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Plaster bag

Gantry handling with integrated 8-fold suction pad system for repackaging plaster pouches

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Maximum process reliability for automatic removal, inspection and labelling

The automation system developed by IBG on behalf of the customer handles the automatic removal of plaster pouches from boxes of 100, whereby the pouches are also checked, labelled and then fed to a customer packaging machine in a single pass.

Sequence of the automated handling process

A system operator cuts an adhesive tape used to seal the cartons at the lid flaps, opens them and removes a cardboard lid. The cartons are then transferred to an infeed conveyor via a roller table, separated and fed to the system, which then moves two opened cartons at a time to the removal position. The end flaps are prevented from falling back into their original position by means of guides and the longitudinal flaps are prevented from falling back into their original position by means of hold-down devices during the conveying process.

As the process continues, a gantry handling system with an integrated 8-fold suction gripper takes over the layer-by-layer removal of the bags from two cartons at a time and places them on a conveyor belt. At the same time, the two separating crosses and the centre and bottom cardboard interlayer are also removed from the cartons by the gantry handling system and dropped onto a conveyor belt.

On the conveyor belt, the bags pass through a camera station for visual inspection of the product number printed on the underside of the bag using an OCV vision system. A belt weigher station then checks the correct number of plasters, which is determined based on the total weight of the respective bag. Finally, a labelling machine installed on the conveyor belt with an integrated thermal transfer printer prints the date, best-before date and batch number on self-adhesive labels and applies them to the pouches.

Before the labels are applied, the quality of the print is checked using a camera system. In addition, the pharmaceutical barcode on the labels is read and checked using optical sensors. As soon as a label is identified as faulty, the system stops. The correct position of the applied labels is checked by a downstream camera system behind the labelling machine. The bags are then rotated by 90° from transverse transport to longitudinal transport using a chicane and transferred to the infeed conveyor of the customer's packaging system.

N.O.-tested bags are pushed off the belt transversely directly behind the respective testing station and conveyed into separate plastic crates. Two empty cartons are conveyed from the removal station at a time and transferred to the return conveyor by means of an angled transfer. The ejection of n.i.o. cartons - incorrect number or packing pattern of the bags - in the conveying direction is also provided for. The emptied cartons are opened at the end of the outfeed conveyor in a separately enclosed station on the floor and folded back into flat blanks, which are placed upright in a magazine for manual removal.