New Carton Correction Technology Delivers Major Time and Cost Savings While Mitigating Risk
R.A Jones' new automatic magazine loader (AML) enhances cartoning line efficiency and improves employee safety to meet increased labor and demand challenges impacting various CPG markets.
See how the modular AML technology can minimize workforce injuries and speed up production by automatically pulling carton-filled cases off a conveyor and orientating them properly for loading.
To combat ongoing labor issues and meet surging demand for consumer packaged goods throughout the coronavirus pandemic, R.A Jones has designed and debuted an automatic magazine loader (AML) for use with its cartoning machines. Modular in design and easy to use, the cost-effective solution enables manufacturers to implement labor-saving automated technology into the production line and increase output speeds within a small footprint.
The AML promotes cartoning line efficiency by automatically pulling carton-filled cases off a conveyor and orienting them properly for loading. It then extracts the cartons from a case, loads them onto the magazine and disposes of the case. The process minimizes amount of time and interaction employees would typically dedicate to the loading stage of production, as they simply place cases in queue for the conveyor and let the AML manage subsequent steps. This allows manufacturers to reduce the number of employees required to run the line—a helpful solution amid universal labor shortages and challenges in retaining production staff.
As an added benefit, the technology eliminates the need for the human operator to pick up and rotate each individual case—a traditionally repetitive, awkward ergonomic motion. If the customer has additional floor space, an automatic depalletizer can also be supplied to fully automate the case loading process. The result is a more positive, ergonomic work environment that limits strenuous activity.
Main features of the new AML technology include:
1. Case In-feed Conveyor – Straight-in 8-foot case in-feed conveyor provides at least four (4) minutes of full-to-empty carton pallet exchange. Case conveyor extensions and shape configurations are available to customize it to your specific requirements.
2. Case Flipping Station – The kinematic arm clamps and rotates the case to precisely fit with the Carton Loading Tool.
3. Carton Loading Tool – The tool extends up, grabs the new case of cartons, and gently lowers them down onto the carton magazine, placing them up against the last carton in the line in one fluid motion.
4. Extended Carton Magazine – The AML comes with a carton magazine extension that provides the space for it to operate properly, as well as an area to manually load cartons (only available for straight-in magazines at this time).
5. Empty Case Conveyor – The discarded case that held the cartons is dropped and taken away after the cartons have been placed on the carton magazine.
6. Operator Platform – Allows easy access to all elements of the AML system and to load cartons manually, if required.
R.A Jones’ AML technology includes proprietary carton correction technology that helps catch and reposition any cartons that might have fallen over at the end of the primed stack while it is moving along the magazine, preventing any related jams, bottlenecks and slowdowns. For a typical operation that may run 300 cartons a minute and must function continuously to meet heightened demand, this feature yields significant time and cost savings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for manufacturers, asking them to meet elevated production levels with limited resources,” said Jeff Wintring, Chief Technology Officer at R.A Jones. “When a technology can help ease that pressure and do so in a way that also addresses important needs such as workplace safety, it becomes a game-changer. We look forward to supporting our customers’ goals through our new AML technology and setting new standards for the cartoning industry.”
In addition to labor efficiency and employee safety, the AML provides a more manageable and cost-effective entry into automation for manufacturers who are challenged with justifying the implementation of a fully automated system, which typically requires significant capital investments and major line overhauls. Unlike robotics-driven mechanisms that require greater floor space and a complex setup, the modular AML technology is a servo-driven mechanism that fits within a smaller footprint and is operated via one integrated control system. This simplicity and flexibility allow manufacturers to draw from some of the key benefits of automation without investing in a fully automated setup, while still offering scalability for future production needs.
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