Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fanuc Robots Automate Green Pallet-Handling System

Fanuc Robotics has revealed that two of its robots are being used in a Green Solutions system that manufactures pallets made from paper pulp. The manufacturing process is automated from the input stage, where the paper is in a slurry form, right through to the output stage where the finished pallet is ready for use. Central to the process are two Fanuc Robotics robots, which handle the mould and moulded pallet and also control the system process.

Green Solutions supplies the complete manufacturing system to businesses requiring either one-way or multi-transport pallet use for their product deliveries. As systems can be supplied anywhere in the world, sourcing a reliable handling solution for the moulding process was important as it forms the core of the process. Samey, an Icelandic automation business, worked with Green Solutions to design the handling system. Thorkell Jonsonn, managing director of Samey, said: 'Robots were the most cost-effective solution for the process and provided a highly supportable answer to reliability and ease of production. At the beginning of the process, robot one - a Fanuc Robotics M-900iA - dips a mould into the paper slurry.

After a short period of time, the mould, weighing 250kgs at this stage, is removed and a vacuum applied to the top surface of the pallet to remove water. After the first vacuum operation, the robot rotates the pallet and delivers it to a static vacuum device, which extracts water from the other side of the mould. The pallet is then transferred to robot two - a Fanuc Robotics M-2000iB - which applies its vacuum gripper to the pallet while robot one ejects it from its gripper.

When robot two signals that it has made a vacuum, robot one departs the transfer area and continues with another dip operation. Robot two at this point loads the pallet into one of six drying ovens. The Fanuc Robotics controller manages the sequence for all six ovens, including door operation and heat blow, allowing it to instruct the robot to unload the correct oven and place a finished pallet into an output conveyor.

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