Robot onion packers reduce personnel requirements

G’s Fresh Vegetables in England have been able to reduce their production staff requirements by fifty percent. At the same time the safety of the employees on the workfloor has been increased to a large extent. They realised this by using Abar Automation flexible robot systems in their production process in their factory in Ramsey, Petersborough.

With the “Lean” principles fixed firmly in its head G's have installed six robot packing systems of the Dutch company Abar Automation BV in this factory. The Abar robot systems pick up the packed onions and garlic and put these quickly, accurately and fully automatically in the crates. These go onto a pallet and will be ready for delivery. In this way 1000 tons of onions are packed for G's Growers cooperative seven days a week.

G's Fresh Vegetables have adjusted its policy over the last four years to the 'lean' principle and created more involvement in the working area, resulting in a still higher efficiency and quality to be guaranteed. The investment in an Abar automatic packing system for onions in 2009 fits completely into this plan.

The system supplied by Abar Automation contains in first instance an automatic destacker in order to put these one by one from a stack of crates onto the transport belts. The crates then go the to weighing and filling unit and after filling are being checked for correct total weight.The 'baling arms' which are typical for crates in England, are closed automatically by the Abar system. After that the full crates are presented to the R2000 robot. There they are collected, maximum three high and palletised.

The second fase was installed last year. This fase picks up bales of onions and puts these in the previously described crate, after which this is palletised as mentioned. The supply took three Abar LR-80B pick and place robot cells and two M710 palletisers. The bags with onions are picked up in the LR 80B and placed in the crate. The full crates are palletised by the M710 robot.

With the implementation of the "Overall Equipment Efficiency" measuring system it is possible to formulate concrete objectives and to create high expectations of this packing line. Data are collected continuously from important measuring points in the production lines. This makes it possible to establish the location and the cause of the 'down time'. The many data obtained and the Abar robot automation assist in localising finally the points of improvement to be implemented in the total process.

For more information:
Abar Automation BV
Patrick Smit
129, Haarlemmerstraatweg
1165 MK Halfweg
Tel: +31 (0)20 407 20 40
Fax: +31 (0)20 524 12 38


Publication date: 6/23/2011

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