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Keywords of this article:  packaging 
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CBW Automation's BeeLine.
CBW Automation's BeeLine.

Huhtamaki, a global specialist in packaging for food and drink, has deployed a new integrated robotic and automation system from Fort Collins, Colo.-based CBW Automation for production of Chinet plates.

The newly enhanced system delivers greater production output and speed, flexibility, and cost benefits for production of 7-in polystyrene (PS) plastic dinner plates at Huhtamaki’s New Vienna, Ohio manufacturing facility.

Upon purchasing a bigger mold, Huhtamaki opted for a highly sophisticated automation system which includes CBW’s new B2X side-entry robot. The new system provides a smaller footprint, 50% greater production output, quicker changeovers, and cost savings versus the previous high-speed retrieval system (HSRS).

CBW’s new design enables us to maintain the footprint in the production line and gain 50% output without losing efficiencies,” said Michael Drake, senior process engineer for Huhtamaki. “It also gives us more flexibility for future changes in the manufacturing line.” CBW has been a long-time supplier to Huhtamaki, providing robotics and automation systems since the late 1970s.

The integrated automation system consists of custom conveying which connects the shrink wrapper, heat tunnel, label applicator, and accumulation table for parking of plate stacks for manual packing. A key feature is the availability of a primary and secondary shrink wrap and label applicator system which keeps the line running in case of downtime interruptions such as roll changes. In the past, with just one downstream line, the production line was forced to shut down.

CBW’s new B2X side-entry robot is a servo-driven unit that eliminates the need to transfer the plates to elevators and laydown features that are typically pneumatic.

We’ve enjoyed a strong relationship with Huhtamaki and we’re thrilled that our newly designed automation system meets their high-productivity needs, said Taras Konowal, director of sales and marketing for CBW Automation.

The round crystal-cut PS plates are injection molded in a large cavitation stack mold. The robot removes the molded plates into stack counts of 8, 10, 12, 25, and 32 plates. The custom conveying system is connected to a primary and secondary shrink wrapper and pressure-sensitive label applicator. The stacks are manually loaded into a box.     

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