Theegarten-Pactec delivers latest robotic vision picker system for confectionery

German-based packaging equipment specialist Theegarten-Pactec has release a key new Vision Picker line developed for fast handling of confectionery products, including moulded chocolate figures. Neill Barston reports.

The Dresden business explained its latest robot feeding system with camera recognition ensures an even more flexible, streamlined and more cost-effective processing of ranges, placing machine speed and efficiency as key factors in its design.

Its new release had been set to form part of its portfolio at this year’s Interpack, which was set to be held in Dusseldorf last month, which has now been rescheduled until February 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Vision Picker, the company demonstrates how even highly sensitive products can be packaged flexibly and by means of a lean process using a bundling system, as shown by its existing CWM2 packaging machine. This has been further optimised to enhance production results.

Previously, Theegarten-Pactec machines had to work with counter-moulds during robot feeding: due to the manufacturing process, a fixed number of products are produced in the counter-moulds which were placed by a robot in the feed chain of the packaging machine by means of a multiple tool. Thanks to the new “Vision Picker”, there is no need for elaborate counter-form handling during the packaging process.

As the company noted, using an integrated image processing system, individual products are now detected within the product flow. Each product is individually sucked in by the robot and placed in the correct position in the infeed chain of the packaging machine to ensure secure and reliable packaging as usual. The advantages of the new development are obvious: thanks to the Vision Picker, different product formats can be packed even more flexibly and therefore more quickly and cost-effectively.

The new development is clearly demonstrated in the packaging process of small, cast chocolate teddies, for example. At a speed of 400 products per minute, the CWM2 gently wraps the delicate chocolate figures in bundles.

In a modified configuration, the robot feed can also be combined with high-performance machines by Theegarten-Pactec. This also enables a reported feeding time for products to the packaging machines at a rate of over 1,000 per minute. However, the well-established packaging machine with a capacity of up to 600 products per minute is far from being simply a sidekick to the new Vision Picker. The CWM2 is said to be capable of reliably processing of varying products.

Different product formats and folding types are also possible without any problem. It is possible to switch quickly and easily between double twist wrap, side twist, top twist, bundling, letter fold and protected twist. According to the company, the CWM2 is particularly adaptable when it comes to the combination of different impact types. Aggregates that are not required can remain on the machine for the most part. This enables customers to avoid unnecessary retooling and downtimes, so there is a cost-saving effect as well.

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Confectionery Production