Packaging with 4-axis robotic cellular manufacturing
What used to be packed manually is now loaded fully automatically and directly into the thermoforming machine using a Pick&Place system. With this simple solution, an international medical company saves manpower and gains an important market advantage.
For years, the international medical company has been manufacturing a wide variety of medical products in-house in its own precision production facility.
Many of these medical products are manufactured entirely by injection moulding and then added to the various assembly lines, where the components are assembled manually. After assembly, the products are either sent to the warehouse or they are packed and delivered directly into the specially created packaging bags.
For a long time it has been a topic to approach the process from manual packaging to in-line packaging in order to simplify the entire process, achieve more flexibility, reduce packaging costs and be able to respond more flexibly to customer requirements.
This could not be achieved for a variety of reasons, including the fact that conventional thermoforming packaging machines were linear in design and required too much space, but also because the initial costs were extremely high and no suitable recipes were available on the market.
During a visit to the trade fair, those responsible came across the Shawpak Revolutionary Thermoforming and immediately saw with this solution that the need for in-line packaging could now be realized with this concept.
After an exact evaluation of the different needs, Shawpak developed a proposed solution, which was adopted 1:1 and effectively implemented within a few months.
Nowadays, the products from the injection moulding machine go directly to the Shawpak on the one hand, and the parts are added to the Shawpak after they have been assembled on the other. Using a simple 4-axis SCARA robot (also possible using a suitable pick and place system), the products are loaded directly and fully automatically into the Shawpak.
This solution also eliminates the need for finished products to be first placed in an intermediate storage area or other area of the cleanroom for packaging.
The Shawpak contains 3 format drums (tools) which can be exchanged easily and quickly and are very suitable for small and very small series. A tool change takes only 10 minutes and is carried out by one person.
The loading area of the Shawpak is also very compact and typically has one or two cavities per cycle. In most cases, this is sufficient to keep pace with the assembly lines.
Added Value for the Customer
The entire automation could thus be implemented very easily, efficiently in terms of performance and cost-effectively.
Shawpak has been very well received and successful with this fully automated packaging solution. With this solution, the customer was able to reduce work by up to 3 people per line. The result was that 3 Shawpak are already in use today, giving the customer an important market advantage.
Since only one or two products per cycle are packaged when integrated into a cell, manual visual inspection is also very simple or a vision system with package ejection can be integrated, which thus fully automatically solves the control of the package, product and labelling.
The Fields of Application
Typical products that are automatically packaged in the Shawpak Revolutionary Thermoforming are:
- Suture materials
- Composite injection molding devices
- Wound dressings - directly packaged from a foam processing line
- Surgical staples
Further automatisation and robotics