Technofoods, a leading robotics integrator serving Chile, had the challenge of updating a food packaging line to increase efficiencies in a processing cell where individual butter, jelly, and cream cheese packets where packaged for distribution. Through the use of innovative vacuum technology developed by Vaccon Company Inc., Technofoods was able to streamline a manufacturing cell’s operation, reduce manpower requirements, and increase production.
Description of Production Cell
The focus of the project was the production cell located at the end of a food packaging line. The cell’s function is to pick & place individual sized packets of butter, jam, jelly, or cream cheese into shipping cartons for distribution to restaurants, cafeterias, and other similar industries. Previously a largely hand operation, and a bottleneck in the overall production rate, the goal was to automate this function and remove the bottleneck.
According to Victor Riveros Valdivia, lead engineer on the project: “Our customer’s production line was 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away, so in order to meet their deadline for a new packaging system and to minimize our travel requirements, we (Technofoods) needed a partner who was an experienced End-Of-Arm-Tooling Solutions provider extremely well-versed in vacuum technology for production environments. When we contacted Vaccon, they quickly designed a tool that would permit great flexibility in the items we would be handling. Their design had a very high operating speed and came in at a cost well within our budget. Moreover, their solution featured vacuum generators that could cycle very quickly, a requirement for this application.”
“When we first looked at the production cell we encountered several technical issues, including arriving at the required vacuum cycle rate that was needed to operate the grippers fast enough to double the packets per cycle being placed,” says Victor Riveros Valdivia. “Vaccon, in a very brief period of time, sent us a design which increased the speed of the vacuum being generated and made it possible for us to meet our delivery deadline.”
To achieve the desired cycle rates for the grippers, Technofoods utilizes Vaccon’s VP Mid Series Modular Venturi Vacuum Pumps with Solenoid-Operated Vacuum and Blow-Off. Ideal for Pick & Place operations, Vaccon’s VP Mid Series pumps feature individual electrical connections to permit users to better control vacuum and blow-off duration times. Part of Vaccon’s “Green” product line, these pumps provide instantaneous vacuum but only when vacuum is needed, minimizing air and, therefore, energy consumption. Although not called for in the Technofoods application, Vaccon’s VP Mid Series Pumps can cycle up to 2700 times per minute.
The redesigned production cell initially incorporated a four pick-up head fixture that was further modified into an eight pick-up head fixture. This allowed for a reduction in the previously required crew of six people, and increased the production rate for this cell in particular, and the overall line in general.
The redesigned manufacturing cell allowed for the reduction in the production crew from six people to two people, and increased production by eight percent.
Technofoods of Santiago, Chile was founded in 2007 to provide manufacturers in Chile and other South American countries with integrated production systems. Today Technofoods specializes in automated machine design with special emphasis on dosing, packaging, and End-Of-Line systems. The intimate knowledge Technofoods engineers have of each system improves communication and understanding with customers – both on-site during installation and as factory support. Technofoods operates out of a 900 square meter facility in Santiago which houses CNC machining, welding, fabrication, and painting equipment.
Technofoods SA, Avenida Del Valle 937, Oficina 455, Ciudad Empresarial, Heuchurabe, 858 0710, Santiago, Chile
About Vaccon Company Inc.:
Vaccon Company Inc. is the leading U.S. manufacturer of air powered venturi vacuum pumps, supplying the manufacturing, food, and process industries with reliable vacuum products characterized by efficient operation, rugged construction, and low cost. Vaccon innovations include pump designs that place the vacuum port and exhaust path inline, making a straight-through venturi vacuum pump. These compact pumps are excellent for extremely “dirty” and dusty environments such as food processing, packaging, foundries, and bagging operations, by not clogging, losing suction, or requiring a vacuum filter. Vaccon's expanded vacuum pump product line also includes other unique devices such as Material Transfer Vacuum Pumps, Variable Vacuum Pumps, Air Amplifiers and Manifolds.
Vaccon Company, Inc., 9 Industrial Park Road, Medway, MA 02053 508.359.7200
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.vaccon.com