Germany's Coperion has installed six packaging lines and a common palletising island at SABIC's plant in Pontirolo, Italy.
Coperion provides compounding, dispensing systems, bulk materials handling systems, and services to the plastics, chemical, food, and aluminum industries worldwide. SABIC Italy provides small lots of plastic compounds with customised properties, which require specialised process technologies.
The packaging lines project aims to provide flexible and quick cleaning, as well as continuous tracking via bar codes linked to the various recipes. Both companies partnered to design and build a dummy prototype in the first phase of the project, prior to going ahead with installation and startup of the six lines.
Positioned in a double stack magazine, bags are placed in a filling position by robotised integrated pick-and-place arms. The machines are fed through automatic bins and automatically connect to a gravity-feeding funnel.
The entire process is guided by barcode readers, which identify the product batch and automatically set all parameters on the relevant bagging machine and labelling. Operators can easily identify what batch is bagged in each line via maxi LCD screens, which function as remote displays for the main operator interface.
Placed in two rows, the machines have enabled the operator to survey the bin area and perform cleaning or maintenance tasks safely and easily. Including the bag magazine, all of the equipment is designed to be moved away for quick cleaning and easy maintenance without having to interfere with the rest of the operating system.
After filling, the bags are transported through various conveyors, which are arranged in a customised layout and fulfill all CE requirements in terms of safety as regards to interlocking and design.
Finally, the bags arrive at the palletising island, after passing integrated checks via an online barcode, which ensures each batch goes to the right pallet. In the palletising area, two robots with four axes provide a flexible palletising layout with real-time measurement of bag height via integrated laser control.
Image: Coperion provides six packaging lines at SABIC's site in Italy. Photo: courtesy of Coperion.