The Micron Seed Packer from Micron Milling packs 350 000 seed packs per day with different size, shape and counts of seeds, powered by OMRON’s Sysmac technology, 1S Servo and E3NW EtherCAT sensor networking units - a first in South Africa.
The packing of seed in packets with precision and accuracy has always been a challenge. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, The Shaker Seeds Company in America was the first company to sell vegetable seeds in pre-counted seed packs for household use. Changing the horticultural sector forever. Since then, a lot has changed in the way seed is packaged for distribution to the consumer. Instead of hand counting these seeds and manually placing them in an envelope, seed companies rely on machines to get the job done. One of the many challenges that they face is speed, accuracy and the variable size of the seed.
Micron Milling (Pty) Ltd, known for their high-quality advanced machines reached out to OMRON South Africa to assist on a new project. This project was the first of its kind in South Africa, requiring more investment as well as the latest automation technology and added state of the art control systems to make it work. One of the many reasons the company decided to join forces with OMRON was because of the challenges faced in the past with seed packing machines. Supplying insufficient or over seed packets was a quality problem that was eating into the profitability of the company. The customer wanted to ensure that the end-user was happy with the product they received from Micron Milling and that they received the sufficient amount of seeds. Also, badly cut seed packs can cause a leak and seeds would drop out. Cosmetically the product could look like a poor-quality product - something that the company wanted to avoid at all costs.
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Taking hands with OMRON has been a match made in heaven,” said Etienne van Wyk, Design Engineer at Micron Milling (Pty) Ltd. With OMRON being at the forefront of technology and innovation, this project was off to a great start. “We pride ourselves that we are one of the first companies in Africa to make use of Sysmac Automation Technology, and the advanced 1S Servo System,“ he highlighted.