Founded in 1921, Wolfgang Candy of York, Pennsylvania is one of the oldest family-owned confectionery manufacturers in the United States. Until recently, the picking, placing, inspecting and packaging phases of its operation were done manually. This limited their efficiency and growth so they turned to leading automation integrator JLS Automation for a solution.
“We needed a system that could meet or exceed handling 200 pieces of candy per minute,” says Rob Wolfgang, Managing Partner. “JLS has given us both flexibility and speed. We can pick-and-place nearly anything, which lets us deliver customized product solutions for existing and future customers.”
Robots handle the candy with care
The system is designed to meet FDA requirements for food contact. Two IRB 340 FlexPicker robots from ABB Robotics are top-mounted delta robots. They come with vacuum tooling capable of gently picking and placing delicate cookies precisely and reliably, one cookie at a time, into thermoform trays.
The Flexpicker robots have a vision system and work with ABB PickMaster software, which helps the robots to accurately select perfect objects, ignoring misplaced or defective items on the belt. The robot and vacuum tooling are precisely coordinated so that the caramel-filled cookie can be picked up without losing its caramel filling due to excess pressure.
The robot placement repeatability during the conveyor tracking is within 1mm, allowing the cookies to be placed into a very tight tray compartment. The trays are placed on a flow wrapper infeed, after which the trays are wrapped and discharged.
With the automated system in place, Wolfgang Candy has increased production, improved quality and safety, reduced contamination issues and reduced labor costs. The company estimates that with the new automated system has increased packaging speed by approximately 12 and a half percent. “We’ll be able to compete more effectively with our Wolfgang-branded products,” says Wolfgang.
JLS at a glance
ABB Authorised Partner, JLS Automation, was founded in 1955 by Joseph L. Souser. They provide advanced motion control technology in industrial applications requiring precision and reliability.
About Wolfgang Candy
Founded in 1921, Wolfgang Candy is one of the oldest family-owned and managed candy companies in the United States. Four generations of Wolfgangs have added their expertise to manufacturing millions of pounds of seasonal candies for schools, clubs, churches, associations and other groups.
ABB (abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 175,000 people.
About ABB Robotics
ABB Robotics (abb.com/robotics) is a leading supplier of industrial robots – also providing robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. A strong customer focus helps manufacturers improve productivity, product quality and worker safety. ABB has installed more than 175,000 robots worldwide.