Kormotech, the fast-growing Ukraine-based company producing wet pet food, desired an automated solution for the loading, drying and unloading of their premium brands in pouch. Lan Handling Technologies designed an automated pouch handling system for the new factory in Lithuania.
In the new, state-of-the-art factory, Lan Handling installed 3 robot loaders that efficiently form product layers as soon as the pouches come out of the filling machine in 4 lanes and are approved by an integrated check weigher. A robot then picks up a full layer of flattened pouches from the formation belt and places them in a retort tray. To achieve the best possible heat process in the retorts, the trays had to be rotated alternately 180° during stacking. Once there is a complete stack, an operator transports the stack to the retort with a trolley.
Special demand: in-line drying
The challenge was to have a reliable system, suitable for a total capacity of 480 pouches per minute, where the allowable water residue had to be extremely low. Only then, the pouches could be packed directly in cardboard boxes without intermediate storage, which saves time and space.
To do so, Lan integrated an in-line dryer in the unloader area. After the trolleys with sterilised product are placed in the docking position, a robot picks-up a complete layer of pouches and moves them through the in-line dryer. This method of in-line drying has the smallest possible footprint in the market and at the same time limited product contact is achieved, compared to more conventional systems with complex conveyor systems.
Installation during Covid-19
Due to Covid-19 and the travel restrictions, the installation and commissioning took place largely remotely. Igor Paranyak, Chief Operating Officer at Kormotech: “Due to the Covid-19 situation, Lan Handling had to support the installation process largely remotely. The project was challenging but successful. A good example of harmonious cooperation between companies when they face unexpected challenges.”