As a result of installing three Fanuc industrial robots on the re-packing line within Heineken’s Amstel Brewery, productivity increased up to 21,000 bottles of beer per minute, with a significant reduction in production costs.
While the first robot automatically de-palletises a full plastic crate and positions it onto a crate conveyor system, the second robot automatically removes the bottles from the crates and positions them on the bottles infeed conveyor.
The bottles are then collated and packed into shrink wrapped multipacks. Then an integrated coding system is used to print expiry dates and batch codes on each multipack, while a print and apply system is used to label the packs, before the third robot palletises the re-packed bottles ready for the stretch wrapping systems and, finally, loading for distribution.
The empty crates are returned to the first robot and collated for automatic palletising ahead of being loaded onto lorries and returned to the bottling site.
The system is offering maximum productivity and also a great level of flexibility as it can easily be upgraded and modified to handle new products.