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Safely packing fresh egg cases

09 November 2020

The latest robot palletising technology has been employed to help safely pack fresh egg cases – helping to increase throughput and reduce costs. 

CKF designed, manufactured and installed egg packing and palletising systems for a supplier of eggs to many UK supermarkets. The project aim was to reduce the number of eggs that were damaged, increase throughput and reduce the amount of manual handling involved in the palletising process.

The system was installed into the existing out-feed egg-packing system which fills cartons of various sizes and materials and closes their lids. Previously this fed the eggs to a manual packing station. 

The new system feeds the filled and closed cartons onto the out-feed conveyor – the set-up of which is determined by production requirements. The solution includes a vision system which verifies that the use-by date has been included and that the lid is closed. If the lid is not closed or the date is incorrect or missing, the product is rejected and sent to the reject conveyor for removal. 
Automating the process means that faulty product is removed swiftly from the line. If the product passes the test then the egg carton is transferred onto the collation infeed conveyor unit which transfers and orientates the product correctly ready to be conveyed to the box splitter unit. Where two packs of 6 egg cartons are joined and need to be split, the box splitter unit is used to split the cartons using a blade without damaging the eggs. The box splitter can cut both pulp and plastic cartons which offers versatility. The solution has a product spacing unit which uses pneumatic stop gates to ensure there is a set amount of space between the cartons of eggs or group of egg cartons to allow for pack orientation or for repositioning into the correct lane.

A low back pressure chain roller conveyor moves the egg cartons through to the robot sorting collation conveyor. The sorting modular belt conveyor encoder is used to track the cartons positions, enabling the sorting robot to reposition the packs thus creating the required collation. The system sorting robot is programmed to arrange the cartons of eggs into specific patterns on the sorting modular belt conveyors as required by the packing robot. The type of carton and the type of container the cartons are being packed in determines the collation pattern the cartons are placed in by the robot. Once the cartons are positioned on the sorting modular belt conveyors, they are transported onto the collation conveyor unit. The cartons are also correctly orientated by the sorting robot. 

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