As the sole processor of the UK’s beet sugar crop, British Sugar works in partnership with over 3,000 growers and its customers to deliver a world-class product that is made to the highest standards every day.
British Sugar is the leading producer of sugar for the British and Irish food and beverage markets, processing around eight million tonnes of sugar beet and producing up to 1.4 million tonnes of sugar each year and including bagged sugar under the Silver Spoon brand.
Their innovative approach to manufacturing also enables them to create a range of co-products from power generation and bioethanol, to animal feed and much more.
In 2019 RMGroup was approached with the requirement to palletise boxes of icing sugar in various formats due to different box sizes. As the UK’s largest ABB VP (Value Provider) and the ongoing relationship of other projects of automaton RMGroup were the obvious choice.
The Robotic box handling system consisted of an ABB IRB 660 which was chosen for its state-of-the-art 4-axis design, this is a high-speed accurate robot that combines a 3.15 meter reach with a 250 kg payload, making it ideal for palletizing bags, boxes, crates, bottles and more. As a valued customer with a working partnership since 1995 RMGroup was confident the correct application could be installed in the project time scale given.
The RMGroup palletising system was integrated with their existing pallet conveying and pick up conveyer to utilise their equipment, this helped with the project budget to stay within the necessary budget requirements.
The URS (User Requirement Specification) was followed precisely and the desired packaging throughput was achieved at 22 pallets an hour over 8 hours for the 388 x 253 x 191mm 10kg boxes and 17 pallets an hour over 8 hours for the 300 x 188 x 165mm and 308 x 195 x 158mm 5kg boxes.
The system was installed in an extremely limited footprint but was achieved with careful design. The bespoke end of arm tooling was able to be multifunctional and handle boxes, pallets and slip sheets
The robot is equipped with Safe Move 2 which protects operators and enhances robot safety, this is a safety solution and provides greater flexibility with space savings and cutting-edge commissioning tools for higher productivity at a lower total cost of investment. All this, combined with unsurpassed safety, enables closer collaboration between robots and factory workers while reducing total investment by up to 30%.
Nicole Hamilton at British Sugar gave this statement:
“I would recommend RM Group in the future. The solution that was provided was of a high manufacturing standard.
Everyone from the design, installation and commissioning teams had high safety and work area standards. They also worked very well with our engineers and production teams.”
The video below was taken during a factory acceptance test which is carried out prior to all installations.