By Andy Choi
Greenvale has turned to robotics to upgrade its packaging unit at the Cambridgeshire and Berwickshire sites. It has deployed four robots from FANUC Robotics in order to keep up with the packaging and volume demands from customers. The robots were designed by Abar Automation, a strategic partner of Fanuc Robotics.
DL-16ib loading 600 x 400 RTP's with container loading on the other side.
Each of the robots are responsible for picking 2.5 and 5 kg bags of potatoes and loading them into merchandisable units at the rate of 60 bags per minute. The robots are Abar’s DL-16 Loading Cells that were initially designed for handling 30 bags per minute. Rob Phillips, the Operations manager at Greenvale, explained that the robots have been upgraded three times to accommodate the increased packaging demand by exploiting the flexibility of the robots. The Cambridgeshire site has been upgraded by implementing lean practices to pump up the production capacity to 2,400 t per week. Apart from flexibility being an important factor for automation, space occupied is also to be considered while choosing an automation solution. Phillips added that the robots have been giving stable and reliable performance for the past one year requiring very little maintenance. He noted that one of the reasons for the problem free performance of their systems is the effective design and programming of the automation solutions from Abar. Philips boasts of a service uptime of 99.98% in system breakdown situations. He stresses on the importance of maintaining these levels so that integration process proceeds smoothly.