Using 3D technology to package food

02 mars


Gerhard Schubert GmbH at the Anuga FoodTec, 24 - 27 March 2015, Cologne,
Hall 8.1, Stand D090 E099

Gerhard Schubert GmbH is demonstrating how 3D technology can be utilised to optimise the food packaging process at the Anuga FoodTec 2015 (Hall 8.1, Stand D090 E099). The TLM picker line on display uses a 3D scanner to detect the position of the products being packaged and check their quality, even under difficult conditions.

Packaging food is a real challenge for image detection. Soiling on the product belt or damage to the products being packaged is hard to recognise for conventional Vision Systems, which can disrupt the packaging process, and products with quality defects can even end up being packaged.

At the Anuga FoodTec food and beverage trade fair in Cologne, Gerhard Schubert GmbH will be demonstrating state-of-the-art 3D technology which has made these difficulties a thing of the past. The system uses data obtained from this 3D scanner to calculate the three-dimensional shape of the product being packaged in order to subsequently send a message to the packaging robot if the products are damaged.

This will be demonstrated at Anuga FoodTec using the packaging of bread slices as a specific example. Slices of bread with "chipping" in the form of holes are detected by the 3D scanner on the conveyor belt. The machine continues running without interruption. The TLM F4 robots only pick up the bread slices they deem fine from the belt and place them on transmodules in stacks of two. The TLM machine being shown at the trade fair attains a total of 400 bread slices per minute.

The 3D scanner makes the Vision System's image detection even more rugged and reliable than ever before. Belt soiling and crumbs on the belt are detected as such due to their low height and can be ignored by the robot. Because of its height, the 3D scanner recognises products in low-contrast environments much better than its 2D predecessor.

In addition, when product density is consistent, the TLM machine's Vision System can even detect the weight of each item on the belt. This enables the machine to finish combining products automatically within a previously predefined weight range.

Many other functions of Schubert TLM machines have already become standard. This includes cartoning and palletizing food, as well as deep-drawing and sealing attractive plastic packaging.

The Transmodul is one of the most recently launched standard components at Schubert. It is single-axis, rail-based robot which features contactless communication with the system and contributes to the compactness of the TLM machines. Moreover, the Transmudul also reduces the mechanisms because many projects can be resolved more easily and efficiently with the Transmodul, including filling cosmetic liquids. The result is much lower space requirements and higher efficiency while increasing system output.