Vision Guided Unitizing System Increases Productivity by 30%
The Client & Objective
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this global manufacturer of high performance glass products for the building, energy and industrial markets looked to MMCI to provide a more efficient solution to the sortation and unitization processes at their plant.
After evaluating the existing processes, MMCI proposed the installation of a vision-guided sorting and unitizing system that would integrate seamlessly with existing equipment and processes at the plant. The new solution would be capable of sorting four different blocks of various sizes and placing them on slip sheets at four different outgoing conveyors, based on their size.
It was quickly determined that this system would require a high level of sophistication and programming in order to provide a long-lasting solution. Due to the abrasive nature of the products being handled, the sortation equipment would need to limit the amount of shifting and movement taking place on the incoming belt conveyor, as this could scratch and damage the conveyor equipment and result in maintenance issues over time.
In order to accomplish this, the incoming conveyor was integrated with a vision system to communicate the size, position and location of each block as it traveled down the conveyor. Using this information, the robotic arm was programmed with the ability to locate and grab each block “on the fly” without having to slow down the belt conveyor or incorporate sortation systems to properly align the blocks to be picked up.
This custom programming by MMCI’s engineering team not only created a process that eliminated damage to the conveyors, but it also kept the conveyor speed constant. This allowed for a turnkey installation of the new sortation system without having to modify the existing upstream equipment and processes.
The new solution from MMCI increased sorting efficiency to over 700 units an hour, resulting in a 30% increase in productivity at their plant.