Robots excel at packaging

Aug. 17, 2022
MG Tech opens North American facility

MG Tech specializes in industrial robots for end-of-line packaging solutions, as well as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), especially for food production, pharma-cosmetic and industrial sectors.

In June, MG Tech launched North American offices in Montreal, with an existing range of packaging equipment for both solid and corrugated board.

As a creator, designer and manufacturer of end-of-line packaging machines, MG Tech, which was founded in 2004, has sold almost 5,000 machines worldwide, and has an annual revenue of more than $3 million.

Also read: 5 aspects of bottle-capping machinery

With products ranging from cartoning and packaging machines to pallet loaders and conveyors, MG Tech manufactures both stand-alone machines and full-service automized packaging lines. Machines are connected to an online platform that collects real-time data on machine performance, allowing companies to schedule preventive maintenance or organize an internal training session.

MG Tech machines incorporate technologies from suppliers such as Yaskawa, Schneider Electric and Rockwell Automation. “We have been working with MG Tech for several years in France,” explains Gerald Auverdin, OEM sales manager at Rockwell Automation. “Over that time, MG has demonstrated solid technical skills with our Rockwell Automation products, including our magnetic conveying solution. We are happy to continue our partnership with them via the new Canadian office.”

Charles Girault

business manager, MG Tech

MG Tech works with a range of automations systems to better respond to clients’ needs.

“We understood early on in our development that a fluid and connected end-of-production line was essential for our client base, and we have continued to work toward maintaining and improving this approach” says Xavier Lucas, COO of MG Tech.

This strategy has already appealed to North American clients, as MG Tech has helped several companies to find the best fit for their packaging needs. MG Tech already equips a dozen clients in North America, including Savencia, Nemera Group and Lanthier Bakery, with whom they work closely in Quebec.

The North American team will be in Booth N4975 at Pack Expo in Chicago October 24-26 to demonstrate the cobot palletizer, equipped with a Yaskawa robot and Rockwell Motologics technology, allowing it to be programmed and controlled with a machine remote.
Charles Girault, business manager at MG Tech, shares his thoughts on state-of-the-art packaging applications.

Tell us about your company’s state-of-the-art packaging-machinery technology.

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: MG Tech is designer and manufacturer of carton end-of-line equipment dedicated to the food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and industrial markets.

For 18 years, it has proven to be a specialist of secondary and tertiary packaging, taking in charge products from primary packing outfeed to palletizer exit.

One of its best sellers is its Wrap-Around Case Packer, existing either in sequential or continuous motion. MG Tech’s packer DNA is different than its competitors. We take your products as they come, and, as far as possible, we pick them individually using robots and load them directly into the cartons without collation phase. This principle makes its case packers very easy—no tools—and fast-to-change formats. It also respects your product integrity limiting contacts.

What have been the biggest improvements to packaging machinery in the past five years?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: The biggest improvement to MG Tech’s packaging machinery in the past five years is, for sure, the use of robotics in all its machine range to realize loading phases at least, and sometimes also carton forming and closing. To achieve this, MG Tech has developed its own robots—poly-articulated and three-, four- and five-axis Delta robots—and has developed strong partnerships with robot and cobot suppliers, such as Yaskawa and Fanuc (Figure 1). Most of the robotic solutions are connected to vision solutions.

What’s the most innovative or efficient packaging-machinery application you’ve ever seen or been involved with?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: One of the most impressive and efficient machines MG Tech has produced is a monobloc cartoning line, whose main functions are box forming from flat carton blanks—solid board—up to 100 cartons/minute, receive biscuits into flowpacks in one or two lanes up to 400 flowpacks/minute, pick flowpacks and group them into cartons continuously using nine Delta robots working with a vision-driven double tracking on product and carton, and carton closing when it has been loaded with two additional Delta robots. Mechanical efficiency of this monobloc machine achieving four main functions—forming, picking, loading and closing—is more than 98.5%.

How has packaging machinery benefitted from remote monitoring and connectivity?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: MG Tech machines are all delivered with its new In Use platform. This platform enables customers to have access to its machinery updated documentation and a chat area with the service department, but, more than this, it offers an optional monitoring of equipment, checking production and efficiency data, introducing predictive maintenance.

Machines are equipped with a telemaintenance system, which can completed with cameras ideally placed in the machine to record events when they happen.

Can you explain how software development has changed packaging machinery’s design and production?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: MG Tech software engineers have strongly developed the ability to interface a large number of robots working on a double tracking principle—tracking on picking and tracking on placing. This has clearly reduced tooling and mechanical components in packaging machines’ kinematics.

When will packaging machinery become IT-friendly enough that engineers are no longer required for installation and operation?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: This is already the case. MG Tech strongly pays attention to two pillars. First, make sure machines leave the facility perfectly tested to enable vertical startup. Then, MG Tech is not doing black boxes. The program is accessible to allow technicians or operators to have easy access, thanks to its friendly interface, to all I/O, servo-axis and new format creation.

What future innovations will impact the use of packaging machinery in manufacturing operations?

Charles Girault, business manager, MG Tech: MG Tech already thinks about the future of packaging lines. For two years, MG Tech has been developing around mobile robotics to offer collaborative solutions to operators in its lines or to take in charge pallets when completed and extend its know-how to the intralogistics world.

About the author: Mike Bacidore
About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected]