Key Technology has introduced its new vibratory conveying systems designed to feed pick-and-place robots on packaging lines.

Each integrated conveyor system is designed to meter, separate, and singulate and/or align product, depending on the application, to provide product separation, speed, and orientation that is ideal for the robotic system to pick up. By minimizing hand packing, the new systems help increase production efficiency, reduce labor, and improve sanitation.

Although automation becomes the most sensible solution for many food producers as their operation grows, the challenge of lining up products for presentation to pick-and-place robots remains. Therefore, Key works closely with each processor to design the optimal solution for their specific application, achieving the required degree of precision that is atypical in conventional conveying systems.

Key designs, builds, and tests every integrated conveying system to identify the ideal speed, stroke, lane widths, and step sizes for consistent presentation of the processor’s products to the robot’s end-of-arm tooling. Suitable for primary or secondary packaging, Key automated systems can handle frozen foods like potato products, meat, poultry and seafood, as well as dry products such as cookies, pet treats, confectionaries, and snacks.

The integrated conveying system often begins with an optional shaker or belt conveyor to meter product, if needed. Then, a separating shaker evenly spreads product, followed by a singulating shaker that directs product into single-file lanes. The next shaker aligns the product in the correct direction, if required, and achieves the optimal speed to feed one or more pick-and-place robots, which are installed on one or both sides of the conveyor. Products that are not picked up by the robots can either be collected in a hopper or recirculated to the beginning of the system.

Key’s robust vibratory conveyors are designed for superior sanitation with stainless-steel bed surfaces, open designs, and oil-free drives. When a processor automates primary packaging, sanitation is further enhanced by eliminating the manual handling of unpackaged products in the packing process while reducing the chance of accidental foreign material contamination by a worker.

Key manufactures conveyors and other equipment in both the U.S. and Europe, supports customers worldwide through its sales and SupportPro service network, and offers integration services from pre-engineering to line startup. Key’s conveyor beds and structural components are backed by a five-year warranty.

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