Shrove Tuesday don’t forget the pancakes

Shrove Tuesday don’t forget the pancakes from RNA Automation Ltd

By: RNA Automation Ltd  13/06/2011
Keywords: material handling equipment, Automated Systems, feeding systems

 When RNA were contacted with a request to handle JIF Lemons, it was both a interesting and challenging project to tackle.

One of the reasons why this particular application has been difficult to automate is due to the shape of component. JIF lemon juice comes in a squeezable yellow lemon shaped plastic container. The reques was to feed 50 components per minute from two outlets and present the component axis vertical open side uppermost two at a time for collection by a handling unit. A vision system solution was considered during development - using a camera to orientate and feed to a position for pick up and placement onto the customer's machine. The unstable nature of the components in front of the camera was the main reason for not using this method. Thus, the opportunity to use a previous solution using pucks for carrying the component became a possibility.

Two opposite handed bowl feeders feed the lemons at random into pucks which are held in place under the bowl outlet.   Each bowl releases a lemon on demand via a Tic Toc type escapement, the lemon sits in the puck either way up. The puck is released to a further station where a sensor checks for the presence of the open end of the lemon.   Open side up lemons are released onto an accumulation conveyor and the open side below lemons are blow up out of the puck into a tube which is fitted to a vacuum generator. This tube inverts the Lemon through 180 degrees and drops the Lemon into a waiting puck resulting in the correct orientation.   The pucks are then merged into a single lane and fed under an inverted linear which has special tooling that “grabs” the neck of the Lemon mouth under its flange.   The Lemon is now held on the linear tooling by its neck flange and transported along the linear; the puck is fed down a gravity track which releases the Lemon from the Puck and recycled back into the system ready to be loaded with another Lemon.   Finally a Tic Toc escapement releases one Lemon at a time from the linear ready for collection by the customer handling unit.

Keywords: Automated Handling Material, Automated Systems, Automatic Parts Handling, bowl feeder, Bowl Feeders, Bulk Handling System, feed systems, Feeder Systems, Feeding System, feeding systems, Feeding Technology, Handling System, material handling equipment

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