L.A.C. Conveyors & Automation based in Nottingham were asked to investigate and deliver a solution for conveying cabbages through a grading system that was being done by hand for a customer centred in Scotland. After examining the existing processes and understanding the problems faced by the customer that include a short supply of labour, limited space and increasing costs. L.A.C. successfully developed an automated cabbage conveying system working in conjunction with Bizerba who are international standard setters in weighing; slicing and weigh-price-labelling technologies and Holloway Control Systems who are leading electrical control specialists.
The system comprised 50 loose plastic pucks that are recirculated on a stainless steel race track conveyor. An operator receives cabbages from a supply conveyor and places them on one of the pucks. The puck travels across a Bizerba check weigher where the weight defines a choice of one of two labels or unlabelled. As the puck exits the labeller it travels through a 180-degree bend and under a barcode scanner which identifies a lane selection of one, two or three. The cabbage is then tracked along an encoder until it reaches a pneumatic divert arm which pushes the cabbage onto the relevant receiving table. The empty puck then recirculates through another 180-degree bend to the start of the process.
As a result of automating the system the customer now enjoys a higher throughput of between 60 and 80 cabbages per minute with a reduction in labour required and all in a 3 meter by 9 meter footprint delivering time savings critical in the fresh food industry.