I recently went on a tour of the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick and came across this awesome industrial robot. It unloads and loads kegs between pallets and the filling line.
The robot arm sits between the incoming and outgoing pallets. It services both simultaneously without needing to store the spacers.
The empty kegs are unloaded from pallets onto the line (3 at a time) to be cleaned and refilled. At the same time full kegs are loaded onto pallets to go out. The spacers are transferred directly from the incoming pallet to the outgoing pallet. The robot arm does it all. Pretty ingenious.
The arm alternates between the two lines. This is the algorithm:
- Top spacer of in pallet to become base of new out pallet
- 6 empty kegs to the line in 2 passes (robot can hold 3 kegs)
- 6 full kegs (3 at a time) to the new empty pallet base
- Middle spacer from incoming to outgoing pallet
- 6 empty kegs to the line
- 6 full kegs to the top of the outgoing pallet
- Base of the in pallet becomes the top of the out pallet
- Shift pallets and repeat
The video shows the end of step 6 and all of step 7.