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Flexible Case Packer with Collaborative Automation

New Proco case packer incorporates a cobot arm and flexible packing programs with quick changeover.

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The next generation of Pakman case packer for blow molded bottles has been unveiled by Proco Machinery Inc. The unit is integrated with a Yaskawa Motoman HC10 or HC20 cobot that works interactively with humans and needs minimal “teaching” for new tasks. The new model is said to provide simplified operation, smaller footprint, and flexibility for different packing configurations and quick tooling changeovers.

Proco Pakman bottle packer with collaborative robot.

The Pakman case packer features a collating, indexing accumulator system to accumulate complete layers of bottles inside the packing cell. The accumulation table stages the layer of bottles so they can be picked up by the cobot’s end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) and placed inside a box. Typical robotic movement row by row would slow the overall packing operation. The accumulating indexing conveyor allows for just one movement of the cobot per layer for faster packing. Due to static electricity, PET bottles tend to repel each other when they are close together. The Pakman layer-pack EOAT technology places containers inside the box as a complete layer, preventing any change in bottle position, according to Proco.

Another innovative feature is Integrated Rotary Inverting Technology, which helps to rotate a layer of bottles to neck-down orientation. This does not change the packaging cell size; it is an add-on feature that can be retrofitted to the line after initial purchase.

For one customer, Proco provided a multiple packing solution within one cell. The system handles both re-shipper containers and regular full boxes. Proco’s special quick-release tooling lets the customer do changeovers in 30 min to run a new pack pattern. The customer can recall the program for a pack pattern from the control pendant to change the tooling and set up the system to run different bottles.

The Pakman case-packer is a self-contained, integrated packing module with a six-axis cobot arm, bottle infeed and exit conveyor and box infeed and exit conveyor—all mounted on a common sub-frame that’s fitted with leveling pads and caster wheels. Also included are an integrated collating table for staging the bottles, container inverting mechanism, PLC with control pendant, vacuum feature for polybagging, and box alignment mechanism.

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