FlowDesigner ®: A new robotic solution for collating and packing products that cannot be accumulated

The ER50 robotic product collating and packing solution launched this year by Cermex offers a particularly attractive profit/cost ratio for lines handling products that cannot be accumulated. Innovations have been applied to enhance simplicity, in particular with new FlowDesigner® robotic flow management software, production of lighter tools using 3D printing, conveyor infeed and the option to equip the machine with a vision system adapted to products arriving in a random manner.


Solution on show on the Cermex booth at Interpack, combining 2 units fitted with 4-axis Delta robots.


May 8 to 14, 2014 - Hall 13, booth C47


Integrated flow distribution intelligence

Cermex’s design office has devised, tested and validated a new approach to managing product flows with several robots on the same machine. The solution is based on the combination of a standard module (comprising a frame and robot gripping arm) and flow distribution software. The software manages a series of algorithms to permanently optimize flow management.


A master module and slave modules

The ER50 is versatile: the solution is able to cater to all speeds between 50 and 300 products per minute. Depending on the speed to be attained, identical Plug & Play modules are added to the basic gripping arm module. The master module pilots the machine by routing pick and place data to all the slave modules, providing a comprehensive solution that matches the required speed.




Optimization of product gripping

In order to maintain performance at the level required, the FlowDesigner® system automatically switches from one algorithm to another, for example from gripping products that are equally distributed between robots, to a compensation mode such as “Take What You Can” (TWYC). In particular, flow distribution intelligence pilots product overload (overspeed) during start-up and run-out, and manages several degraded modes. For example, if the operator decides not to use a robot for a given period (eg. for maintenance operations), the load is distributed between the other robots.


Simulation to validate the right number of robots

Depending on the target speed, the appropriate number of slave robots can be added to the master robot gripping arm module. In the pre-contract phase, 2D visual simulations of the different hypotheses can be used to validate the number of robots required.


A natural interaction between operator and robot

The PC-based advanced Human/Machine Interface enables the operator to naturally interact with the robots and/or other peripherals.



Tooling in a single polymer block

A laser beam (Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS) applies polymer powder layer-by-layer to create a part designed on the screen using computer-assisted design software. This technical revolution allows tooling to be created in a single block, which is particularly suitable to address “flexible products” and economic optimization.


The benefits of simplicity

  • Completely sealed: no vacuum piping
  • Lightening of the gripping head: weight cut by half or two-thirds depending on the application
  • Reduced assembly time: no screws, fewer parts.
  • Time saving in part sourcing.


The success of stand-up flexible pouches

The flexible pouch solution, which is inexpensive, ecological and a positive means of communication, has secured a place on supermarket shelves throughout the world. In 2004, Cermex chose to build a complete and regularly upgraded range of dedicated solutions in this field.


Cermex solutions organized around 4 variables

  • Type of pouch and process characteristics: content, container, speed, etc.
  • Collating limitations: spacing out using racetrack collators, combination of vision and tracking or conveying in pucks.
  • Type of secondary packaging : RSC, wrap-around blank or shelf-ready packaging.
  • Technological sophistication: traditional or robotic packing, mono-function or multifunction machines.

“Our new ER50 robotic packing solution is very well positioned for handling flexible products in the food industry. However, it is quite possible to imagine using it to collate and pack glass bottles for the home and personal care markets as well as the beverage market, where accumulation is less and less compatible with the need to protect products and labelling.”


Alexis Schnürer – Cermex Robotics Design Office Manager in Corcelles-lès-Citeaux


For more information about Cermex robotic packing solutions: http://www.gebocermex.com/Equipment/Packing/Robotic-case-packing


For more information about 3D printing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing


For more about stand-up flexible pouches: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doypack


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