BluePrint Automation (BPA)  

South Chesterfield,  VA 
United States
  • Booth: 1045

BluePrint Automation (BPA) is a world leader in end-of-line packaging automation. With a diverse and innovative team of experts in the baking industry, BPA designs, develops and manufactures packaging solutions for flexible and other tough-to-handle packages.  Virtually any product loaded into any container!

• Vision Guided Robotics:  Vision guided robots picking individual packaged and unpackaged items for loading into your container or Horizontal Form, Fill and Seal machines.  Solutions include stacking and loading, wrapper loading, multipacks, dinner tray loading, kit assembly and more!

• Secondary Packaging:  Case packing and tray packing solutions for flexible and other tough-to-handle packages. BPA provides vertical and horizontal pack solutions, including case packing (case packer), tray packing (tray packer), carton loading (cartoner), side load cartoning (end load cartoning), crate loading and WIP loading. Ask about our wrap-around case packing capabilities for your retail ready packaging.

• Turnkey Packaging Systems: Taking total control of your packaging line from the end of processing, your Form, Fill and Seal or Flow Wrapper through palletizing! Areas of expertise include: Product Inspection, Product Settling, Product Handling, Case Packing (cartoning, wraparound case packing), Case Erecting, Case Closing and Compacting, Case Conveying Sorting and Distribution, Case Inspection, Palletizing (Palletizer), Controls Integration Services, Installation Crew, Service Team for Start-up and In-House Training.

Backed by thousands of successful installations in over 60 countries, BPA has three full-service manufacturing facilities in the USA and Europe, an additional facility in Hangzhou China and ten additional subsidiaries throughout the world for sales and service. BPA has clearly emerged as a global leader in the design and manufacturing of fully integrated turnkey packaging systems. Our systems are constructed for around the clock operation and known worldwide for their quick change over, flexibility, speed and simple design.

BPA has extensive experience in the following markets:

• Bakery • Confectionery • Dairy • Dry Food • Fresh Produce • Frozen • Ice Cream • Personal Care • Pet Food • Pharmaceutical • Protein • Snacks


Secondary Packaging Solutions
Vision Guided Robotics

 Show Specials

  • (Jun 09, 2022)
    Ready to reduce labor and elimiate your rotary pack off tables?  Mention this special and receive a discount off our Collator 200 semi-automatic pack assist solution for bags and stand-up pouches.

 Press Releases

  • Described as "the next chapter in the fascinating success story of Clif Bar" by the company's Senior Project Engineer, Jeb Sloan, Clif Bar; Company's new Twin Falls, ID, bakery was engineered with speed, equipment redundancy, and system flexibility in mind. In operation since May 2016, the new plant covers 300,000 sq ft and currently runs two high-speed production lines manufacturing and packaging organic energy/nutrition bars. Key to attaining this speed is the use of a top-load robotic carton-loading system custom-designed by BluePrint Automation that Sloan explains provides the needed built in redundancy to keep product in the system, even when there are equipment stoppages.

    In March 2015, Clif Bar broke ground on the $90-million Twin Falls bakery, which was built to keep up with growing demand for its CLIF Bar, CLIF Kid Organic Zbar, and CLIF Mini energy bar products. The Clif Bar Baking Company of Twin Falls is the company's second bakery; the first, in Indianapolis, was recently acquired by the company from its former co-packer.

    In specifying equipment for the packaging line in Twin Falls, Sloan says Clif Bar was looking for a system that could absorb minor stoppages over the course of a run. "If a piece of equipment were to go down, we wanted to have the ability to keep the line running, either by using a similar piece of equipment or by rerouting the product around the disruption and then reintroducing it back to the line," he says.

    Another requirement of the secondary equipment was that it could be quickly and easily changed over to accommodate a range of flow-wrapped, heat-sealed energy bar product sizes and packaging formats--5-, 6-, 7-, 12-, 18-, and 100-ct cartons among them--to maximize available run time.

    Clif Bar was also seeking a system with the flexibility to not only run its current product portfolio, but also future products as well. "We are a company that prides itself on innovation," says Sloan. "We want to make sure our systems have the flexibility to accommodate our robust innovation pipeline, without having to retrofit the line."

    To address these requirements, BPA equipped each packaging line with a secondary packaging system comprising of two Kliklok-Woodman Genesis top-load carton formers, ABB Flexpicker delta style robots for carton loading, and two Kliklok Vari-Straight three-flap carton closers. The systems handle bars coming from Sigpack HCM horizontal flow wrappers supplied by Bosch Packaging Systems. After wrapping, the bars are carried by conveyor to the two packaging lines, consisting of carton forming and carton closing equipment on each side of the conveyor.

    Explains Jerry Buckley, Midwest Regional Sales Manager for BPA, cartons run on both sides of the product pick belt at 50% speed when both carton formers and carton closers are running, but if one jams and stops, then the cartons on the other side run at 100% speed, so that all bars can be placed into cartons on the side that is running. "Thus, all products go into cartons instead of into re-feed bins," he says.

    BPA also equipped each carton-loading system with two additional redundant robots, so that if one or two robots are being worked on, for example, having a suction cup changed, then the other robots will continue to load cartons.

    "When you compare this technology to other systems that would solve the same problem, the only way to do that would be to buy more pieces of equipment to get the redundancy," says Sloan. "With more pieces of equipment comes more square footage, more operators, more energy usage, and more complexity. We're able to avoid having to do all that by using this robotic top-load system.

    "Another advantage of the BPA solution is its vision-guided robotics system. Using a Cognex In-Sight bar-tracking vision system, the BPA carton loader's vision system processor is fast enough to receive bars into the loader with no need for them to be rotated or have lanes balanced, which eliminates touches prior to picking. "This removes a known problem, as the bars can jam up at 90-degree turns, and there is no value in any additional touches," says Sloan.

    In similar applications, Buckley explains, SCARA robots do not have the reach to pick products from more than just the closest two lanes. "So if the cartons on that side of the product pick belt stop for some reason, then those bars just pass by the robots and go off the end of the pick belt for re-feeding," he says.

    With the Twin Falls system, the ABB FlexPicker robots can reach all lanes of incoming product, so there is never a time when the system can't keep up with the product throughput, and all products are then put into cartons.

    Another unique feature of the BPA system is that the touchscreen allows for changes in the percentage of bars going into a certain-count carton. Therefore, if Clif Bar urgently needs to fill an order for 12-ct cartons, they can put 70% of the arriving product into the 12-ct carton side, with 30% going into the other carton being run--a 6-ct, for example--instead of always having 50% of product going into a carton on one side of the product conveyor and 50% on the other.

    Following carton loading and sealing, the cartons are case-packed via four BPA model HPP robotic top-load case packers. The secondary and tertiary packaging equipment is equipped with Allen-Bradley controls integrated by BPA. BPA also programmed the systems to handle all of Clif Bar's current packaging configurations as well as trained its opera-tors to become self-sufficient on the machinery. "BPA did the initial programming and setup, but we wanted to be sure the knowledge is transferred and our team members are well trained so that we're able to do predictive and preventive maintenance on the systems ourselves," says Sloan.

    He adds that Clif Bar hired its team members and put them through technical and skills courses at the College of Southern Idaho before the bakery was up and running. "It took us a solid three months of classroom and hands-on learning of the BPA system to get to the point where we could operate it on our own," he says. "Given the complexity of what we're dealing with, it wasn't that long. The system is quite intuitive and user-friendly.

    "Looking at the system as a whole, Sloan says BPA delivered on all requirements--and more. "Early on we felt like BluePrint was a like-minded company to Clif Bar, and we saw a lot of strength in their people," he says. "Not only is our technical salesperson Jerry Buckley best-in-class, but so are all the team members behind the curtain.

    "We weren't just looking for a strong technical solution with equipment that would do what we needed it to do, we were also looking for a partner that we could establish and continue to develop a long-term relationship with. So far, it's been just that."

  • In a 2017 industry research report from PMMI Business Intelligence, The Evolution of Automation, lack of skilled labor/labor shortages was positioned at the top of the list of drivers for plant floor automation in the packaging industry. This was certainly the case for White Castle Distributing LLC, which in 2016 switched from manual to robotic cartoning of its flow-wrapped burgers at two of its production facilities. Says Project Manager Brad Rife, “The labor pool seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the day, and it was that way back in 2016 as well.”

    The plants involved were White Castle’s Vandalia, OH, and Covington, KY, facilities, which produce the fast-food burger chain’s “sliders” for retail sale. The latter plant produces four-, 16-, and 18-count cartons of the small, square burgers, which are flow-wrapped in two-packs in a frozen state.

    In 2015, White Castle began investigating automating the carton-loading process, which required two to three workers per shift to accomplish by hand. “There were some ergonomic issues,” says Rife. “It’s a fairly repetitive process to load the two-packs into the cartons. But more than anything, it was the lack of availability of qualified workers. It’s just hard to get people.”

    One of White Castle’s requirements for an automated system was it had be able to keep pace with the plant’s grill rate, plus an additional 10% to 15% for potential grill-rate increases. Essentially, Rife shares, the company was looking for a cartoner that could load 160 to 165 packages/min comfortably. As for a potential supplier, White Castle was looking for one with good serviceability. “We wanted service and parts readily available,” he says. “If we had any kind of issue, we wanted to be sure we could get prompt attention and not have to wait two to three weeks for parts or service personnel to help us. And really, the biggest driving factor as far as purchasing is we wanted something that was going to be dependable and reliable, and get the job done for us.”

    Rife says the inspiration for automating the cartoning process came from viewing similar solutions at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015. After doing some homework on potential equipment, the White Castle team enlisted the help of an account executive at BluePrint Automation, who introduced them to some of BPA’s capabilities.

    In December 2016, White Castle began running BPA’s Vision Guided Robotic Packaging System (VGRS) for carton loading. While the company had used robotics for pick-and-place in the past, until this installation, they had not used vision guided robots. The BPA system includes two ABB IRB 360 FlexPicker three-axis delta-style pick-and-place robots that together currently operate at 160 two-packs/min. All three carton sizes—four, 16, and 18—are handled by the system, however little changeover is required, as each carton size has its own dedicated carton erector and sealer. “The only thing we change over is the robot itself, and it’s pretty simple,” explains Rife. “It’s just a menu selection for the recipe for each different product. There are also a couple small changes you have to make to the cartoner infeed for carton separation. That takes about three to five minutes tops.”

    During operation of the packaging line, two-pack flow-wraps of sliders to be loaded into cartons are fed to the robotic cell by a conveyor leading from a spiral freezer. The packs exit the freezer in a random orientation spread across the conveyor, which measures around 16 in. Once the packs enter the robotic cell, the vision-guided robots pick them from the conveyor, turning them in the correct orientation before loading them into a waiting carton. The robots load three cartons at a time in a counter-flow method, where cartons are conveyed in the opposite direction from incoming product. Once three cartons are loaded, they are discharged from the robotic cell, after which they are checkweighed and sealed.

    A vacuum-cup end effector was chosen for the application, as it had been found in other pick-and-place applications at White Castle to be effective in handling the frozen, domed-top burgers. Two suction cups are used on each FlexPicker robot that align with the two burgers in the pack. “They don’t really have to be perfect,” says Rife. “They just have to get close and pick up 99.999 percent of the time with no problem.”

    With the installation of the BPA cartoner, White Castle was able to redeploy into other areas of the plant the two to three operators per shift who had been manually loading the cartons. Although the speed of the line has not changed—Rife says it was running at a pretty rapid rate even with hand loading—automation has provided another benefit over the manual process. Explains Rife, “When we were loading this product by hand, the operators would let the products build up maybe three to four feet on the belt—not stacked high, but laterally. Then they would load product for two to three minutes, and then they would take a break for about 30 seconds and let product build back up. That’s probably not the best thing for the product. The robot loads at a consistent, uniform rate, right with the rate of production. There’s no accumulation anywhere, it’s loading in real time as product comes down the belt, and that’s better for the product.”

    After having used the system for more than a year and a half, Rife says White Castle is very pleased with the performance of the robotic cartoner and its VGR capabilities. “Because we had never used vision before to pick up our two-packs, there was some concern it wasn’t going to work properly,” he admits. “Some of our product is in labeled film, and some of it is in clear film. We weren’t sure if the camera would be able to see the packs with the different types of film, but we haven’t had any problems.

    “It’s getting to the point with delta robots and vision systems where the capabilities are rapidly advancing to the point where it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re going to get a nice, operable system if you buy one—particularly if you’re working with a reputable vendor.”

    Watch a video of the system here.

  • Delta-style robots can pull off some pretty remarkable feats of packaging, especially when it comes to cartoning of primary packs. A great illustration is the latest installation at contract packager CCB Packaging, where no less than 12 robotic cells are all lined up in a compact row. Designed and supplied by Blueprint Automation, Line 2 lets the Hiawatha, IA-based co-packer put snack pouches or breakfast bars, for example, into top-load cartons of varying sizes at speeds to 150 items/min. Not only can its ABB robots produce multi-flavor variety packs or single-flavor cartons, they can also put different products—like four cereal bars, two oatmeal packs, and some fruit snacks—into one carton.

    For a contract packager whose many customers require packaging formats in bewildering varieties, the versatility of the new line is just what the doctor ordered. Key contributions include carton erecting and closing from Kliklok Woodman Packaging Machinery and an array of vision systems from Cognex. Impressive though these may be, what takes the cake in this installation are the 12 feeding systems bringing primary packs to the 12 robots. They, too, come from Blueprint Automation. Installed August 2014 while still in beta phase, the feeders take primary packs from bulk totes and orient them in neatly spaced rows so that the vacuum pick-up cups on the robots can pick and place the packs into cartons moving continuously along a Kliklok Woodman Vari-Pitch conveyor.

    “This is brand new feeder technology that we’ve been working on with Blueprint for nearly two-and-a-half years,” says CCB Vice President Frank Cotty. “If the pouches are all clumped together, the robots can’t make a clean pick. We need separation of the primary packages. That’s what these automated feeders provide.”

    Certainly helpful in bringing this project to a happy conclusion is the fact that Blueprint and CCB view each other less as vendor and buyer and more as automation/integration partners. They also have a strong track record together, as this represents the third major project on which they’ve collaborated.

    Upstream from the robots

    The cartons that get robotically loaded are automatically erected on a Genesis top-load, lock-style carton-forming machine from Kliklok Woodman. CCB runs a number of carton sizes on this line, anything from small retail size to larger club offerings, so it’s nice that the machine has a quick-change feed-bar assembly and quick-release plunger tube mountings that allow for fast carton size changeover without the use of tools. The Genesis features twin carton set-up stations, but on the day of our visit a large carton for an 18-count carton was in production, so only one of the carton set-up tools would fit.

    One other signature characteristic of the Genesis is that it uses vacuum strip-off for added control of the cartons it erects. Cotty explains.

    “Rather than just drop a carton down onto the takeway conveyor, a tool with vacuum cups goes up and strips the carton right off the forming block and guides it down onto the conveyor. The added measure of control helps permit running at higher speeds.”

    Erected cartons are released onto a conveyor belt that takes them past a Cognex DataMan 300/360 Series fixed-mount bar-code reader. “It reads a bar code on each carton to confirm that we have the right carton for the product we’re running,” says Cotty. “It’s just in case something happens at the carton converter and a wrong carton gets into the mix. But it also catches any bar code that might be unreadable when it reaches the retailer.”

    Cotty says he likes the auto-tuning that’s offered by the Cognex reader, an intelligent tuning feature that automatically selects the optimum settings for the integrated lighting, autofocus, and imager for each application. This auto-tuning process ensures that the bar-code reader will be set up to attain the highest read rates possible.

    The flat tabletop conveyor between the carton erector and the first robot provides some measure of accumulation should it be needed. It takes cartons, with covers open, to a tractor index feeder that spaces the cartons for smooth transfer into the Vari-Pitch conveyor that takes the cartons through the 12 robots. The Vari-Pitch conveyor is described by Cotty as a custom-supplied component designed by Kliklok Woodman that isn’t to be found on any other carton loading operation in the world—at least not yet.

    “They took the concept of pop-up lugs from their Vari-Straight carton closing equipment and made it into a carton conveyor for us,” says Cotty. “The recipe management system specifies how long the carton is for a particular production run. Based on how long the carton is, the conveyor automatically selects which lugs to pop up. So it brings us automatic pitch change and lets us run a wide variety of carton sizes at linear speeds well within the robots’ abilities to pick and place.

    “Because we’re a co-packer with many different customers and products, flexibility is the key. The new line offers the versatility to run a wide range of carton sizes and products along with quick changeover. We package everything from retail-size cartons up to larger variety packs at speeds up to 150 cartons/min.”

    The feeding systems

    Feeding into the line of robots from a 90-degree angle are the 12 Blueprint Automation feeding systems. Each one operates identically, and each one has 180 white spinning rollers mounted in a stainless steel cabinet, 90 down the left side and 90 down the right. It’s these rollers that both advance the pouches forward and separate them from each other so that the vacuum cups on the delta-style robots can cleanly pick them.

    Pouches reach a feeding system by way of a bucket elevator that brings pouches from a floor-level hopper up to a diverter mechanism that pivots left or right depending on whether the left or right side of the feeding system needs pouches. Both sides are identical and operate the same way, but for our purposes here, we’ll follow the left side. Its first section consists of 30 rollers, each about 12 inches long. The rollers are clustered into groups of six, and the rotation of all six is powered by one stepper motor/drive combination having its own controller. Also integrated into each cluster of six rollers is a Keyence sensor that detects where a pouch is positioned relative to the ones around it. This position information is sent to the six-roller cluster’s CPU, which then determines if, based on where the pouches around it are located, it should speed up its six rollers or slow them down. It’s this mutually synchronized modulation of the speed of the six-roller clusters that spaces the pouches out.

    Pouches drop next onto a second stretch of white rollers whose diameter is about the same but whose length is about 4 inches shorter than the rollers in the first section. The right end of these rollers is tilted slightly higher than the left, which keeps most of the pouches on the rollers so the pouches can be propelled forward. But there simply isn’t room for all for the pouches, so the ones that slip off the right edge of the rollers land on a floor-level return conveyor from Dorner that reintroduces them into the system by way of the bucket elevator back at the beginning of the feeder system.

    A total of 60 rollers are in this second stretch of the feeding system’s left side, and once again each cluster of six includes its own Keyence sensor, its own controller, and its own stepper motor/drive combination. Because each cluster communicates with the ones around it, each controller knows if the overall goal of singulating the flow of pouches will be better accomplished by speeding up its six rollers or by slowing them down.

    According to Blueprint Automation CEO Martin Prakken, the feeder system is an example of swarm intelligence: the collective behavior of individual agents, like birds in a large flock, that interact with each other in such a way that synchronized group behavior emerges and the individual agents appear to be one single agent.

    “Each cluster of six rollers has its own proprietary algorithm, and each cluster communicates with some of the other clusters immediately ahead and behind it,” says Prakken. He says this new feeding system represents a significant leap forward from the one that Blueprint customers, including CCB, have used in the past. In those earlier applications, the six-roller clusters are driven not by a stepper motor but rather by a servo motor whose drive is back in the main control cabinet. The feeding system’s controller has to communicate with the servo drive and the drive must then communicate with the servo motor. “With this new stepper/drive combo approach and with intelligence built into each cluster of six rollers,” says Prakken, “data flows much more efficiently and quickly”

    The net result of the Blueprint feeding system is that in pretty short order what was once a mass of pouches in bulk bins has been converted into an orderly stream of individual pouches that drop from the last cluster of rollers onto a flat pick belt. A vision system, again from Cognex, identifies the precise location of each pouch on this belt and shares these coordinates with the delta-style robot immediately downstream. What happens next depends pretty much on what gets entered into the recipe management system.

    “Each of the 12 robotic cells is independent of the others,” says Cotty. “It can feed every carton that goes by, or it can place pouches only into every other carton or every third carton or whatever we choose.”

    What it comes down to is that whatever is pickable is fair game. Each cell has three vacuum valve systems, so depending on which tooling is selected each robot can pick up to three items at a time. Pouches can be placed into a carton all at once or one can be placed and then the end effector can be moved slightly to drop the other pouch in a position deemed more favorable. Sometimes this becomes useful in the high-count cartons in order to get them all to fit neatly.

    Two other notes on the feeding system. If too many pouches arrive at the pick belt for the robot to handle, the ones that aren’t picked simply drop off the pick belt onto a Dorner conveyor that is connected with the return conveyor leading back to the infeed bucket elevator. Also, if the Cognex vision system sees a pouch that is smaller than the parameters that have been selected—or if it sees a pouch that is crushed or somehow misshapen in a way that makes it unpickable—it tells the robot not to pick that pouch but to let it fall off the pick belt and into the return conveyor. This Dorner conveyor has a pivoting function that is automatically activated to divert the faulty pouch into a reject bin.

    Checkweighed twice

    Exiting ABB robot #12, the filled cartons convey around a turn and pass over a Mettler Toledo checkweigher. “We checkweigh cartons twice,” says Cotty, “first with the carton still open and then after it’s closed. When it’s open there’s still a chance for a pouch to fall out before reaching the carton closer. Checkweighing after carton closing is one more way of making sure each carton has the correct number of pouches.”

    The carton closer Cotty refers to is the Vari-Straight from Kliklok Woodman.

    “We have one of the first they ever built on one of our other lines,” says Cotty. “This is the newest version of the Vari-Straight, so it has all Allen-Bradley servo controls. It’s rated at up to 150 cartons/min, and it handles all the carton sizes we do.” The Allen-Bradley controls are supplied by Rockwell Automation.

    Integrated into the Vari-Straight carton closer is a Robatech hot melt glue application system. “We found it has such good control of glue and not a lot of adhesive stringing,” says Cotty.“It works great.”

    Ink-jet coding of variable information is next, which is done by a system from Domino. “Domino is our partner when it comes to carton printing in this plant,” says Cotty.

    Following a second Mettler Toledo metal detector, cartons move next to the EZ Pack case packing station from Combi Packaging Systems. It erects cases automatically and advances them to a station where operators quickly and efficiently load cartons by hand. The cases are then pushed into an automatic top-sealing station where tops are glued closed. A fully automated case packing system was never really an option, says Cotty, because the number of changeovers involved in a co-packing operation like this one would make change part tooling prohibitively expensive.

    Case coding is done on an ink-jet system from Squid Ink. Like the upstream Domino system for carton coding, the case coder is told by the recipe management system what information to print each time a change occurs.

    Robotic palletizing on a Fanuc system is next. “We installed the Fanuc palletizer in 2007 knowing that we’d want to run a second line into it,” says Cotty. “We also had it designed so that it would pick either corrugated or fiberboard slip sheets. Again, thanks to our recipe management system, the robot knows which kind of slip sheet is called for. Also, if we’re using a corrugated slip sheet, we apply a release glue on each corrugated slip sheet because they don’t have as much tack and that first layer of cases tends to slide around a little bit.”

    One improvement in the new line is in end-of-line case handling. On the older line that feeds the palletizer, continuously driven roller conveyors bring cases to the gating mechanism that feeds the cases into the pick station. This allows back-pressure to build up, which can in turn cause the action of the gating mechanism to be compromised. On the new line, the motion of the Hytrol roller conveyors is subject to a PLC that eliminates the back-pressure problem. Also in place is a spur of Hytrol roller conveyor down which cases can be diverted if some sort of special pack-off is required. Once again, having such options comes in mighty handy when you’re a co-packer, says Cotty.

    The Fanuc robot, adds Cotty, has run flawlessly since its 2007 arrival. One change made just recently is in the end effector, he adds, where the vacuum plenum has been switched out. Now in place is something called The Squid, a universal vacuum lifting tool from Vacuforce that has a self-closing valve technology enabling individual vacuum suction cups to automatically close if not sealed against the load being handled. So if some of the 120 vacuum cups on the end effector are not in contact with the shipper to be picked, a flapper inside each of those cups’ valves closes to keep dust from entering into that valve. “We made the change about 3 months ago and haven’t had any problems with vacuum since,” notes Cotty. “Before, we’d experience dust-related vacuum problems about every week or so.”

    The new line comes to a close with an automated stretch wrapper from Phoenix Wrappers.

    Standing at robot #12 and looking back over the other 11 robot cells as they smoothly and automatically go about their business, Cotty is clearly pleased with the outcome of this ambitious and capital-intensive project. “This line continues our commitment to offer automated low-cost packaging alternatives to our customers,” says Cotty. “It’s very high tech.”

    Could be the understatement of the decade.

  • Loading and unloading, product packaging, case packing systems, and palletizing are the main concerns of end-of-line robotics.

    Automation such as case packers may increase the case count (amount of products per case) or reduce the case footprint (which enables to load more product on a pallet) or can assist you in improving pallet loading precision, lowering operational expenses, increasing productivity, and increasing your return on investment.

    You'll have the best upkeep expenses in the industry because maintenance and downtime are negligible compared to traditional methods.

    One of the most efficient ways end-of-line packing automation manufacturers cut back on unneeded labor and material expenses is through end-of-line case packing system automation. These technologies virtually cancel out the risk of human error and optimize the usage of materials. 

    Let’s talk about automation like robotic case packers and their role in reducing labor and production costs.

    How Does Automation Cut Down Labor Costs?

    The high cost of labor in a corporation might stifle expansion. 

    Many business owners struggle to find a middle ground between obtaining the services they require to continue developing and keeping the firm profitable. 

    If you've experienced this problem before, you're probably looking for ways to cut labor expenditures. Automation is one solution for lowering labor overhead expenses that have gained popularity in recent years.

    Better Allocation Of Skilled Labor

    Manufacturers can use skilled staff in sections of the production line that can't be automated due to automation. Robotic case packing machines, for example, can boost productivity without requiring more employees.

    As a result, labor costs in the manufacturing and packaging processes are minimized, making it easier to meet production needs in companies where human capital is sparse.

    Worker Safety And its Financial Impact

    Redistributing the workforce also protects workers' wellbeing from repetitive strain injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is three times as frequent among assembly line workers than among data entry professionals, based on research by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    The overall lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome for each injured employee, combining medical bills and lost productivity, can exceed $30,000. Investing in case packers and palletizers lowers the danger of workers being harmed while also increasing productivity.

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety Pays resource assesses how much profit a company would have to generate to cover its losses. It's calculated using a profit margin, expected accident or illness costs, and an indirect cost multiplier.

    The initiative brings awareness of work-related injuries and their financial consequences. Even a simplified semi-automatic packaging solution like  Collators will already help to reduce labour cost and improve repetitive strain injuries as they ease the working process significantly. 

    How Do Robotic Case Packers Save Money?

    Robotic case packers are the best way to automate your product line and see how automation fits your production process. 

    Time Saving Benefits

    A considerable change over time reduces a line's total productivity when using traditional technologies.

    Using integrated robotics, such as robotic case packing, you can add additional articles to a current line while maintaining efficiency and eliminating unnecessary changeovers.

    The end-effector of an automatic machine, also termed as end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), is a central feature in enhancing customization. The EOAT isn't included in the construction of the robot arm, but it can be incorporated to create a multipurpose robotic case packer that can handle many functions.

    The reason to invest in customizable EOAT technology is that you can introduce a different product to a current robotic cell by simply changing the end-of-arm tooling and software.

    When it comes to growing your product line, this will save you time and money.

    Traditional equipment has many downtimes, specifically if it contains detectors that stop it from operating when the workload drops. Robotic product loaders and unloaders, and case packing machines avoid disruption because they can work 24-hour shifts.

    Robotic Precision To Avoid Material Wastage

    Manual work has the disadvantage of causing expensive and fragile products to be mishandled.

    Items that have fallen are bent, or broken make production more expensive and less efficient. The precision of robotic case packers can offset these inefficiencies, resulting in improved cost-effectiveness and productivity.

    If you invest in multi-axis robots to work on multiple products utilizing precise electronic line tracking, you can optimize case packing precision. You can use integrated vision to control product positioning and uniformity.

    Investing in end-of-line robotics, such as case packing systems, can considerably reduce overall waste output.

    For example, high-volume, adaptable production systems use top-load case packing solutions exist, and they are regarded as the “gold standard” in packaging automation. 

    Side-load case packers are one of the most user-friendly packaging automation technologies. 

    More specific packaging automation technologies, such as bottom-load and drop case packers, also called gravity casepackers. They are mainly used in the frozen frood industry as the product is less sensitive to breakage enabling a relatively cheaper entry into packaging automation. The bottom load and drop case packers provide the same benefits of automation when packaging bottled liquids such as beverages and dairy products.

    Because robotic case packers are particular, they can lower the amount of raw material consumed, cutting waste expenses.

    They'll also drastically reduce the number of substandard goods produced and generate higher-quality goods in very little time.

    To Summarize 

    Automated production and packaging lines improve overall equipment efficiency while allowing companies to put their staff to better use.

    By reducing waste, keeping worker welfare in mind, enhancing line efficiency, keeping costs low, and providing a great return on investment, these elements help to improve the production process.

    Hence, investing in end-of-line robotics can help businesses save time and money.

    If you're thinking about transitioning to automation, keep it simple by starting with basics like a robotic case packaging machine. For more on choosing the suitable robotics for your business, contact BluePrint Automation today.


  • Spider 100v Loading Solution
    Picks and places product on the fly into various containers...

  • The Spider 100v loading solution replaces a traditional collate and load system and eliminates racetrack collation and potential jam points.  Increasing line efficiency, this high-speed solution has an integrated vision system allowing robot(s) to pick random, un-oriented product eliminating the need to perfectly orient the product prior to entering the packer.

    The integrated vision system provides a built-in product inspection detecting double wraps, bad product size and more.  The Spider 100v handles trays, cartons, cases and other secondary containers and can include a u-board divider giving ultimate flexibility to the processor and copacker.

    During IBIE, the Spider 100v will be loading wrapped bars into trays; including a bulk feeding system to unscramble and feed product into loader.

  • Gantry 300 Swing
    Providing more versatility by running multiple products, containers and pack configurations on the same line....

  • The Gantry 300 Swing is a proven top and side load case packer.  Proven in the baking and snack industry, it picks and loads your product either standing up or laying down: providing horizontal and vertical pack patterns on the same machine.  With a simple changeover between recipes, its open and ergonomic design provides you with easy access to the machine and maximum process overview.  The Gantry 300 swing is a simple and versatile case packer great for picking and placing stand-up pouches, bags, cartons and other hard to handle packages.  It easily loads into RSC, trays, cartons, crates, shelf-ready and more.

  • Gravity 100r
    Simple gravity top load case packer reduces labor costs for ready to eat operations...

  • The Gravity 100r case packer top loads a variety of products directly into the secondary container. Now offered for high caustic washdown environments, the Gravity 100r is built with minimum static flat surfaces to drain all liquid. With high efficiency IP69K stainless steel permanent motors, the new sanitary Gravity 100r provides easy access for cleaning and inspection. With very few mechanical, electrical or pneumatic components, this simple solution is small and compact with the ability to load a variety of pack patterns at high speed.

  • Stacking and Loading
    Robotic stacking and loading solution reduces breakage and increases efficiency on lines with multiple products...

  • The Stacking and Loading solution uses a patented custom end-effector to form stacks of product and load these stacks into various horizontal form, fill and seal machines; including continuously moving flow wrapper chain in-feeds or indexing thermoform machines.  This solution replaces traditional mechanical stackers; reducing breakage and eliminating potential jam points.

    By utilizing our “stacking” end-effector, entire stacks of product can be formed and loaded into a continuously moving tray conveyor.  The integrated vision is used to provide position and orientation of the product to the robot; as well as inspection for size, shape and other parameters.

    Perfect for when there is multiple products running on the same line, this solution is ideal for fresh and frozen baked goods, formed patties and fragile product such as tortillas, pancakes and flatbreads.

  • Wrapper Loading
    Robotic wrapper loading solution provides high efficiency, versatility and throughput for bakery processors...

  • With our robotic wrapper loading solution, picking and placing naked (raw) product into various wrapper and thermoformer infeed conveyors; including continuously moving or indexing infeed chains is simple. 

    Choosing from a variety of customized pick tools, this system can easily load single products or stack and group products into most orientations required.  The vision guided system accepts high speed oriented or randomly oriented product while also providing product size, shape and color inspection. 

    With its flexibility, high efficiency and high throughput capabilities along with minimal maintenance requirements, this robotic wrapper loading solution is ideal for frozen pastries, baked goods, frozen protein products and many other consumer products.

  • Wrap Around 100
    The all in one wrap around case packer provides flexibility and versatility to the baking industry...

  • The Wrap Around 100 case packer automatically erects, loads and closes wrap around cases, trays, tray-lid combinations and RSC cases.  With its hygienic design, the Wrap Around 100 is built for food applications and has a fast and tool-free changeover making it ideal for packing multiple products on the same line.  Modular in design, the case packer allows you to choose from a variety of standard product handling systems and is great for cartons of baked goods.
  • Spider 100v Variety Pack
    Standard equipment creates simple bag in sack or case multipack solution...

  • BPA brings together standard & proven equipment to create a bag in bag multipack line, solving a major labor-intensive application for snack producers.  This unique multipack system is a combination of bulk feeding systems, delta-style robots with vision, simple Gantry 100 pick and place with smart-track collation and Jongerius bagger. The multipack solution reduces labor by as much as 90% and drastically increases the rate at which producers can fill sacks.  With unlimited flavor combinations, future recipes can easily be created by line operators!  
  • Collator 200 Pack Assist
    A low cost and efficient pack assist solution for your bag or pouch line....

  • The Colltaor 200 is a semi-automatic pack assist solution to vertically collate your finished bags and pouches, simplifying the case packing for the hand packer(s).  This simple and cost effective solution reduces labor and elimiates your rotary pack-off tables

  • Spider 300v
    Increase line performance with packer for bulk variety, display and single flavor packing...

  • A two-robot case loading system with vision allowing processors and co-packers to pack both vertical and horizontal on the same line at the same time. Built for quick changeover between recipes, the Spider 300v is capable of handling standard RSC cases, three-sided displays and a wide range of other secondary containers.
  • Snack Master 200
    Compact case packing solution for automatic forming, vertical loading and closing of cases or trays with snack bags...

  • The NEW SnackMaster 200 series is the ultimate packaging machine for your high-speed vertical snack packaging requirements. Compact in design, the case packer has a narrow footprint (1480 mm width) and fully automates snack bag handling and the vertical and/or horizontal loading process of RSC cases and trays. Significantly simplifying the changeover process, the SnackMaster 200 machines have no change parts and are fully auto adjust between recipes. The SnackMaster 200 machines can also run up to 20 cases/min, helping achieve line rates for small bag and case counts.  System can be equipped with a fully integrated RSC case erector and tape closer or fed from a remote case forming system.

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