Automated Prism Tray Packing Machine

Development of an Automated Prism Tray Packing Machine for the Medical Packaging Industry


A customer in the medical packaging industry commissioned our services to design and build an automated prism tray packing machine. This customer needed three robotic cells to reduce labor and to handle these delicate medical trays. We were employed to design, build, and install these three systems on a very tight delivery schedule. The process required receiving trays as they are fed from the injection molding process, which then needed to be collated into rows of eight and placed with layers of protective foam into a tote for transport. The tote required maintenance of control of the poly bag while each row of trays was inserted in them.


To meet this challenge, Big Sky Engineering developed a specialized conveyor to feed and transfer the eight trays to a pick position for the robotic EOAT. We designed a unique foam roll unit to reliably feed and cut the foam sheet, then presenting it to the EOAT. When needed, our system provided an automatic change-over feature to allow the machine to switch from a depleted foam roll to a new one. A 6-axis Fanuc LR Mate 200iC was equipped with a very specialized vacuum pick head that gripped the foam sheet independently from the row of trays. We then developed a closed loop conveyor system to feed and present the totes to the robotic insertion position. This tote conveyor also presented the tote in a favored position that assured the poly bag insert was clear for robotic loading. This complex system was engineered in just 10 weeks.