Custom Stacking System to Keep Up with Demand

The Challenge:

A food manufacturing company approached Wrabacon looking to create a new product line of sealed cans, which could be loaded and packaged into trays. They were seeking out a system that could stack these trays at a speed that could keep up with demand.

While keeping up with rate was a necessity, precision was just as important — because any damage sustained to the product, from a stack falling over, would almost certainly leave it unsuitable for distribution. The system needed to produce a sturdy stack every time. With this in mind, Wrabacon got started.

The Solution:

Wrabacon custom-designed a bundle stacking system that is used to stack trays that have an array of sealed cans. The tray rate is 28 per minute. The stacker can stack either two high, or be used as a pass-through device, without any stacking. The pass-through tray is up to 18” wide.

The trays transfer to the stacker with the wide edge leading. It transfers onto twin belts and travels to the stacking station, where it is stopped using a pneumatic cylinder. When in position, the bundle is lifted vertically past a set of pneumatic ledges. The ledges extend, the lift cylinder retracts, and the tray now sits on the two ledges. When the next bundle arrives, it is stopped — and at this point, the upper bundle is released, placing it on top of the awaiting bundle, completing the two high stack. The newly formed stack is then released downstream for further production.


Mezzanine and Conveyor Project

The Challenge

A research and development company approached Wrabacon looking to start a new product line. The process would involve a stack of trays being presented to the system, upon which these trays would need to be denested to be individually filled with product. Following this, the filled trays would need to be restacked to the same height. With each filled tray averaging about 45 pounds, and the stacks consisting of 24 trays apiece, it was extremely clear that an automated system was the only solution that would be efficient and ergonomically safe. 

The Solution

Wrabacon custom designed and manufactured a tray stacker/denesting system that handles trays of product. The trays sit on modified pallets, and the system denests and stacks trays at a rate of 6 per minute.  
Here’s how it works: There is one cell for each of the denest and stack stations. Operators manually load full pallets, filled with product, onto a pallet conveyor. The first pallet moves into position and the system starts by raising the entire stack of trays off the pallet, and up to the cross-conveyor height. Cylinders extend — to lift the top tray out of the stack — and a cross cylinder pushes the tray, from the stack onto the cross-conveyor. After the tray has been denested, the lifting mechanism indexes up — one pitch. The second tray is then denested, and pushed onto the cross conveyor. Meanwhile, the first tray moves down the conveyor, and the cured product is taken out. The empty tray then travels downstream, where it is stopped and filled with new product. The empty pallet on the denesting cell is indexed away from the lifting mechanism, and then transported to the stacking cell via a conveyor. A new full pallet enters, ready for denesting.  
The stacking end reverses the infeed process. The empty pallet from the denesting side is indexed into position, and the stacker starts. Each tray is pushed into the system from a conveyor, and the machine indexes down to be ready for the next tray. This will continue until 24 trays have been stacked onto the pallet. The full pallet is then indexed out of the stacking position, and a new empty pallet is then indexed into position. The process then repeats, ensuring maximum success and efficiency. 


Wrabacon Helps Its Client Overcome Its Labor Shortage Challenge with an Innovative Idea

The Challenge

The numerous health benefits of fresh fruit are no secret. Low in calories and high in essential vitamins and minerals, fruits are a no-brainer as a snack or an additive to your favorite meals. The challenge, however, becomes keeping up with the high demand for these nutritious treats. To transport product in such bulk quantities, companies often turn to specially designed trays or boxes to help carry the load.

A company approached Wrabacon with an issue. Due to a labor shortage, the company was not able to hand stack and case pack their trays fast enough to meet demand. Wrabacon was up to the challenge, with an efficient, reliable solution.

The Wrabacon Solution

To fix this, Wrabacon custom designed and manufactured a 5-lane tray stacker to be used to receive trays from an existing dryer. The trays are 16.5” long x 12.5” wide and are produced at the rate of 25 per minute.

The trays exit an existing cold belt and transfer onto an accumulation belt and then onto the stacker infeed belt. The trays enter the accumulation conveyor which pulls a gap between trays. They then transfer to the stacker infeed belt which delivers the trays to each individual stacking module. Each stacker works independently from one another and stacks product on demand.

As the stacker continues to stack product, a top cylinder is continuously holding the stack in position. When the desired amount of product has been stacked, the plate/lift cylinder stays in the up position while air is applied to the top cylinder, pressing the stack. After pressing, the stack is pushed out of the stacker onto a conveyor. Once all 5 lanes have produced a stack of the desired quantity, the conveyor moves the product to a table for manual removal.

How Can Wrabacon Help You?

Wrabacon prides itself on developing innovative solutions to your challenges. Contact us today and let’s talk about your situation.

Watch the Video of Our Solution at Work







Wrabacon, Inc
P 207.465.2068
F 207.465.2134
[email protected]
150 Old Waterville Road
Oakland, Maine 04963

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