Yamaha Motor Robotics FA Section has helped companies in different sectors of the food industry to realise these benefits by introducing robots to handle packaging and labelling. By Jumpei Ninomiya, Sales Manager, Yamaha Motor Europe Robotics Business, Factory Automation Section
One of Yamaha’s customers in food production, an established brand of baked sweets with a history of over 100 years, recently installed an array of SCARA robots to optimise production capacity when packing the sweets into boxes of various sizes.
Using conventional manual packaging, a different number of workers is needed in the production area at any given time, depending on the numbers of boxes ordered and the quantity of sweets to be packed; see Figure 1. The table shows how the optimum number of workers fluctuates according to the production target, which is challenging to managers, how must ensure that only the required number of workers is present when needed.
An array of eight YK400XE SCARA robots was proposed, linked using LCMR200 linear conveyor modules. Only one worker is needed to supervise the robots, which eases the management of human resources and stabilises production, ensuring that all orders can be fulfilled efficiently.
With 400mm arm length and 4kg payload capacity, the YK400XE is the smallest in the high-performance, affordable YK-XE series. It is ideal for palletising, loading/unloading, assembly and inspection tasks and is easily connected to Yamaha’s RCX340 controller to unleash the full potential of its features. These include automatic optimisation of acceleration and deceleration, which enhances control – especially when moving a heavy load – while also optimising reliability and minimising vibration.
As a further enhancement in the sweet packaging application, integrating the RCXiVY2+ vision system enabled each YK400XE to check the orientation and position of the items to be packed. The modernised production area now operates continuously for 24 hours per day, with supervisors working 8-hour shifts. The LCMR200 conveyor modules give the flexibility to adjust the conveyor stop position quickly to handle boxes of different sizes.
Machine vision included
A new Yamaha YK-TW orbit-type SCARA robot is integrated with a machine vision to recognise packages and detect the position for label adhesion.
Specially designed for gantry mounting, the omnidirectional YK-TW eliminates the shortcomings of conventional parallel-link robots. Its relatively light weight and lower overall height enable a much lower inertia, so there is no need for a bulky frame. In addition, it comes with an optional purpose-designed genuine Yamaha mounting bracket that saves the engineering overheads associated with designing a custom gantry.
More than just for food
For food production, as well as semiconductor manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical applications, Yamaha also offers a selection of clean robots including YK-XGC/XC SCARA, FLIP-XC single-axis and XY-XC cartesian types. Meeting internationally-recognised cleanliness standards, such as ISO 14644-1 class 3 and FED-STD-209D class 10, they employ features such as beltless design and air suction to ensure low particle emission.
Overall, Yamaha SCARA robots enabled customers to minimise labour costs, improve quality and productivity, and simplify management of production and resources. They can also increase output quickly to take advantage of new market opportunities.
For any production or packaging company – either in the food business or otherwise – that first small step into automation can begin a journey that delivers increasing returns through ongoing investment.