Flexible case packing for tubes of personal lubricant solved with Pearson’s RTL-MX

Published on March 14, 2022

Flexible case packing for loose & bundled tubes of personal lubricant

  • Application: Loading tubes of individual and bundled personal lubricant into RSCs 
  • Speed: 120 tubes per minute/73 bundles per minute
  • ROI Justification: Overcoming the staffing challenges of keeping (4) workers devoted to the line with a 3-year payback
  • Unique Challenges: Accommodating a range of product and pack variations including nested individual tubes and shrink-wrapped 3- or 6-pack bundles with minimal changeovers 
  • Important to Customer: A uniform Human Machine Interface (HMI) for operational consistency, the ability to integrate a future robotic palletizer in the line through the same OEM, machine customizations including custom powder-coating, and proven start-up and technical support

Solved with Pearson’s RTL-MX

Optimized for Demanding 24/7 Operations


RTL-MX Robotic Case Packer for Tubes of Lubricant

Empty cases are erected on Pearson’s CE25-T tape Case Erector (1), and transported via lineshaft roller conveyor (2) to the RTL-MX Case Packer (3). Cases are indexed into position using a side lug metering belt and move continuously through the packing cell.

Simultaneously, product (tubes of personal lubricant) are delivered to the Case Packer (3) on a  back-lit belt top conveyor (5). Products are received individually/loose with cap- or tail-leading, or in bundles broadside leading. A 2D vision system identifies the tracks the location of products, and two FANUC M3iA/6S Delta robots equipped with vacuum end-of-arm tooling pick the appropriate product counts and place them horizontally into cases. Individual/loose products are picked and placed two at a time into cases, forming a secure shingled pack pattern. Bundles are picked one at a time. The two robots share the workload of packing into each case at rates of 120ppm (Individual/loose products) and 73ppm (bundles). The packing process repeats until the cases are full.

Lineshaft roller conveyor(s) transport and buffer the filled cases from the RTL-MX Top Loader to the Pearson CS25-42T (4) Case Sealer, where they are top sealed with tape before exiting the machine.

Changeovers are tool-less and simple to execute, supported by a changeover map and step-by-step guide on the HMI. Robots automatically move to a maintenance position for easy access when a recipe is altered or when a new recipe is selected. On account of ongoing staffing challenges, the customer was pleased to have the same Human Machine Interface (HMI) on the case erector, case packer, and case sealer, so new operators can become proficient with all the pieces of equipment on the line quickly.

Custom purple powder-coating was used on each machine frame in order to remain true to the manufacturer’s branding and their existing machinery. Having worked with Pearson on past projects and experienced thorough commissioning support and prompt, responsive technical help, they were confident in the promised OEM partnership.


RTL-MX Capabilities

  • Application: Top Load Case Packing
  • Case Support: Chipboard Cartons, Corrugated Cases, Bliss Boxes, Trays, and Warehouse Totes
  • Supported Pack Patterns: Vertical, Horizontal, Interleaved, Stacked, On Edge, On End, Rainbow or Variety Packs, Bulk and Shelf-Ready
  • Speed: Application specific up to 1,500 products/min
  • Controls: FANUC PMC | AB CompactLogix PLC | PanelView Color HMI
  • Operation:
    • Robotically using multi-axis articulated robot with MTBF of over 80,000 hours and flexibility to accommodate product changes or variations
    • Application specific product handling and transfer including servo-collating, diverting, tabletop, mat top and independent cart technology
    • Vision guidance and line tracking to inspect, detect, sort and manipulate products on the fly or balance the load between robots
    • Continuous case motion design for higher speed applications and reduced wear
    • Application-specific end-of-arm tool with optional automatic tool changeover
  • Programming Language: PackML

Minimized Total Cost of Ownership

  • Robotic Operation takes advantage of high mean between failure of 80,000 hrs. reduced parts count and wear
  • Standard remote access capability for efficient technical support and extensive service cost savings
  • HMI models web experience for quick familiarity, intuitive operation, reduced training needs and better upkeep of the equipment
  • Tune-Up Plus Program ensures optimal uptime and controlled parts and service expenses year over year

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