Robots and vision team for milk packaging

OCTOBER 6, 2008--Milk processing is already heavily automated--from receiving the milk from the farm and turning it into powder in large driers, to high-speed precision metering of the powder into 25-kg multilayer plastic/paper dairy bags, to sealing and robotic palletizing of the bags.

Oct 6th, 2008

OCTOBER 6, 2008--Milk processing is already heavily automated--from receiving the milk from the farm and turning it into powder in large driers, to high-speed precision metering of the powder into 25-kg multilayer plastic/paper dairy bags, to sealing and robotic palletizing of the bags. GEA Avapac (Hamilton, New Zealand; www.avapac.com) provides machines for most of the powder packing processes. However, the problem of how to retrieve empty 25-kg dairy bags from a pallet and automatically feed them to the filling machine remained a problem. To overcome this, the company developed the Avapac RBF1000 system, comprising a custom cartesian "de-stacker" robot fitted with a PC-based vision system supplied by ControlVision (Auckland, New Zealand; www.controlvision.co.nz). The vision system uses a Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany; www.baslerweb.com) FireWire camera, Cognex (Natick, MA, USA; www.cognex.com) VisionPro software with PatMax pattern recognition, and ControlVision's VisionServer application framework.

For more information, go to www.controlvision.co.nz/Case_Studies/case_study_Avalon_Destacker.cfm.

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