“We make complete sorting and packaging lines,” says Ron Haaring, Sales Director for Tehama. “We’ve developed so many machines through the years that we can make a solution for the customer that takes the products from the cooling belt all the way to the pallet.”
At Interbanket’s facility, the major challenge was the large amount of cookies they needed to package. On the one line that was slated for robotic automation they make nineteen different kinds of products, packed thirty different ways into a tray, including flat, at an angle of forty-five degrees and at an angle of ninety degrees. When you add up all the different kinds of toppings and labeling, as Roelse says, there are never-ending possibilities.
“I first looked at it in the traditional way of making machines, but there were so many different packaging styles and cookie combinations it couldn’t be done,” says Haaring. “We needed incredible flexibility to transform the line quickly between batches of cookies, and the only way it could be built was with robots.”
Given that this was Tehama’s first foray into the world of robotic automation, they turned to ABB Robotics BeNeLux for some advice. In the end the project team decided to go with seven IRB 140 six axis robots for the line instead of six four axis delta robots.
“I got a call from Tehama saying they had a new project and needed to use robots,” says Haayo Terpstra, Business Development Manager, ABB Robotics BeNeLux. “The first idea was to put in the IRB 360 delta robots, but during our discussions we realized that picking up the product flat from the conveyor and tilting it to put it into a package could only be done by six axis robots. In addition, we were able to keep costs down due to the reduced mounting needs of the IRB 140.”
“ABB is a very big company with many, many years of experience and they gave me the right support to develop the right programming for this solution,” says Haaring. “It didn’t matter that we were a small company working with another small company, ABB Robotics BeNeLux treated us like family.”
Over several tests with the IRB 140 in the Interbanket facility, Terpstra and his team were able to convince Tehama that it was the right robot for the job. ABB also helped Tehama with some RobotStudio offline virtual computer trials to figure out the best positions for the robots, as well as gripper attachment configurations. Before starting, Roelse says he knew of ABB, but put his trust in Haaring and Tehama to choose the right robot supplier.