Cosmetic packaging gets a makeover from robots | Automation.com

Cosmetic packaging gets a makeover from robots

Cosmetic packaging gets a makeover from robots
March 2, 2008 - System integrator, Skinetta, has developed a robotic end of line packaging system for Cederroth’s cosmetic bottles. The system offers a variable, flexible packaging concept for bottles – in any orientation - in the widest variety of shapes and sizes, with and without trays.

Cederroth International AB manufactures products for the health care, personal care, first aid and household sectors. Cederroth commissioned Skinetta Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG to provide a fully automated end of line packaging system for its cosmetics bottles. Peripheral devices already used at Cederroth’s factory had to be integrated into a line capable of packaging 14 different formats, 12 with trays and two without trays.

Skinetta developed a system, using robots from ABB Robotics, that was built, integrated and acceptance tested at Skinetta’s base in Germany, before the line was commissioned at Cederroth.

The cosmetics bottles, which come in a wide variety of designs and sizes, are presented randomly on a feed belt as they come from a labeller. An IRB1600 robot from ABB Robotics picks up the standing or lying bottles in a wide variety of shapes and positions with its vacuum gripper, depending on the grouping required, and places them in trays or positions them upright onto the running belt of the film wrapping machine. The robot is synchronized with the speed of the belt and conveyor tracking enables production to run continuously without having to pulse-run the belt, resulting in high productivity.

Once the grouping of the bottles is complete, they are wrapped in film and then fed into the shrinking tunnel. A labeller at the machine exit also sticks labels onto the bundle, which is then placed on a pallet by a second robot, an ABB Robotics IRB6600.

The IRB6600 places two bundles onto the pallet in such a way that the label always faces outwards. It also removes cushioning from a magazine and places it onto a layer on the pallet. This is where the impressive, 3.2 meter reach of the IRB6600 comes into play.

The cushioning boards are needed to stabilize the stack of pallets. Low-grade board is generally used as cushioning, often resulting in the robot sucking up two or three layers of cushioning. To avoid this, the robot has been designed to suck up the board on one side and turn its vacuum plate approximately 15°, causing the lower layers to loosen and drop. A motion of this sort is feasible only with a 6-axis robot.

The application imposes high demands on robot technology and control. It must be highly flexible because the design and grouping of products is constantly changing, and life cycle times for bottle designs are becoming shorter and shorter. As the system runs in two shifts, six days a week, high reliability is essential. The flexibility of the robot system makes it capable of meeting new demands in the future.

The new end of line packaging system enables Cederroth to make optimised, rapid changes of format on all machines within around 20 minutes. An operator-friendly control concept with optional fault diagnostics complements this solution.

ABB ROBOTICS
ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots - also providing robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. A strong solutions focus helps manufacturers improve productivity, product quality and worker safety. ABB has installed more than 150,000 robots worldwide.

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