Sidel lends Nestlé a cobotic hand at tea facility
Nestlé has installed two units of CoboAccess_Pal, an industrial and easy-to-use cobotic palletising solution from Sidel, at its site in Orbe, Switzerland. Automating the palletising of Special.T capsules allowed Nestlé to gain higher pallet quality and improved operations for workers. Sidel’s automation platform combines PC and PLC, for better-controlled trajectories to improve cobot picking and placing. The company has also extended and completed its cobot palletising range with a medium cobot offering a higher payload.
Nestlé Suisse SA Orbe, a factory producing tea in capsules under the Special.T brand, addressed the increasing global market for tea by collaborating with Sidel for its cobotic palletising solution.
“In the past this plant was handling palletising manually. As volume and productivity needed to increase, we were looking to use cobotic palletising to avoid repetitive non-ergonomic tasks for operators. We wanted them to handle activities with higher added value,” said Cédric Rey, Fill & Pack Maintenance & Improvement Manager at Nestlé.
The team at Nestlé approached Sidel with their cobotic requirements back in 2017. As Sidel was already developing a new cobotic palletising solution, the company directly embedded Nestlé’s requirements — primarily those of ensuring pallet stability throughout the supply chain — into the program.
“Accurate case placement on the pallet and tight layers are major requirements to guarantee pallet stability, to ensure products end up in consumers’ hands without any damages. Additionally, we also needed to ensure the safety of our operators. Maintaining worker safety during the transition from manual labour to cobotic technology was imperative. For us, the user-friendliness of the new cobotic solution was extremely important as well: for instance, an intuitive navigation of its HMI was a must,” Rey said.
Two cobotic palletisers have been installed at the Nestlé Orbe site, featuring an industrial automation platform with PC and PLC. This improves pallet quality and provides smooth transportation through the supply chain. The palletising solutions also minimise downtime through an immediate restart function, in case of potential problems or emergency stops.
The CoboAccess_Pal’s HMI is based on an intuitive tablet approach, facilitating daily jobs for operators. The tablet allows operators to access standard operating procedure (SOP) and maintenance sheets for easier and faster troubleshooting and root cause analysis.
Following its collaboration with Nestlé, Sidel is extending its cobotic palletising range, with the CoboAccess_Pal M. With a Fanuc CR-15iA robotic arm, the machine can run six cycles a minute, with DCS software and safe contact stop technology.
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