The bakery wanted a robotic solution to speed up the packaging of three different sizes of vol-au-vents (38mm, 50mm and 60mm) direct from a conveyor into thermoformed blister packs.
As the vol-au-vent cases leave the ovens, they are transported on a wire mesh conveyor into a cooling chamber before going on to be packaged for dispatch. To assure accurate product positioning in preparation for the robotic lifting and packaging stages to follow, the Tiesse team needed to ensure that a recognition and alignment process was in place from the point at which the products entered the ovens in the first place.
With this successfully addressed, the focus then turned to the design of the packaging procedures as the products emerged from the other end of the baking and cooling line. One challenge identified was how to pick up (from the top) such a delicate product, and one which has so many variations in its finished shape.
The packaging station downstream of the cooling section is now essentially a cabin housing the conveyor and four new Kawasaki YF-03N Delta robots. Each robot is equipped with vacuum gripping devices that lift the individual vol-au-vent cases three at a time with what is described as ‘precision and speed’. A vision system provided by Tiesse partner TS Vision also monitors the positioning for pick-up and placement into the adjacent blister packs.
According to Kawasaki Robotics, the complete system has proved to be a significant enhancement to Sfoglia Torino’s productivity.
Kawasaki Robotics’ UK sales manager Ian Hensman says: “The handling of foodstuffs has long been a key application area for Kawasaki robots, and working with delicate and irregular shaped items like these pastry cases is always challenging. But our long-standing partners at Tiesse have worked with us and designed a system for Sfoglia Torino that delivers exactly what they asked for: a substantial speeding up of its production process.”