Palletizing Case Study - Cytec Industries

Fitting new or additional packing lines into existing buildings is often challenging but a solution designed by Morray Engineering for international chemicals group Cytec Industries has optimized output while leaving the packing house untouched.

Morray's EC-201 palletizing robot
At the heart of the new layout is one of Morray's EC-201 palletizing robots. Using the robot, Morray has been able to install two new lines in place of the original solo conveyor. The company has also re-arranged the remainder of the line to meet a number of new requirements while retaining the form/fill and seal units from the original system.

The new line has been installed at Cytec's Bradford factory, which produces chemicals for the water treatment industry. The free-flowing granular product is packed in 25 kg, 750 kg and one tonne bags for distribution across the UK and around the World.

Need to prevent moisture ingress
Packing standards for any chemical must obviously be high and while not hazardous, the factory's products must be packed with care to prevent moisture ingress and avoid subsequent handling damage.

For the 25 kg bag packing line, granules are conveyed to two bag form/fill/seal units which create the bags from a metallocene blend and deliver them to a belt conveyor. Originally there was just one conveyor, feeding a stripper plate type palletiser, sited before a pallet wrapping or hooder unit.

Output restriction
Although capacity was an issue, there were other aspects that needed to be improved. The old palletiser had a reasonable theoretical output but could only work on one line at a time. In practice this restricted output.

After a thorough selection process the company decided on Morray Engineering's robotic solution. Deciding factors included Morray's ability to fit their system into the existing building, which would have been very difficult to enlarge.

Minimizing disruption
When agreement was reached on the final layout, work was arranged to minimize disruption to the relevant section of the factory.

Morray was given a small window of just 15 days to remove some of the existing plant, re-arrange other parts- such as the dust extraction system - install the two new conveyor lines, automatic pallet dispenser, shuttle car conveyor, EC-201 robot, guards, control systems and to commission the unit.

Two belt conveyors give greater flexibility
The existing bagging stations now feed two belt conveyors, giving greater flexibility in handling product from the factory. The robot is positioned between the lines, lifting bags and placing them in the required patterns onto pallets on either side. With a line output speed can cope with both conveyors at the same time, thus loading two pallets at once.


Cardboard tray handling
One neat detail in the new layout is the method of handling the cardboard trays used on the base of each pallet.

These are stacked, flat, and adjacent to the wooden pallets on roller conveyors and drop onto the pallet when it moves into position ready for the first bag. Automatic arms then raise the sides of the tray while the robot adds the bags. The tray is released before the full pallet is conveyed to the capping unit.

Specified handling capacity is quite significant. The new system can meet this level of output when required and has been effectively trouble-free. Labour requirements in the packing area remain unchanged, largely due to the manual handling needed for the larger bags. The 25 kg bag line is fully automated.

Multi-programme robot
The robot can store many programs and so each product can have its own settings stored in the memory. This is because bag size varies slightly depending on the product. It can also be programmed for the pattern of bag stacking required.

A series of sensors on the line relay information to the control unit so that each piece of equipment in the line operates at the exact time required. The entire control system was designed and installed as part of the package by Morray Engineering.

Elimination of adhesive problem
Other benefits concern the use of a low tack contact adhesive to help prevent the layers of bags slipping on the full pallet. Under the old system the glue made parts of the mechanism sticky and caused additional problems. Now the bags can be sprayed on the line before being lifted clear by the robot, thus eliminating this 'sticky' problem.

Morray Engineering Group, building quality equipment
- in Britain

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