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project APPLE LINE

Development of an innovative line for the packaging of apples into boxes, from the definition of the layout to the development of the whole line control system.

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Requirements and design specifications

  • Line capable of checking dimension and quality of the fruit, in order to reject overripe produce.
  • Line capable of filling in a tray aesthetically attractive, with all stems in the same direction and the best side of the fruit on show.
  • Line capable of dealing with all the varieties of apples and trays present inside the firm.
  • Line allowing a considerable decrease in the number of people per packaging line.

Performed activities

  • Definition of Line Concept and Layout:
    – Industrial research and Analysis of Key Enabling Technological Solutions
    – Pre-competitive development
    – Technology transfer
    – Development of pre-prototype and Test
    – Line Concept
  • Development of the entire line control system (Hot Plug functionality).
  • Development of the fruit manipulation system.
  • Development of the tray vision system.
  • Support for detailed design, assembly and setting-up of the line.
  • Integration of a series of functionalities after installation.

Goals achieved

  • Development of a system that allows to coordinate more than 60 peripherals, their parameterisation, configuration and control.
  • Device management in Hot Plug mode. In case of failure or malfunction, production never stops: the line auto fits to the new configuration, if necessary it reduces its productivity, without stopping.
  • Development of tailored manipulators allowing to obtain a pick-and-place optimised solution in terms of performance, size, and cost.
  • Development of a tray vision system permitting to define in real time the position of each tray along the line, its filling status and the driving of the filling process manipulators.
  • Development of a simple management control software allowing to easily configure production, with a possibility of Internet access for monitoring and remote support in case of malfunction.
  • Constant production monitoring (type of production, number of packed trays, number of processed apples, status of the various devices).

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