Robotic Tray Packing Solved with Pearson’s RTL-MX

Published on June 15, 2022

Automated Top Loading for Randomly-Oriented, Easily-Damaged Products

  • Application: A dedicated packing line for trays of frozen rolls 
  • Speed: 68-88 products per minute depending on dual or single stack pattern
  • ROI Justification: Achieving contracted production volumes for a leading fast-food chain
  • Unique Challenges: Handling a randomly-oriented, easily-damaged product
  • Important to Customer: Product integrity, line reliability, and minimal disruptions to production

Solved with Pearson’s Robotic Top Loader (RTL-MX)

Tray loading with Pearson's RTL-MX


Products are transported in random orientation from the customer freezer to the robotic packing cell via a modular plastic chain conveyor designed to prevent ice build-up. A 2D vision camera determines and communicates the orientation of the trays to each of the four robots that share the workload to achieve the required rates. All four robots are equipped with two end-of-arm tools to accommodate single-stack and dual-stack recipes. To reduce downtime between recipe changes, automatic tool change functionality is enabled with the simple click of a button on the HMI.

With a dual stack pattern, the plenums deploy and retract alternately to ensure that the picked trays are aligned and to avoid interference with other products on the conveyor. Before placement into the case, the two plenums shift together so the tray lips don’t snag on the cases during insertion.

Empty cases enter the cell one at a time onto the side belt transfer conveyors before being filled and released downstream.

To safeguard the line in the event of a robot fault, the product conveyor continues running as robots shift to safe mode, and an automatic plowing device diverts product to a belt near the customer’s hand pack station so operations can continue manually.


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
  • Safety Guarding: Fencing, light curtains or area sensors

Interested to learn more about this solution?
Click here to contact us today!