Mechelec moves forward with universal trolley packer

Bedfordshire‐based Mechelec Automation have taken their revolutionary new bottle collation and trolley packing system for the dairy industry to new heights. 

The TP1002 Trolley Packer is designed to provide fully automated, cost effective trolley loading, and since its release in May 2017 has been in production in a dairy in Wales running at speeds of up to 250bpm and packing 4-pint bottles in a 5 x 4 format.

This innovative system offers flexible throughput at faster operating speeds. The system’s robotic arm and servo driven collation unit can quickly and efficiently load two trolleys simultaneously, offering double the packing speed of conventional automated systems with a comparable footprint. The use of robotics eliminates the problems relating to variable height packing, offering free movement through multiple axes and avoiding the compatibility issues arising from differing designs or damaged trolleys.

The simplicity and open construction of the robotic system also allows easier access, helping to minimise downtime for wash down and routine maintenance.

Mechelec engineers have vast experience in using motion control solutions from the major OEM’s such as Rockwell and Siemens. On this occasion they chose to partner B&R for their motion solution due to its integrated architecture bringing PLC, HMI, Motion and Safety together as a seamless package.

John Salisbury, Director at Mechelec told us “Now we have a proven track record with a production machine it is time to take the TP1002 to its next level, as it was always our intention to make the TP1002 more than just a trolley packer.” He continued “We chose to use an industrial robot in our initial design knowing that robots are a tried and proven solution, what is more with our engineers having extensive experience with robot programming this was a logical step.

An additional benefit of using robot technology is the flexibility for expanding the range of the TP1002. We now have an interest in an add-on unit which provides functionality for shrink-wrapped bundles to be loaded to trolleys.”

John explained “Shrink wrapped product is collated into the correct format, loaded to the head of the robot and then transferred into the trolleys in the same way collated bottles are loaded. This feature offers a very cost-effective solution that is easily added to an existing TP1002.”

Asked where the TP1002 goes from here John told me “We have already been asked if we could palletise the shrink wrapped product.  This additional functionality would naturally fulfil our long-term objective to make the TP1002 a truly universal packer.”

Mechelec Automation designs, manufactures and maintains fully integrated mechanical and electrical automation systems for a diverse range of sectors.

If you would like any more information on our TP1002 or any of our other products, please contact: sales@mechelecautomation.com or visit:  www.mechelecautomation.com

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