AirGrip gripper solution for robot-based handling of beverage bottles - Reliable, flexible and fast
07. September 2017
Norwegian beverage manufacturer Roma Mineralvannfabrikk AS, based in Lillestrøm, is a multiple award-winning family enterprise. Roma has been producing sodas and other high-quality soft drinks to its own recipes for almost 100 years. It also manufactures products of other brands under licence.
In 2014 Roma was confronted with a number of orders that called for a high degree of flexibility – requirements that could not be met with the existing packaging technology of a traditional factory. It ultimately came down to the question of whether the company was capable of handling such a broad portfolio of beverage types and packaging forms.
A definitive solution was finally presented in the form of Yaskawa’s AirGrip system, a gripper solution designed specifically for robot-based handling of beverage bottles. Mounted on a Motoman handling robot, the patented tool enables reliable, flexible and fast loading/unloading processes for glass and plastic bottles in crates, trays and multipacks. Meanwhile, Roma has been using the robot-based AirGrip system with considerable success. Due to the new flexibility the company has seen an approx. 30 % increase in sales.
AirGrip gripper solution
With strong and robust rubber gripping cuffs the AirGrip guarantees a secure hold on the bottlenecks, even in high-speed applications, without damaging the screw caps. The bottles are lifted by means of compressed air. The low level of mechanical stress means reduced maintenance requirements, and because the cuffs are open at the top, there is no restriction in bottle height. In addition, the lightweight tool was designed to enable easy cleaning. The cuffs are available in five standard sizes, and customized designs are also possible. They can be replaced manually without the need for a special tool.
A sorting table with optionally one or two robots rounds off the AirGrip system. It permits the automated feed of either individual bottles or entire multipacks with bottle contents of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 litres.
Two particularly efficient Yaskawa Motoman robot models are being employed at Roma together with the AirGrip system: a 5-axis heavy-duty SP800 robot with a payload of 800 kg and a 4-axis MPL500 palletizing robot with a capacity of 500 kg.
Thanks to their wide operating range, the MPL series of four-axis Motoman models is ideal for palletizing tasks. Fast acceleration and high speeds of up to 1,200 of the usual palletizing cycles per hour also play a role here. In addition to box palletizing and further logistical applications, a particular focus is being placed on automation solutions in distribution centres. The internal cable routing ensures a high level of reliability and low interfering contours, and it is also particularly cost-effective.
Norwegian Roma Mineralvannfabrikk AS – like many other beverage manufacturers and breweries – has been using Yaskawa’s AirGrip system with considerable success. Its system incorporates a sorting table and two Yaskawa Motoman robot models. Due to the new flexibility the company has been able to increase its sales by about 30 %.
YASKAWA Nordic AB - 38525 Torsås/Schweden
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