Brillopak’s UniPAKer crate loading robot for fresh produce, meat, fish, and ready meals factories has won the Food Processing Robotics and Automation Award at a prestigious live event hosted by comedian Patrick Monaghan at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Coventry, on 9th September.
The judging panel chose four finalists for each of the eight award categories and then passed the baton over to their readers to pick their winner. Brillopak was crowned champion of Robotics and Automation thanks to their innovative UniPAKer robot, which incorporates a four-arm delta robot, to significantly increase productivity while improving pack presentation in crates to reduce waste.
The UniPAKer system has been specifically designed to improve pack presentation in retailer crates and handle products carefully to prevent damage. It will consistently load up to 120 packs per minute in VFFS, tray sealed, and flow wrapped packs and is ideal for vegetables, fruits, meat, and ready meal packs of up to 1kg.
The system was recently installed at three Morrisons fresh produce sites. Rushden site manager Andy Day comments: “Brillopak’s UniPAKer just keeps going! Loading with dexterity, tilting, and placing packs individually at speeds that a layer packing robot couldn’t contend with. It’s an extremely clever piece of kit.”
Suzanne Gill, editor of Food Processing, comments, “We are always keen to highlight and reward ‘industry first’s, and Brillopak’s project for Morrisons was the first single-pick potato packing cell, which overcame a traditional problem – that of piercing bags and damaging the product when working at speed, loading crates. Brillopak worked with the customer to overcome all the challenges to provide an automated solution that improves product handling, minimizes waste, and enhances the presentation of VFFS produce bags.”
The UniPAKer has met Morrisons’ key business/project objectives. Forming part of a site-wide investment in front and back end manufacturing improvements, the Rushden site has seen improvements in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Andy attributes these improvements to the increased packing speed, better presentation, less front to back end bottlenecks, and fewer staff frustrations.
Brillopak Director David Jahn comments: “I’d like to thank Brillopak’s team of designers and engineers who pride themselves on attention to detail and are dedicated to building simple plug and play systems. I hope the UniPAKer will help more UK produce factories to automate their end of line packing facilities successfully.”