Packaging Story

Industry giant ABB Seeks Operational Efficiencies In Small & Large Scale MFG Lines Using Automatic Poly Bagger

The Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation ABB is headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, and manufactures a wide variety of specialized products. Focusing on advanced robotics, electrification gear, heavy electrical equipment, and industrial automation technology, it is ranked by Fortune magazine among The World’s Most Admired Companies. With operations in around 100 countries, and approximately 134,800 employees, ABB has been listed on the Fortune 500 roster of leading global companies for 23 years. It is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the world. ABB is big.

Extreme efficiency required
ABB is a global innovation leader and automation is in their DNA.  While known for their robotics and large-scale power transmission equipment, the company manufactures many smaller, but no less important, industrial products. A case in point is the ubiquitous plastic electrical junction box – which the company manufactures and sells by the millions. ABB electrical junction boxes are offered in a wide number of configurations – each is designed to save time in installation and to make installation process on the jobsite easier. The junction boxes are essentially a commodity product and thus demand extreme efficiency to protect margins. 

Key part of an automated line The company was searching for a machine that could bag and seal a predetermined number of junction boxes in a pre-printed polyethylene bag. The machine would need to be integrated into an assembly line populated by robotic devices picking and assembling the product. The poly bagger would have to be at least as efficient as the rest of the highly automated line.

ABB saw the Rollbag R3200 automatic poly bagger as a possible solution. In addition to pre-made bags on a roll, this highly versatile automatic poly bagger had the ability to utilize poly tubing to make bags to the desired length. With poly tubing ABB was ability to realize additional packaging flexibility as well as a reduction in overall material cost. The Rollbag R3200 could also fit nicely into their compact production line.

As customary, a visit to the production plant enabled everyone on the integration team to survey the physical space, discuss the desired results, uncover potential difficulties and work as a team toward a practical solution. With all the variables considered, a Rollbag R3200 was chosen and configured with the easy load bag opener, bag stretcher, articulating bag support, bag open sensor, photocell sensor to index pre-printed bags, end-of-roll sensor, and a handshake feature tied into the central safety circuit. Furthermore, ABB appreciated the fact that the Rollbag R3200 uses a B&R brand PLC and HMI, as B&R is a business unit of ABB.

A conveyor transports packaged plastic products to storage bins. One operator, who runs the entire production line, monitors the package process as well. The Rollbag R3200 was configured to order, reflecting the versatility and customization potential of this unique automatic bagger.

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