Being a demanding user of industrial automation equipment, Mondelēz International (formerly known as Kraft Foods) called on intrion to integrate a specific robot into one of their chocolate production lines at their Strasbourg site.
Mondelēz Strasbourg Production wanted to automate a repetitive operation that involved manually placing a spoon into their famous purple egg carton. The key requirement was to integrate the robot into the existing production line without major changes. For example, placing the spoon in a different spot was not an option. Also, the solution had to be easy-to-use for the operators.
Gripping a complex object
Another challenge was the robot’s ability to grip a delicately-shaped small spoon which intrion had to prove by making prototype grippers and conducting production tests before the machine was built. The final solution comprises a cell with two ABB Flexpickers which are fed with pre-oriented spoons by a pair of bowl feeders. The Flexpickers pick up the spoons one at a time and insert them into the slot in the egg carton.
Mondelēz’s assessment of the project is very positive. “The implementation and production of the equipment went very smoothly. The relation between the intrion onsite staff and our team at the plant has been excellent. Our constraints have been very well understood and taken into account. Preparation and testing of the equipment before delivery have enabled all of us to work calmly and effectively when the equipment was being installed on site,” explains Thierry Dommanget, Project & Technical Services Manager.
A triple benefit
As a leading international company which is active in a sector as dynamic as the food sector, Mondelēz Strasbourg Production insists that all the projects it implements should be in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This means that the project had to provide the following three benefits:
1. Social: the machine improves the working conditions of the operators by automating a repetitive task.
2. Economic: automation leads to a general increase in produc- tivity, i.e. there’s an economic payback.
3. Environmental: the completed solution reduces the volume of waste.
Thierry Dommanget knows intrion well. The plant in Strasbourg has already used us in the past to automate a production line for moulded chocolate products. That was a similar challenge as it also involved installing a robot capable of handling delicate products precisely into an existing production line.
“To us, intrion has the advantage of perfectly under- standing both the robotic tool and the process of inte- grating it into existing equipment. Moreover, they’re very competitive as far as budget and deadlines are concerned. We are very pleased to have once more put our trust into intrion.”
Thierry Dommanget, Project & Technical Services Manager