The Syntegon Independent Direct Handling system is based on a newly developed picker technology using linear motors. The flexible pick-and-place machine not only ensures particularly gentle product handling, but also offers a compact design along with high output and the option of loading different products both flat and on-edge – making it a highly efficient and flexible addition to Syntegon’s pick-and-place portfolio.
The linear motor bar forms the heart of the new machine, as Philipp Kathan, Lead Engineer IDH at Syntegon, explains: “Thanks to the slow and smooth movements of the linear motor movers, the cookies and crackers are handled with minimal mechanical stress and vacuum application – preventing breakage or damage to the product surface and ensuring optimal production efficiency.” The IDH picks the cookies directly from the process belt to keep the transport distances between the oven and the packaged product as short as possible, thereby reducing abrasion. Not only does this result in less product waste: cleaning efforts are also minimized because less product residue accumulates in the system.
An integrated camera-based vision system detects the position and shape of the cookies and crackers on the infeed belt and transmits this information to the picker control system. It identifies different product patterns or random arrangements and processes them reliably. Each picker can be aligned individually to ensure all products are placed into trays or the infeed chain correctly. Moreover, an integrated mini buffer automatically fills incomplete product rows, thus increasing system efficiency.
“With the IDH, we are launching a compact and flexible solution that offers manufacturers a variety of options for packaging different product shapes and sizes. Cookies and crackers are picked directly from the process belt and placed into trays or the infeed of the downstream flow wrapping machine either on-edge or flat. This allowed us to omit long belts with chicanes and make the system design even more flexible,” explains Daniel Bossel, Product Manager at Syntegon.
The Syntegon IDH makes the packaging process less complex: Its space-saving design not only minimizes conveying distances, but also allows for new system layouts traditionally used in bar production. Despite its compact dimensions, the IDH achieves a maximum output rate of up to 800 products per minute – combined with its low reject rate and short downtimes, this ensures high overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).