Palletizer for RSC Cases Features a Redesigned End Of Arm Tool

April 15, 2009

StrongPoint Automation introduces its High Capacity Palletizer for RSC cases. The fully automated system incorporates a multiple-product infeed configuration to stage and position incoming products for palletizing. At the heart of the system is a Fanuc M410iB–160 robot that is positioned to place two products on two pallet locations in addition to handling multiple pallet styles.

The development of the StrongPoint End Of Arm Tool (EOAT) was initiated to address the issue of dropped or misplaced RSC cases in robotic systems. The tool is fabricated entirely from extruded components and custom-designed aluminum weldments to reduce and optimize tooling weight.

The EOAT is controlled by a single plug-and-play DeviceNet node located on the tool that manages all pneumatic and I/O requirements. An optional diagnostic tool can be used to monitor and test all functions of the EOAT node. The EOAT is designed to handle a range of product weights and sizes without tooling adjustments or changeovers. The EOAT is able to handle multiple cases, each exceeding 50 lbs, for a total pick weight of over 200 lbs. A high capacity vacuum pump is used to provide vacuum flows at the cup face that are not traditionally achievable with venturi-style generators.

The EOAT utilizes pneumatically actuated side clamps that operate on the principal of a four-bar linkage. The actuating geometry of the side clamp assemblies allow them to automatically adjust for an infinite number of case widths while keeping the primary clamping surface perpendicular to the case face at all times. Customized robotic motions were also needed to negate large product moments generated in traditional palletizing motions.

The porous nature of the recycled RSC material and high case weight mandated the need for a high-capacity rotary lobe vacuum pump capable of drawing 117 cfm at -28.4 in of Hg. The use of traditional venturi-style generators represented a draw on plant process air and would represent a substantial operating cost to the facility. The high vacuum flow is delivered to the EOAT manifold by a large diameter flexible hose where cup groups are activated by pilot air actuated high capacity vacuum valves.