Thermoforms manipulation now made easy!

Do you use thermoformed trays on your production site?

Nowadays more and more companies decide to use them because of their usability and recycling possibilities.

But did you know that using products delivered in shipping trays gives your business a lot of automation possibilities as well?

You're wondering why thermoformed plastic or paper fibre trays are so great for automation?

To answer this question, we will take an example of a lipstick. Even though it's not evident from the first sight - a lipstick is an object requiring a complex assembling process because of its multi-layer structure.


What does a lipstick tube contain?

lipstick_packaging_manipulation_robotic_automation2Usually it contains several pieces. There is a bottom part of the lipstick tube where the colouring part later gets inserted and the top part covering the lipstick. There are a couple other parts, but let’s keep it simple.

These component parts often get delivered to the factory separately in thermoformed shipping trays in order not to damage fragile parts and to simplify the transportation. But what usually happens at the production site?

Manipulation of thermoformed trays

Those parts get manually discharged from plastic trays and get inserted in pucks one by one for the assembling. Some companies use semi-automatic machines that require a lot of time and workforce to adjust them for each changeover. If you calculate, at the end this changeover time almost totally annihilates time you win from using thermoformed trays.

So, until the present day this perfectly ordered structure of thermoformed trays was mostly used for transportation of product parts to the factory and the packaging process was not benefitting from it at all!

UNISTA automation solution

Since the use of thermoformed trays becomes a very important topic for cosmetics and pharmaceutical business, we couldn’t see our customers struggling anymore. At UNISTA we’ve decided to find a solution for thermoformed trays manipulation that would allow our customers to profit from this packaging type. We made the structure of these trays to its greatest automation advantage.

How? Let’s have a closer look at a thermoformed shipping tray.


Thermoforms and their automation potential

As you can see on the picture, the space between product rows and between each product are perfectly identical.

So, basically, a tray layout gives us the exact information about the position of products in thermoformed trays. And if we know the layout of the tray and the format of products, we can automate the manipulation of your plastic trays without losing any time for the format change!

Our robotic packaging machines allow you to make a changeover in just a few seconds: you just chose the format of your tray in our machine board computer and insert a pallet with full thermoformed trays into the machine loading station and that's it!

The structure of the machine may vary from your specific needs, but the principle stays the same: the first robot removes a tray with products from the pallet to an operation station, and the second robot discharges the tray row by row. As soon as the tray is empty, the first robot takes it away and replaces it with another full tray.

To make this process the most flexible, the structure of our machines allows the first robot to take an advance while the second robot is discharging trays. And thus, we maintain the packaging speed rate constant.

Robotic automation advantages

You’d probably ask, and what if my company's production requires manipulation of multiple products rows in the same time? Or integration of an additional module, e.g. laser printing or screwing stations? What if we produce mascara and not lipsticks? Is it possible to build a machine fitting our specific needs?
The answer is – yes!
Our main goal is to create a machine that would fit your specific needs! The first thing that we do when we start working on a new project is analysis of your current production cycle and your goals to be able to conceive a perfect industrial equipment for you!

An outstanding flexibility of robotic equipments allows us to conceive machines perfectly matching the requirements of your production.


Get more inspiration

Stay tuned to find out more about other automation possibilities! We will publish a new article about manipulation of products in thermoforms soon and you’ll see how different our robotic solutions can be depending on needs of our customers!

To get updated about our new machines or to leave your comments, subscribe to our official accounts!


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