Vacuum head combines a compact footprint with stronger suction


Brillopak has developed a next-generation end-effector that offers increased suction and control when handling fresh produce packs with its UniPAKer robotic crate packer.

Brillopak’s UniPAKer fresh produce robot has revolutionised the packing of bagged fresh into crates. Using a parallel arm delta robot, it significantly increases productivity, while improving pick and pack presentation to reduce waste.

The UniPAKer can run with a variety of end-effectors depending on the product being packed. For bags of apples or Brussels sprouts, Brillopak recommends a vacuum head. The company takes a different approach to vacuum handling, deploying cups with independent vacuum generators for greater control over the picking and placing operation.

The principal driver for this latest project was to stop the robot head from making contact with the crate sides when placing packs of apples. The first generation head was slightly larger than the footprint of the apple packs. This meant that when it dipped down into the crate, it was touching the crate sides, sometimes pushing the crate out of position. The problem was that the robot had no way of knowing when the crate had moved, so bags were not always ending up in the correct position within the crate.

To overcome this issue, Brillopak has redesigned the end-effector so that the vacuum generators are located within the head rather than sitting on the outside. Air is drawn into the centre of the head and fed to each of the five generators, all of which are contained within a special internal casing.

As well as delivering a reduction in footprint, the redesign has improved the head’s suction capabilities through a combination of more consistent, faster airflow and larger vacuum generators.


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