Artisan Cheese Manufacturer Turns to Wrabacon Ingenuity 
to Increase Production

Client Challenge:

An artisan regional cheese manufacturer faced a challenge. Their production line was completely manual and very slow. The problem was that the operators had to manually denest and place clam shell trays on a conveyor. Then they manually place finished cheese balls in the clam shell. Once this was completed, the operator would manually close the calm shell. They turned to Wrabacon to manufacture a packaging line that would transform their production line from a completely manual system to a semi-automatic packaging line.

The new system designed by Wrabacon consisted of a tray denester, a conveyor to transport trays to the operators, and an automatic lid closer. All equipment was built in stainless steel to meet the high demands and sanitation needs the food industry requires.

The Wrabacon Solution: 

  • Custom designed and manufactured a tray denester that denests plastic clamshells onto a moving conveyor at the rate of up to 30 per minute.
  • The system works with two tray sizes: 4” x 8.75” and 5.38” x 5.38” Each are denested with the long edge leading on the conveyor.
  • The trays are denested onto a conveyor where they will be manually filled by the operators.
  • After filling, they travel downstream to a lid closer that automatically folds and closes the lids prior to transferring to downstream equipment.

Denester Operation

Operators manually load the trays into an adjustable 45 degree twin hopper with the open side of the tray facing down. Pneumatic cups extend up to the trays, pull one from each stack, pivot down over the conveyor and then release the two trays. The trays travel on the conveyor with the wide edge leading. After placing the tray, the process repeats—picking and then placing the two trays onto the conveyor.

The denester utilizes a photo sensor to trigger the cycle. The sensor is mounted on the conveyor and when clear, the denester drops the trays onto the belt. The conveyor has variable speeds, so the denester rate is controlled by the speed of the conveyor. After denesting, the clamshells are manually filled with product.

Clamshell Closer Operation

After filling, the clamshells travel downstream to the closer with the lid open. A rail guide and partially closes the lid as it transfers to the conveyor. Once the lid is partially closed, a set of powered rollers snap the lid around the perimeter of the clamshell. Wrabacon designed the closer with power rollers since applying pressure to the top center of the lid might not seal the container properly.

The powered rollers are above the clamshell while a set of free spinning rollers are on the underside of the clamshell. By sitting over the two edges of the clamshell, the guides and rollers contact the edges of the container and ensure a proper closure. After closing, the clamshells transfer to downstream equipment for further processing. The closer is adjustable for the two tray sizes and can be easily adjusted via hand cranks and physical stops.

As part of this proposal, Wrabacon supplied (1) twin, adjustable hopper, tray denester with support frame, (2) 32” long denester hoppers that holds approx. 100 trays each, (1) main packing conveyor, (1) split belt clamshell closer and (1) control system.

Click on the picture to see the plans.

Our Solutions in Action

Wine Re-Seller Taps Wrabacon For Custom Tray Denester

A reputable online wine re-seller turned to Wrabacon Inc., to provide an automated denester to denest formed fiber tray protectors into a cardboard box shipping container. Prior to the automation, operators would denest the tray protector into the shipping container by hand. This was a slow and tedious operation and was the bottleneck in the bottle picking system.

Wrabacon was asked to design and manufacturer a conveyor system that would deliver shipping containers to an automatic denester. The system was designed to place a protective tray into the bottom of the cardboard shipper. Once placed, the shipping container was sent to the picking line for manual placement of bottles. Once the shipping container was full the container was transferred to second denester in which a top protective tray was placed.

This system included numerous conveyor lines and denesters. In all, production increased twofold along with eliminating several ergonomic issues.

Our Industrial Denesting Systems

If denesting is the game then Wrabacon, Inc. is the one to contact for your denesting needs.  Wrabacon designs and manufactures denesting equipment for all types of products. Should it be cups, buckets, trays, formed fiber products or any other special product, Wrabacon is the one to turn to.

How Do Denesting Systems Work?

Denesting equipment eliminates the manual repetitive motion associated with denesting products from stacks by manual operators. Efficiencies in production lines increase two to threefold when using automatic denesting equipment. Automatic denesting machinery eliminates waste associated with manual denesting along with miss placed product on the production line, and eliminates slowdowns on the filling line.

Wrabacon Inc., designs and manufactures denesting equipment in stainless steel to meet the demands of the food industries stringent requirements for sanitation and cleanliness. Many designs incorporate the following: easy operation, multiple product magazines,  in line conveyors to transfer product to the filling line, and castors for ease of movement from one line to another.

Denesting for Food, Drink, and Much More

Denesting systems designed and built by Wrabacon are used in far more than just the food and beverage industry. Whenever a product needs to be moved, positioned, or manipulated as part of a production line – denesting systems can help. See our customer list to see where else denesting systems can be used.

How Creative Automation Made a Difference: Denesting, Labeling & More for a Major American Adhesive Manufacturer

The Problem: Denest, label and lid 3 pail sizes while improving throughput and minimizing footprint.

When a major American manufacturer of sealants and adhesives decided to invest in new automation equipment, Wrabacon Inc. was asked to create a proposal for the company’s pail denesters, lid denesters, lid presses, and pail turners.

What is Denesting? For the uninitiated, a pail (or lid) denester automates the pulling-apart of buckets or pails so that they can then be automatically placed into a system where they are filled, labeled, and sealed shut. Prior to installing a custom solution by Wrabacon, the facility’s only automation took place when pails were actually filled, and it could only be done as fast as an employee could manually move each bucket to and from the filling area. Denesting the pails, lidding them, and labeling them was all done by hand – which posed problems for ergonomics, production rate, and efficiency. By introducing a more automated solution, our customer could finally realize the fast, predictable, and effective throughput that would allow them to grow.

What Was the Need?

 

A system that could quickly and efficiently automate a pail filling line, while accommodating 3 pail sizes with their own fill rates, label and lid sizes.  

 

 

It Counts to Be Creative

After reviewing several other vendors for this equipment, the client chose Wrabacon’s proposed solution, not because our machine was fancier, but because it was tailor-made to meet their specific goals: a small foot print, and a high ROI. This was done by carefully considering their space and application.

To meet our client’s need, our creative automation experts went to work to carefully study the application, the environment, and the product at hand.

At Wrabacon, this stage in the process is critical. Not only does it give our engineers the opportunity to fully understand our client’s facility and process – but it enables our team to create a truly custom automation solution that accounts for the many possible variables at play with each application or environment.

The Solution: Wrabacon’s Denester

Reliable Throughput, Minimal Footprint

For our customer, the goal was to handle 3 separate container sizes, while ensuring both a small footprint and a high degree of reliability. Does that mean 1 complex system for all 3 sizes to save space? Or a hybrid solution that’s  slightly larger, but less intricate and more reliable? It’s questions like these that our team tackles for every custom system. 

Every creative automation project is a balancing act. Too much adjustability and size differential can cause problems with throughput and reliability. Too little, and the space required for each system component can become unwieldy.

 

Our team worked to strike the ideal balance. By carefully considering the customer’s facility and process, we made the determination that a single machine for all 3 pail sizes just wouldn’t meet their needs without sacrificing performance, reliability, and ROI.

Instead, our system uses one denester for bailed buckets in the two largest sizes, with a separate denester for non-bailed ½ gallon buckets. After the pails are denested, they then progress to a labeling area, a filling area (pre-existing), and a lidding area. Finally, each pail exits the system after being guided down an incline conveyor and manually removed.

Throughout the process, our design remains focused on carefully guiding each pail to its destination quickly and efficiently – with numerous stops and guides to ensure reliability and control.

Labeling

Orient, Adjust, and Label Pails in 3 Different Sizes

After pails are de-nested on their respective machines, they enter the labeling area where a pneumatic gate stops each pail before a set of side-belts rotate the pail to a preset position for labeling. After labels are placed, the system will release the pail from its position and lower a pair of stop gates to let the pail continue downstream to be transferred onto the client’s filling conveyor.

Lid Denesting and Rolling

Two Systems, Multiple Sizes, Greater Efficiency 

For this system, the two larger containers share a lid denester and placer while the smaller pails utilize their own lid denester and placer.  With hoppers that can be loaded at any time, the operation of this system halts each pail with a stopping gate so that lids can be released from above and dropped loosely onto the container. Next, they move downstream where each lid is rolled onto the container with a series of tapered rollers. The size difference between pails dictates the only change in functionality between large lid denesters and small lid denesters – which allows the smaller denester to handle two containers at once, with a dual vertical hopper.

The Result

Space Saving Reliability at a Competitive Price

Ultimately, our entire system was designed to be a simple and efficient automation solution to separate buckets and lids, while also handling alignment for labeling and lidding. In the beginning, all denesting, labeling, and lidding was done by hand. Today, the company experiences much greater productivity and efficiency – allowing them to accurately forecast throughput and productivity while more efficiently (and competitively) providing product to customers around the world.