Enabling fast palletising of multi-packs in a variety of combinations, the move has enabled the manufacturer to benefit from improved process efficiencies throughout their production.

Manufacturing a wide range of spring waters, flavoured waters, functional waters, school compliant drinks, premium sparkling pressés, fruit juices and own label brands, Radnor Hills first approached RMGroup in 2018 to investigate automating an end-of-line palletising operation with a robot arm.

On the line, packs of bottles needed to be palletised at a rate of 14 packs per minute. Given the throughput and pallet stack formats, RMGroup needed to ensure that the robotic solution could multi pick packs up to four at any one time, and then place them onto a pallet in one’s, two’s, three’s or four’s, to keep up with the production line throughput.

Using ABB RobotStudio, RMGroup’s mechanical design and technical department devised a solutionutilising a bespoke gripper, enabling the robot to stack the packs onto pallets at the desired rate. By allowing RM Group’s engineers to experiment with different options, RobotStudio also helped to identify which ABB robot would be best suited for the project, optimising the project ROI.

Following the success of the initial installation, RMGroup supplied another two ABB end-of line palletising systems at the site. A second was installed on Radnor’s Tetra Pak line to palletise cardboard cartons from dual production lines at a rate of six cases per minute; a third line was installed on Radnor’s canning line, involving a much higher output of 24 packs, 12 of which needed to be palletised on euro pallets, at a rate of 20 cases per minute.

“One of the key benefits of working with RMGroup is that they listen to us,” said David Pope, Radnor Hills’ general manager.“They take on board our requirements and come back to us with solutions to make it happen. The whole team has been a pleasure to work with, especially the engineers, who have been extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the whole process.”

”The glowing praise from the customer for RM Group and the solution it has delivered is a great endorsement both for the care with which we select our Value Providers and the excellent performance delivered by our robotic palletising solutions,” says Steve Banton, Channel Partner Manager for ABB Robotics UK & Ireland. “It also highlights the value that our RobotStudio offline programming software can deliver in helping to develop and refine solutions that can start delivering benefits as soon as they are installed on the factory floor.”