YASKAWA MOTOMAN palletizing robots in action at Röschmann Landhandel GmbH

26. January 2020

Traditional animal feed specialist Röschmann Landhandel GmbH relies on two YASKAWA MOTOMAN robots for automated palletizing.

The MOTOMAN MPL160 grips the pallet

A sheet of paper is picked up with four suction cups and placed on the pallet.

The robot picks up the sacks of animal feed and positions them accurately on the pallet.

The robot distributes the sacks individually according to calculations.

The history of the family enterprise Röschmann Landhandel GmbH goes back a long time. A mill was established at the Hadenfeld site as early as 1470. It has been owned by the Röschmanns since 1906, and today is operating in the fourth generation.

Two pillars have proved to be the company’s mainstay over the past decades: ‘Der Grüne Markt’ retail business for house and garden, and the production of animal feed, in particular horse feed. In addition to product quality, the focus has always been on the individual needs of its customers – refining or newly developing formulae, with a view to current scientific findings and new legal requirements.

The family-owned traditional enterprise not only reacts flexibly to its customers’ needs.  Röschmann Landhandel moves with the times and adapts to current requirements – also with regard to topics such as automation and digitization. The introduction of two YASKAWA MOTOMAN robots is a perfect example of this.

Kristin Röschmann, manageress and proprietress of Röschmann Landhandel GmbH, comments on the company’s commitment to YASKAWA: “As a small, traditional operation we have a constructive rather than sceptical attitude to these trends. It is important to recognize and exploit the benefits offered by these developments for one’s own company and its employees. The use of robots in our palletizing system is a forward-looking step for us, our customers and in particular the employees concerned.”

Two MOTOMAN robots take on palletizing tasks

Already in 2017 Röschmann Landhandel decided to purchase a palletizing robot in cooperation with Steenbock Waagen- und Maschinenfabrik GmbH. In early 2018 Steenbock installed the first Motoman MPL160 at the Hadenfeld production plant.

Tradition and innovation go hand in hand: that also applies to the Steenbock Waagen- und Maschinenfabrik. Founded in Horst, Schleswig-Holstein, in 1907, the company has consistently expanded its competencies in the field of weighing technology. With in-house experts for electrical engineering and computer science, today it ranks among Germany’s most established full-service providers of weighing systems and machines.

The installation of the first robot in January 2018 functioned without a hitch. The MPL160 was simply integrated by Steenbock into a modernized palletizing system. “It was the first of four YASKAWA robots that we have meanwhile installed for our customers. Two of our employees went for a week’s training at YASKAWA. Special mention must be made of this and the ongoing support by YASKAWA. We can precisely adapt the robot programming to customer requirements, and once again provide our customers with optimally individualized systems,” says Dirk Steenbock, manager of Steenbock Waagen- und Maschinenfabrik.

Automated palletizing process

In the first step the robot uses four grippers to secure a pallet and place it in the required position. A sheet of paper is then picked up by four suction cups and precisely positioned on the pallet to protect the sacks. On the other side of the plant there is a sacking unit for filling animal feed into sacks with weights ranging from 10 to 40 kilos. After the sacks are sewn up by hand they are transported by vibrating conveyor, whose rectangular rollers ensure that the sacks are levelled off. The robot takes hold of each sack and places it on the pallet provided.

Depending on the sack size or weight setting, the pallets are optimally aligned for filling: 39 sacks weighing 10 kilos (or 18 sacks at 40 kilos) are loaded onto each pallet. The robot is programmed for flexible settings by the employees, according to how the pallets are to be packed: depending on sack size and quantity the optimum packing structure is predetermined by the operator and automatically executed by the robot. The palletizing robot can also be programmed to insert sheets of paper between the layers of sacks to secure the load. Besides the physical work that the robot assumes, flexible settings, ease of operation and robust construction are greatly valued by those involved.

On the basis of this consistently positive experience, the second MPL160 was introduced at Röschmann Landhandel in November 2019 to facilitate the palletization of animal feed. Due to other requirements, the robot does not need to position the pallet, but only place the sacks.

Positive practical experience

The two robots significantly facilitate work in production for the employees, as they assume all hard tasks – lifting and carrying the sacks weighing up to 40 kilos. The two automated MPL ‘workers’ are also a major advantage in recruiting at family-run Röschmann Landhandel: “The two robots do not replace employees in production; they are a convenient and innovative method of supporting the daily routines of our team. We are confident that we and our customers will recover our investments in the long term,” acknowledges Kristin Röschmann.

The example of Röschmann Landhandel demonstrates the expedient and efficient use of YASKAWA robots in the classical manufacturing sector.