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Newly designed automation system in action

Newly designed automation system in action

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Huhtamaki, a global specialist in packaging for food and drink, has deployed a new integrated robotic and automation system from Fort Collins, Colo.-based CBW Automation for production of Chinet plates. The newly enhanced system delivers greater production output and speed, flexibility, and cost benefits for production of 7-in polystyrene (PS) plastic dinner plates at Huhtamaki’s New Vienna, Ohio manufacturing facility.

CBW Automation BeeLine1

Upon purchasing a bigger mold, Huhtamaki opted for a highly sophisticated automation system which includes CBW’s new B2X side-entry robot. The new system provides a smaller footprint, 50% greater production output, quicker changeovers, and cost savings versus the previous high-speed retrieval system (HSRS).

“CBW’s new design enables us to maintain the footprint in the production line and gain 50% output without losing efficiencies,” said Michael Drake, senior process engineer for Huhtamaki. “It also gives us more flexibility for future changes in the manufacturing line.” CBW has been a long-time supplier to Huhtamaki, providing robotics and automation systems since the late 1970s.

The integrated automation system consists of custom conveying which connects the shrink wrapper, heat tunnel, label applicator, and accumulation table for parking of plate stacks for manual packing. A key feature is the availability of a primary and secondary shrink wrap and label applicator system which keeps the line running in case of downtime interruptions such as roll changes. In the past, with just one downstream line, the production line was forced to shut down.

CBW’s new B2X side-entry robot is a servo-driven unit that eliminates the need to transfer the plates to elevators and laydown features that are typically pneumatic.

“We’ve enjoyed a strong relationship with Huhtamaki and we’re thrilled that our newly designed automation system meets their high-productivity needs,’ said Taras Konowal, director of sales and marketing for CBW Automation.

The round crystal-cut PS plates are injection molded in a large cavitation stack mold. The robot removes the molded plates into stack counts of 8, 10, 12, 25, and 32 plates. The custom conveying system is connected to a primary and secondary shrink wrapper and pressure-sensitive label applicator. The stacks are manually loaded into a box.

About Huhtamaki
Huhtamaki is a global specialist in packaging for food and drink. With its network of 78 manufacturing units and additional 24 sales-only offices in altogether 34 countries, the company is well placed to support its customers' growth wherever they operate. Mastering three distinctive packaging technologies, approximately 17,700 employees develop and make packaging that helps great products reach more people, more easily. In 2018, net sales totaled EUR 3.1 billion (USD $3.49 billion). The Group has its head office in Espoo, Finland, and the parent company Huhtamaki Oyj is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.

About CBW Automation
CBW Automation, based in Fort Collins, Colo., is a leading U.S. supplier of robots and automation solutions with a focus on injection molding and thermoforming applications in the packaging and medical sectors. The company, founded in 1970, developed the first automatic system for stacking Cool Whip lids from the injection molding process. CBW has also pioneered the design and construction of high-speed, side-entry and top-entry robotic systems to reach the fastest possible cycle times in the high-volume production market of thin-wall molded parts.

Swiss-based MOLD & ROBOTICS group is the first globally acting industry and technology leader in tool making and automation technology for thin-wall plastic packaging. With an established presence in the U.S. and Europe, the Swiss company H. MULLER-Fabrique de Moules SA, Conthey, and the two companies CBW Automation, based in Fort Collins, Colo. and DOLLINS Tool, Independence, Mo., operate under the umbrella of the MOLD & ROBOTICS group.

The expanding global market for thinwall packaging, relating to food and non-food containers, increases the demand for superior product design, tool making, and automation. The intercontinental positioning of MOLD & ROBOTICS group contributes to supporting companies from the food, non-food, and medical technology sectors in the development of new packaging for their products.

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