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Jun 02, 2021

How a Sandwich Producer Automated Their Line with Grote Robotics

A large sandwich and wrap manufacturer in the UK was manually assembling, cutting, and packaging wraps. Production and quality were inconsistent, and labor was increasingly hard to find and keep. They turned to Grote Company to further automate with robotics.

A large sandwich and wrap manufacturer in the UK was manually assembling, cutting, and packaging wraps. Production and quality were inconsistent, and labor was increasingly hard to find and keep. They turned to Grote Company – with whom they had a long relationship for food processing equipment – to further automate with robotics.

Grote robotic solutions reduced manual labor and increased production and quality, as well as food and plant safety.

CHALLENGES

  • Manual wrap assembly, handling, cutting, and packaging
  • Inconsistent and lower production rates and quality
  • Labor availability due to rising wages, Brexit, and ultimately the COVID-19 pandemic
  • High turnover resulted in difficulty training for these highly skilled roles
  • Excessive handling increased the opportunity for food safety issues
  • During COVID-19, having that many operators in close proximity led to unsafe working conditions

APPROACH

The manufacturer and Grote Company collaborated on an automation solution that would improve production rates and quality, reduce line labor, and increase plant and food safety.

They chose Grote because of a long-standing history using their sandwich assembly equipment, and because Grote robotic solutions were proven and installed in the market.

SOLUTION

Grote Company configured a robotics solution that would pick and place assembled wraps in correct alignment to be cut by an ultrasonic blade, then presented in an organized fashion to be quickly and accurately packaged. The solution:

  • Fit the existing footprint
  • Interfaced with the existing packaging conveyor
  • Was custom configured with an end effector, and infeed and outfeed conveyors specific to this operation

The twin lane solution features two 3D vision systems, custom end-effectors designed for the high care food environment, two 4-axis Stäubli HE robots, and a Grote ultrasonic cutter – all surrounded by dedicated guarding and operated by a single HMI.

RESULTS

-6

Eliminated 6 operators/shift

100

Increased production capacity up to 100 wraps per minute

95%

Improved quality to 95% (+/- 3 mm)

 

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