We have developed a powerful and flexible system using an industrial robot for handling valve bags. Valve bags are a very popular packaging solution for many different industries such as dry building materials, fertilizers, food, minerals, chemicals. They have an opening valve in one corner through which the sack is filled. Key advantages are their applicability for high-speed filling and the box type sack that they produce one filled. It sits very stable and allows the palletizing of many bags on a single pallet. Furthermore, the bag closes by itself and there is no need for sewing, sealing or other similar operation, which costs both time and money.
However, a disadvantage of many of the smaller and mid-sized bag filling machines is that they have to be tended manually. An operator has to stand next to the machine and apply the empty bags. It is a highly repetitive job and when the operator gets bored and distracted, it has a negative impact on the cycle time.
We have developed an automated robotic solution for handling and applying empty valve bags to packer spouts. It features a FANUC M-10iD industrial robot that reaches the highest axis speed and precision in its class. The robots use a specialized gripper designed for this particular application. It picks up the bags, opens them and places them on the packer spouts. It works in coordination with the filling machines. The system has an empty bag feeder that can accommodate dozens of different types of bags, offers a long period of autonomous working and saves a lot of space with compact size.
The Siviko Bag Application Robot system has several main advantages – increased productivity, great flexibility, compact size and ease of use.
Increased productivity: The use of an automated bag application system increases productivity. The system features a very short and stable cycle time of fewer than 6 seconds per bag. Furthermore, it works in coordination with the filling machine(s). Therefore, there is no unwanted downtime or slowdown. Last, but not least it rejects defective valve bags before it even tries application. Thus, it avoids jammed bags and downtime.
Flexibility: The highly versatile robot gives a full working envelope, reach and stroke and can be reprogrammed and repurposed. For example, it could be configured to a variety of different layouts. It can serve several packer spouts simultaneously. Furthermore, due to the design of the buffer, there is great flexibility in using many different types of bags. It is also very easy to load or change the type of bags. Last but not least, if necessary, the industrial robot can move to the side and allow manual work by an operator.
Compact size: The robot can be top or floor mounted. In either case, it has a small footprint. The programmable paths allow automation in tight areas where conventional equipment is too large or rigid in the application.
Ease of use: Controlling and working with the valve bag application system is easy and intuitive. It could be integrated into our industrial control, which is developed on the Ignition SCADA platform by Inductive automation. The two systems communicate via the modern OPC-UA protocol. The user-friendly interface allows the operator to control the robot and see real-time and historic information about its status, parameters and alarms.
The Siviko Bag Application Robot system is an excellent automated solution for the bagging process of valve bags. It is fast, flexible, compact in size and easy to use. It can work with all types of filling machines and with many different types of valve bags. This makes it a universal solution across many industries and products that use valve bags for packaging.
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