Flexible buffer between carton depalletizer and carton erector


Swiss company Ferag AG is continually developing its Skyfall technology. One variant of the innovative overhead conveyor system comes equipped with special grippers for automatically feeding folded cartons to a carton erector. In the packaging process, the system bridges the span between the carton depalletizer and carton erector and acts as a flexible buffer between the two stations. The Ferag system proves to be very energy-efficient as well, since the Skyfall shuttles cover the route from one process to the next using gravitational force alone. The company from the Zürcher Oberland has already implemented its first pilot project for a large international brewery, where 250 shuttles are used to unload palletized cartons in absolute synchronism with feeding them into the carton erector. Moreover, the Swiss are seeing enquiries relating to other industrial applications that use integrated cartoning machines.

For packaging beverages, agricultural products and processed foods, automatic carton erectors play a major role and generally form a key element within a highly efficient packaging line. As its name suggests, this machine gives three-dimensional form to packaging cartons that have been folded flat to save space, or else shapes them from flat carton blanks. The resulting box can then be manually or automatically filled.

Highly automated environments are just the setting for a Skyfall system. Take the one that Ferag implemented as a pilot project for an international brewery group: here once more, the focus is on greater process security and fail-safety as well as across-the-board performance enhancement through automation. The innovative Swiss-made conveyor technology from Hinwil transports and buffers folded cartons with dimensions varying from 350 × 500 to 600 × 750 millimetres. The 250 shuttles in operation have as their load carriers a special gripper, capable of conveying one folded carton. The system feeds the carton erector 80 folded cartons per minute, with a buffering capacity that can be flexibly varied within a time window of up to three minutes.

Such applications also bring into play another advantage of Skyfall technology: Ferag customers save space at floor level that can be used for other purposes. Moreover, the Swiss system is very economical with energy, thanks to a design principle that allows certain stretches of conveyor to operate by gravity alone. This gives a boost to sustainability as well as environmental protection in production and packaging processes – another one of the reasons why further requests for comparable applications have recently been received in the Zürcher Oberland. The brewery plant demonstrates Ferag’s strength in every respect: complete integration of the Skyfall infeed station with the depalletizer together with the fully-synchronous interface to the carton erector has created a contiguous system that enables fully automatic flow of material between the two processes, all within the smallest of spaces.


Optimum coupling between two processes: Skyfall technology provides the ideal fully automatic interface between a carton depalletizer and a carton erector.