How a Multimillion-dollar Robotic System paid for itself in 6 Months. Ready-to-Eat Processes are Ready to be Automated.
In the last few years, ready-to-eat products have stormed the market. Customers are looking for more variety in products and simpler ways to get a meal on the table.
Multi-compartment trays are one of the most popular ready-to-eat types of packages. Whether you’re packing your kids’ lunches or headed to a party, ready-to-eat trays are always a favorite choice.
Manufacturers are responding to this demand by creating a wide variety of SKUs varying in product, shape, and weight. Traditionally this process requires manual filling with many operators working at a fast pace in a tight space. There is a lot of product giveaway because product is loaded by operators manually to fill levels which are estimated visually. The manual handling process also results in significant wasted product due to dropping and spilling.
A great example of this is ready-to-eat packaging for the produce industry and direct food handling industry. For instance, fresh fruits and vegetables that are hand-packed could cost the business millions of dollars a year due to product waste. It is not uncommon to see up to 15% in product give away. Over multiple shifts that could easily equate to millions per year.
Quest has developed a highly flexible robotic solution for packing multiple products in the same tray with less than a 2% giveaway. This system utilizes , robotics, and vision & line tracking to deposit the precise amount of product needed in the exact individual compartment. This system is modular so you can implement multiple modules with multiple products to meet production speed and overall throughput goals.
One of the best features of the system is the ability to change over trays with the push of a button. Using an advanced vision system and the robots range of motion allows you to quickly change over without needing to manually adjust the system. Using the HMI, the operator will select which and how much of each product goes in which compartment. The system will quickly respond and be able to adjust to the new tray format coming down the line.
Quest’s vast knowledge of sanitary design is built into every detail of this system. Our stainless-steel frame, IP67/IP69K components, and NEMA4X enclosures are designed to ensure the longevity of your system even with daily washdowns with harsh chemicals. Another unique feature Quest provides is our proprietary robotic coating, Qleen Coat, which uses several different polymers that help resist damage from cleaning processes that use strong acids, bases, etc. Combining the labor savings and product giveaway savings our customers are saving millions every year. In some cases, a company can realize its return on investment (ROI) in as little as 6 months. How much is manual filling costing you?
Mandy Turner is a Regional Sales Manager at Quest and can be reached at Mandy.Turner@ProMachBuilt.com