At the Douglas Machine booth, one especially intriguing machine on display was theTriVex® SL top loader, a machine designed specifically for putting pouches into retail-ready cases. According to Steve Lipps, Senior Director of Product Management, the approach taken with this machine is similar to the one behind other robotic systems from Douglas like theContour 60-Series shrink wrap multipacker (for details go here:. A Douglas-made SCARA robot is deployed in a way that simplifies machine design by eliminating the need for a separate robot controller and the need for additional mechanisms. Controls are all from Rockwell.
“Yes, it’s a SCARA robot, but it’s with Rockwell’s ControLogix controller, Rockwell’s Panelview as the HMI, and Rockwell drives and motors,” says Lipps. “Benefits accrue to us because machine design is simplified, but the most meaningful benefits are enjoyed by our customers because complexity is out, footprint is minimized, and they’re already well accustomed to the Rockwell controls.”
Operating at up to 25 cases/min and suitable for such things as frozen vegetables, bakery mixes, and confectionery products, the machine relies on two robots each equipped with a bucket-like end effector. Each robot positions itself in front of an infeed conveyor to receive the appropriate number of pouches and then pivots to deposit the pouches into a waiting case as the other robot moves its bucket into positon. If need be the end effector bucket can be replaced with a vacuum cup pickup end effector. For video of the TriVex SL, go here.