Grippers for automated food handling (food packaging)
- How does it work?
- What can it be used for?
- What can it not be used for?
- Related Facilities
- Further Information
|Key words||robotic, packaging, gripper, handling, hygiene|
How does it work?
|Primary objective||Grasping, transport and depositing of food pieces in the automated packaging of food products by robots equipped with grippers to save labour costs and to improve hygiene|
|Working principle|| A critical device of handling automation (Robotics in food manufacturing processes) by robots is the gripper which directly contacts the food product [7,8]. Quality control and hygienic aspects have to be considered in gripper design. Because standard grippers known from other robot applications do not meet the special requirements for food handling, e.g. broad variability of shapes and hygienic design, new gripping concepts are necessary. (Vision system for robot guidance and food inspection)
Mainly two gripper principles are currently found in the industry for food handling. 1) Vacuum grippers use a local vacuum space between the upper product side and gripper. Such a gripper has the advantage to be independent of the shape of the whole product. A drawback may be the vacuum generation system where suction of moisture or product residuals may lead to a contamination of internal ducts. New solutions for vacuum grippers meeting the high hygienic requirements of food handling have been developed . 2) Mechanical grippers have a closed gripper design and can be used for hygienic sensible foods. However, there is limited size variability of such a gripper principle.
New gripper principles have been developed also for use in food handling.
|Important process parameters||packaging rate and handling distances|
|Important product parameters|| properties of the products to be packed like shape, mass, surface properties, texture, colour, variation in shape,
gripping opportunities, separation of products
What can it be used for?
|Products||solid and semi solid food pieces, unwrapped and wrapped|
|Operations||handling, positioning, packaging|
|Solutions for short comings||technology for a fast, flexible, reliable and hygienic food packaging process|
What can it NOT be used for?
|Products||very small pieces and powders, fluid products, very soft products|
|Operations||packaging of products described above|
|Other limitations||most commercial grippers are limited to a relatively small product|
|Risks or hazards|| </span)
|Maturity||industrially available for many food products, some limitations in handling of unpacked products which are hygienically sensible, e.g. meat pieces; widespread in other industries, e.g. pharmaceutics|
|Modularity /Implementation||widespread for packed foods as secondary packaging system (consignment), several applications for primary packaging|
|Consumer aspects||Consumers perceive the technique as safe|
|Legal aspects|| Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 (materials in food contact) ISO 10218
|Environmental aspects||saving cleaning and disinfection materials|
Facilities that might be interesting for you
|Companies||ABB, Bosch Packaging Systems|
|References|| 1. Davis S.; Gray J.O. and Caldwell D.G. (2008) An end effector based on the Bernoulli principle for handling sliced fruit and vegetables. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 24 (2) 249-257.
2. Franke K. and Hukelmann B. (2011) Hygiene and functionality united. Fleischwirtschaft International 91 (1) 60-61.
3. Ilievski F.; Mazzeo A. D.; Shepherd R. F.; Chen X. and Whitesides G. M., Soft Robotics for Chemists, 2011, Angewandte Chemie, 123, 1930-1935
4. Li Y. and Zarrugh M. Y., Kinematics and force control of robot grippers, 1983, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan, Center for Robotics and Integrated Manufacturing, research report
5. Pettersson A.; Davis S.; Gray J.O.; Dodd T.J. and Ohlsson T. (2010) Design of a magnetorheological robot gripper for handling of delicate food products with varying shapes. Journal of Food Engineering 98 (3) 332-338.
6. Pettersson, A.; Ohlsson, T.; Davis, S.; Gray, J.O.; Dodd, T.J. (2011) A hygienically designed force gripper for flexible handling of variable and easily damaged natural food products, Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies 12 (3) 344-351.
7. Sandler B.-Z. (1999) Robotics, Chapter: Manipulators, S. 314-384. San Diego: Academic Press.
8. Wolf A.; Steinmann R. and Schunk H. (2005) Grippers in Motion - The Fascination of Automated Handling Tasks. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
9. Wood T.M., Article handling apparatus and methods, 1990, London: PA Consulting Services, Patent GB 2232656
10. Hjalmarsson H. and Jonsson E.B., Robot gripper for food products, 2009, Kopavogur, IS: VALKA EHF, Patent US 2009/238670
11. Schreiber M. and Wolf A., Gripping device having two sucker heads and a mechanical gripper, 2009, McLean: Mars Inc., Patent WO 2009/7053
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