Marchesini Group's Romeo wireless line control instrument facilitates faster size cha...
Robomaster Ampoule Line and Ampoule Feeding System
Category: Conveyor Systems | 01/03/2010 - 05:54:45
Fast and versatile ampoule feeding: a challenge won with Robomaster
Ampoule Feeding System: Robomaster
An ampoule line featuring a fast and versatile ampoule feeding system. This is the challenge that Marchesini Group won recently thanks to the development of a special robotic system “Robomaster”
An ampoule line featuring a fast and versatile ampoule feeding system. This is the challenge that Marchesini Group won recently thanks to the development of a special robotic system “Robomaster”. The system meets the packaging requirements of delicate and fragile products such as glass containers (ampoules, vials, carpules).
The line consists of a Farcon thermoformer model FB320 with robotic feeder Robomaster and a cartoner model MA255 with robotic feeder Robocombi. Let’s take a look at some details of the various technological solutions that distinguish the line devised by Marchesini Group.
Robotic feeding – guaranteed versatility
The absolute mainstay of this line is the unit that feeds the ampoules to the thermoformer, namely “Robomaster”, a robotic solution devised and manufactured entirely by Marchesini Group. It is able to carry out up to 80 pick-up cycles per minute, with strokes of over 500 mm and always with an extremely delicate touch. It is Mr. Berti (engineer) of Marchesini Group who explains the innovative ampoule feeding system in detail. “The ampoules are loaded standing upright on a vibrating infeed conveyor – Mr. Berti pointed out – whose surface is treated with a special process that makes its sliding performance extremely fluid. This means that the ampoule “slides along” much softer without friction and excessive forces that could damage or cause the ampoule to fall as it is fed towards the pick-up drum, thus avoiding product jamming”.
“Worth a special mention – Mr. Berti added – is the fact that “Robomaster” is able to place the ampoules in the trays not only while they are at a standstill but also while they are moving, thanks to the “tracking function” of the thermoformed belt”
“What’s more, if the line is connected directly to a machine upstream, it can store the excess products in a buffer and use them again if their supply should stop, which consequently avoids stoppages of the thermoformer”.
From the thermoformer to the cartoning machine: Robocombi on MA255
The trays with the ampoules subsequently pass from the thermoformer to the cartoning machine thanks to another robotic solution, again designed by Marchesini Group, “Robocombi”. The trays are tracked, picked-up and placed gently in the cartoning machine bucket chain without any intermediate placing or transfer steps. This guarantees a totally positive transfer motion of the products and without any uncertainties. “The Robocombi unit - Mr. Berti added – can just transfer alone or it can also stack multiple trays, while the cartoning machine downstream can work with either intermittent or continuous motion indifferently”. These features make this system versatile and reliable, thanks to cutting edge technological solutions, which are ideal for processing glass products such as ampoules, vials and carpules.
Four questions for Flavio Delfini, the person in charge of developing Robomaster and of the robotic applications of Marchesini
We asked Flavio Delfini (the person in charge of developing Robomaster and of the robotic applications of Marchesini) some questions to better understand the advantages guaranteed by the technological solutions that distinguish this ampoule line:
- Which advantages does feeding by means of a vibrating table offer?
R. “First and foremost, the vibrating table can be arranged at the front or at the rear. Another important feature is its improved cleanability compared to a conventional ampoule conveyor belt. What’s more, the type of movement of the vibrating conveyor or table, that applies a limited force between the products, as well as its smooth surface, guarantee utmost softness in processing products that are normally fragile and particularly unstable. Hence this solution is perfect for glass products such as ampoules, vials and carpules”.
- Which advantages does the ampoule feeding system of Robomaster offer?
R. “We are talking about a feeding system that features a particularly clean design so quite suitable for a pharmaceutical environment. Advantages are definitely high speed and a remarkable loading capacity, but also a large work area that allows you to arrange the different types of infeeds in various positions, based on specific requirements. Furthermore, size changing is very quick and easy”.
- Which advantages does Robocombi guarantee when situated between the thermoformer and the cartoning machine?
R. “This robotic solution guarantees the total flexibility and reliability of the infeed process of the trays with the ampoules to the cartoning machine MA255. The trays are transferred from the Robocombi directly into the chain with positive motion and without uncertainties. Robocombi can just transfer alone or it can also stack multiple trays and it can be adapted to both a cartoning machine with intermittent motion and one with continuous motion. Finally, it can be combined with a buffer to compensate for feasible stoppages of the cartoning machine or for “offline” production requirements.
- Why has Marchesini Group decided to invest significantly in the development and design of robotic solutions, such as Robomaster and Robocombi?
R. “Based on our extensive and full range experience in resolving complex feeding problems, the fact that we moved onto robotic solutions came as a natural evolution. The integration of robots that we develop in-house allows us to be extremely effective in understanding the problems of each specific situation and to offer unique solutions: all this with utmost attention to the flexibility and reliability of the various products that our customers need to package with our machines”.
“What’s most important” – Mr. Giuseppe Monti, Engineering Director of the group concluded – “is that our robots are not foreign objects that are merely “added” to the machines but they are actually controlled and managed by the same control unit and are consequently an integral part of it. Our robots “merge” with the other parts of the machine with smooth movements that complete one another”. Hence it is a truly orchestral concept.