Challenged by a fast-growing supplier of mineral-based materials to the building trade, to supply a rugged yet versatile high-performance palletiser cell while remaining within a tight budget, Linkx Systems has developed a fully automatic solution based on a refurbished KUKA industrial robot.

While costing 30% less than similar brand-new robots, the refurbished units are extensively reworked and tested by KUKA. They are guaranteed to provide as-new performance and reliability, and are supplied with a full warranty.

Robotic Palletiser aggregates imageFor several years, the mineral-based material supplier had been using a semi-automatic robotic palletiser to load pallets with 25 kg bags of aggregates ready for despatch to builders’ merchants and garden centres. The performance of this system, however, was no longer sufficient to meet the company’s expanding requirements. In addition, the robot was nearing the end of its useful life and was starting to become unreliable.

Asked to help in addressing these problems, Linkx Systems first examined the existing robot and determined that it was, as expected, no longer fit for further service. However, the company also determined that using a robot was by far the best way of meeting their requirements for versatility and high throughput. Accordingly, a solution based on a refurbished KUKA robot, which would combine performance with economy, was proposed.

Drawing on its extensive expertise and experience in working with KUKA robots, the Linkx Systems engineering team developed a fully-automatic palletiser cell comprising a pallet denester, conveying systems and light guards. The operation of the robot is fully integrated with the other parts of the control system to produce what is, in effect, a single unified control platform that is efficient in operation, easy to work with and easy to maintain.

The new robotic palletiser cell is now in service, and can consistently pick and place up to 12 bags of aggregate per minute – a very significant improvement over its predecessor. The new cell is also proving to be completely reliable in operation, despite the tough working environment, and is fully living up to expectations for convenience and ease of use.