Pizza Cartons palletised by Robot


Up to 320 cases per hour are palletised around the clock at the end of the second production line at Charnwood Foods, Leicester, an RHM Group member that specialises in the manufacture of pizza bases for restaurant chains in the UK and across Europe. A Motoman SP100X four-axis palletising robot with a Unigripper vacuum suction gripper was chosen for the application by main contractor, Crown Conveyors.

The new manufacturing line been installed to cope with increasing demand for pizzas, making Charnwood one of the leading manufacturers of frozen discs in the UK with an annual production of 63 million bases. They are produced from raw ingredients, stacked, wrapped and boxed prior to palletising, there being 12 sizes of case to accommodate pizzas of different diameters.

Pallet layout programs provided by Motoman reside within the controller. The robot picks up the correct number of cartons - normally three - from the end of the production line and stacks them onto a pallet. Case weight is 16 to 19.5 kg. The quickest runner is processed at the rate of 40 cases per pallet, eight pallets per hour.

Within the robot cell is a turntable pallet wrapping station that secures the load prior to collection by forklift truck from a parallel conveyor.

David Harrison, Engineering Manager at Charnwood Foods, advised that the Motoman robot is proving reliable in operation, and very flexible. (The manufacturer quotes 52,000+ hours MTBF - nearly six years). It was always foreseen that a robot would be used for the palletising operation, as it would be an arduous and repetitive task for an operator to perform. Indeed, palletising at the end of the first manufacturing line has been carried out successfully by robot for the past eight years.

Two photographs herewith, captioned:

1. Cases of pizzas being palletised robotically at the end of the second production line at Charnwood Foods, Leicester.

2. When the required number of cases have been stacked, a turntable pallet wrapping station secures the load prior to collection by forklift truck.