective solution that can significantly improve the overall efficiency and flexibility of a business.
"The cell works in a small footprint and removes all issues related to human interface such as repetitive strain problems, rest breaks and availability of labour. There is also the peace of mind of working with a proven system from an established UK provider with a long and successful history in the field of robots and automation.”