Torus Technology Group has partnered with Festo to create a purpose-designed integrated handling solution for its new TQ-Lab modular plastics packaging testing station.
Torus offers a range of custom designed automated inspection & testing systems that enable customers to control high speed processes, reduce costs and maintain quality in demanding environments. TQ-Lab is a unique, total quality testing station for plastics packaging such as bottles and jars, typically used for soft drinks, health supplements, cosmetics, and domestic cleaning products.
Festo’s inhouse design expertise and online software tools played a critical role in helping Torus to develop the optimum solution for the complex handling requirements involved.
Plastics packaging requires precision measurement of aspects such as material thickness, outer body and neck physical dimensions, neck diameter and volume as well as load testing for crushing and pressure.
The TQ-Lab can undertake all the necessary tests on both empty and filled containers or preforms in a single system. Once batches of containers are placed onto the turnaround conveyor, the operator simply selects the relevant program and walks away. A bespoke vision system locates the position of the neck and an intelligent gripper and multi-axis pick and place system transfers the product from the conveyor between measurement modules. Customers can select the Torus test modules to suit their particular test requirements or budgets. Controlled via a single interface, TQ-Lab delivers reliable data to the network with no operator influence.
Accurate handling and repeatability were key to delivering customer benefits; such as reduced time and labour costs, the potential to collect a large amount of measurement data, and a reduced footprint.
Torus investigated the option of building the handling system themselves but identified issues with compatibility and reliability using multiple suppliers. It also considered using an ‘off-the-shelf’ robot solution, but this involved design modifications and specialist automation skills outside their core expertise. They needed an automation expert to help them optimise the system design
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