Wolfgang Candy, US based confectionery manufacturer, has deployed ABB Robotics’ two IRB 340 FlexPicker robots via JLS Automation, a major automation integrator.
Rob Wolfgang, Managing Partner, has stated that they were looking for a system that could handle around 200 candy pieces in a minute. He mentioned that JLS has offered them both speed and adaptability and the robots have enabled them to provide tailored product solutions for their clients.
The IRB 340 FlexPicker robots comply with FDA regulations for food handling. The apex-mounted robots feature vacuum tools for picking and placing fragile candy pieces accurately in thermoform trays. The robots are vision-enabled and function by means of an ABB PickMaster software. The software enables the robots to precisely choose flawless items, leaving imperfect objects on the belt. The vacuum tooling and the robot are accurately synchronized to precisely pick a caramel-filled candy with correct pressure to avoid losing caramel filling.
During the conveyor belt tracing, the position repeatability of the robot is less than 1 mm, enabling the placement of cookies into a close-fitting tray compartment. The trays are positioned on a flow wrapper infeed, followed by wrapping and dispensing of trays.
The robots have enabled Wolfgang Candy to enhance productivity and quality as well as to reduce contagion problems and labor expenses. Further, the packaging speed has been enhanced by around 12%.