Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Features Automation in Action Operations
Linkx installs pick-and-place systems on Viennetta ice cream production line


Mar. 26, 2017 – In response to a request from Unilever Ice Cream UK to increase the efficiency of the tray placement for its Viennetta product, Linkx Packaging Systems have developed and installed four new, bespoke servo-driven pick-and-place tray systems in the company’s Gloucester plant.

Misplaced trays were a big issue on the Viennetta production line as they cause product and machine contamination and force sanitation to clean the machines, resulting in downtime on the production line. Linkx developed a solution that integrates with the existing machine and has increased the efficiency of the product placement from 3-10 misplaced trays per hour to less than one misplaced tray every four hours, giving an accuracy level of 99.99 per cent.

“Viennetta is a very important product for us and we had no hesitation in appointing Linkx to help improve the operations on one of the biggest production lines in the plant,” said Barry Dunne of Unilever. “The bespoke pick and place tray systems have made massive improvements in both reliability and safety as well as being easy to use and maintain.”

The new systems further increases efficiency for Unilever as they prevent the need for any misplaced trays to be discharged, which previously caused delays on the production line. In the event of any misplaced trays, the machine utilizes the Allen Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo control system to stop the outfeed belts and swap the vacuum pick to a secondary servo unit. The primary unit has the ability to then reverse and self-clear, before attempting to re-start running again automatically.

Size change is fast and straightforward, as is the operation of the machine, which is controlled and monitored by a Panelview Plus 7 touchscreen operator panel.

Advertisment