Laser-guided transport vehicles automate the entire final packaging line at OCME


The partnership between OCME and SICK is a success story and a guarantee for extremely high-quality solutions. Due to the development of laser-guided transport vehicles, OCME automated the entire final packaging line. In the process, sensors from SICK made an essential contribution to the safety and reliability of the machines.


OCME - Automated Guided Vehicles in Heineken Valencia

With more than 10,000 machines put in operation, the OCME Company - founded in 1954 in the Italian city of Parma - ranks among the international market leaders for packaging systems. The enterprise features a worldwide distribution network with some 40 branches. OCMEs portfolio includes filling plants, installations for primary and secondary packaging, as well as machines for final packaging and logistics. The year 2003 marked the go-ahead for the production of laser-guided transport vehicles. OCME developed the software entirely on its own. This allows complete control of the developed system and makes it possible to cover the whole process, from packaging to final packaging.  


The top objective of OCME is ensuring maximum reliability and safety throughout. For this reason, OCME specifically turned to SICK. We were looking for a supplier that is positioned at the top of its respective market segment, that enjoys a high standing among our customers, and that represents the same values as we do. In some cases, our international customers even specified SICK, explains Paolo Miceli, who is engineer at LGV System Designing.For collision prevention, the transport vehicles of OCME feature four S300 and S3000 safety laser scanners from SICK. Together with the Flexi Soft safety controller, they guarantee personnel safety. In this connection, Flexi Soft acts as a safety PLC. 

S3000_AGV S3000 safety laser scanner (left) and S300 safety laser scanner

In programming the Flexi Soft in combination with the safety laser scanners from SICK, it was possible to replace the control cabinet with simple control panels. This enabled OCME to reduce the manufacturing costs of the transport vehicles as well.  


Moreover, three additional S100 2D laser scanners are mounted on the transport vehicles. They detect possible obstacles, such as an overhead travelling crane or forklift trucks parked in the wrong spot along the travel path. One sensor monitors long distances if the vehicle moves too fast, and one S100 monitors medium-range distances at constant speeds. Another laser scanner checks the short distances when the vehicle is moving more slowly. This approach entails activating the right S100 for the respective situation at all times. Besides the NAV navigation scanner, a DT50 distance sensor from SICK was installed as well for preventing collisions when moving through automatic doors. In doing so, one can avoid that the vehicles continue travelling in case automatic doors malfunction, which might cause damage to the transport vehicle. 

NAC300-and-DT50-Auriga-OCME on the left: DT 50 distance sensor, on the right: NAV navigation scanner


Muting for robot cells

Some of OCMEs customers wished to equip their machines with muting sensors. This was intended to ensure better safety between the loading zone and the vehicle. The approach yields great benefits: When the vehicle receives a finished pallet from the robot cell, it first mutes the M4000 multiple light beam safety device from SICK. The latter serves to interrupt the process as soon as a person gains unauthorized access to the cell. The robot cell represents a separate area, which must be equipped with passageways for issuing pallets, however.   These passages feature M4000 multiple light beam safety devices that stop any hazardous movements if a person gains entry using these passages, thus preventing injuries. What does happen as well, though, is that the function of the M4000 must be switched off for regular operation. This occurs when conveying a pallet. Depending on the length of the conveyor belt, it is also possible to transfer the pallet behind the M4000 multiple light beam safety device. However, if the conveyor belt is too short, the pallet must be passed on within the cell and thus before reaching the M4000. In this scenario, it is essential to set the parameters for muting the multiple light beam safety device. This setting takes place by means of the sender and the receiver: The exit monitoring muting function requires only two muting sensors and the UE403 switching amplifier in the hazardous area.

M4000_Products M4000 multiple light beam safety device

SICK provided us with active advice and support at all times, addressing our requirements directly, emphasizes Miceli. A great number of our customers ask specifically for products made by SICK because they feel safer when using them. SICK has a very broad product portfolio, and the company is always one step ahead, not only in terms of technology. As a company name, SICK in itself constitutes a kind of guarantee, enjoying a great reputation worldwide on top of that. SICK tailors new products individually to customers demands, allowing them to share in technological innovations. To us, SICK is a partner with whom we can cooperate and grow.