In all industries, and in the pharmaceutical industry in particular, there is a strong trend towards smaller batch sizes, higher flexibility and higher traceability demands. This means more functions need to fit on the factory floor. At the same time the equipment should be able to handle a wider variety of products.
This was the driving force when one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies turned to Graniten with the task of developing a new generation of compact, flexible combination case packers/palletizers.
By using a rather new concept of linear movers in the form of Beckhoff’s XTS system in cooperation with robots, we were able to develop a flexible solution that is capable of handling capacities from 0–250 incoming products per minute with the same footprint. The main challenge was to make the XTS system capable of handling a considerably higher payload than it was initially intended for. We overcame this by developing a patented guide-rail system that widened the possible range of use.
As always, the conceptualization started with brainstorming. The ideas were quickly directed at the rather new concept of using linear movers that could be controlled individually or synchronized together as needed on a common track.
The XTS system is an excellent basis for flexible solutions
After evaluating the products available, it was decided to use the Beckhoff XTS system. As in most cases involving Graniten solutions, the products are manipulated by robots. Using robots together with the XTS system provides an excellent basis for flexible solutions.
The key challenge during the development of this machinery solution was to make the XTS system capable of handling a considerably higher payload than it was initially designed for. By developing a patented guide-rail system, Graniten could overcome this, thereby widening the potential uses of the XTS product. By using XTS technology, it is possible to disconnect the interdependency of the various machinery modules and it also enables the machines to be more compact.
By modifying minor components and software, the solution is capable of handling capacities from 0–250 incoming products per minute with the same footprint. The robots are easily programmable to handle any number of formats. The machine design enables the operator to perform line clearance and change format in a matter of minutes.