THREE big challenges, THREE smart solutions 

March 28, 2024

Using industrial automation and robotics, Auckland-based Integrated Automation Ltd (IAL) creates highly innovative world class automation systems.  

THREE big challenges, THREE smart solutions 

OMRON and IAL deliver ideal recipes for industry success 

Using industrial automation and robotics, Auckland-based Integrated Automation Ltd (IAL) creates highly innovative world class automation systems.  

Their systems are designed to improve customer productivity, reduce downtime, provide future flexibility and ensure operator safety. 

The IAL team comprises a tight knit group of talented electrical, automation and mechanical engineers.  

Combining experience and good old fashioned Kiwi ingenuity, team members service a broad range of industries including: 


  • Food & Beverage 
  • Dairy  
  • Transportation  
  • Wood Products  
  • Manufacturing  
  • Warehouse Automation  
  • FMCG  

Services include automation innovation, mechanical and electrical design, control systems, machine safety, project management and outstanding after sales and support. 

The team specialises in the latest advanced technologies including: 

  • Robotics & Cobots 
  • EPLAN Electrical Design Development  
  • SolidWorks Mechanical Design Development  
  • PLC and IPC Programming  
  • HMI, SCADA & IIOT Development 
  • Machine Vision  
  • Variable Speed Drives  
  • Remote IO and Networks 
  • Single Axis Motion Control, Multiple Axis Motion Control  


In recent months, OMRON has been working closely with the IAL team to provide turnkey solutions for three major clients – each with special industry requirements. 

The partnership focussed on finding three innovative robotics solutions to maximise each client’s return on investment (ROI). 


Challenge ONE: Robotic Toothpaste Tube Transfer System  

The customer required a system to take toothpaste tubes from a filling machine and load them into slots on an indexing conveyor that feeds into a carton loading machine.  

Originally the two machines were separated, with the tube filling machine dropping tubes into a tub, which was then taken by hand to the carton loading machine, to be loaded into that machine by hand.  

A limited amount of space was available to create a system which would connect the existing machines, taking tubes directly from the tube filling machine and transporting them to the carton loading machine.  

Using a state-of-the-art OMRON TM-12 collaborative robot and vision system, OMRON and IAL delivered the ideal solution:  


  • Robot picks up a set of five toothpaste tubes and rotates them while placing into an indexing conveyor 
  • The robot controller manages interfacing with both the upstream (tube filling) and downstream (carton loading) machines 
  • Robot runs in performance mode normally but can rapidly switch to collaborative mode when the guards open, allowing operators to clear the occasional jam without stopping production  
  • The robot’s camera is used to check for accumulated product on startup  
  • Vacuum cups are used to pick the tubes  
  • Average rate is 40 tubes/minute 


Challenge TWO: Robotic Accumulation System 

Locally owned and operated Alaron, based in Nelson, manufactures a broad range of health products sold globally.  

One of its products is packed into single use foil pouches for ease of use by consumers.  

The individual foils come off the line at 80 foils/minute and are hand packed into retail cartons.  

For their team to keep up with this activity it required several people at the end of the packing line to correctly count and pack retail cartons at speed.  

This difficult process is time-consuming and carries a high risk of miscounting.  

Alaron approached IAL for a custom robotic automation solution to count and correctly orientate the foils, presenting the packing team with bundles ready to pack into a retail carton.  


Finding the best solution 

For state-of-the art automation components, IAL turned to OMRON.  

The comprehensive package included: 

  • HMI touch screens (NA5 Series) 
  • NX1 modular machine controllers 
  • NX-SL3300 safety controllers 
  • FH series vision system 
  • 1S series Servo Drives 
  • 3G3MX2 series inverter drives 
  • Assorted components including photoelectric switches and safety inputs and outputs. 


The Alaron team was highly impressed with the level of professionalism and delighted with the finished result. 

The new system not only improves accuracy, it delivers increased throughput and productivity. 


Challenge THREE: Robotic Cardboard Loader 

An IAL customer’s pre-existing box erecting machine had to be hand loaded with cardboard blanks from a pallet at a rate of 60ppm.  

To improve the consistency of loading and ease the burden on operators, the customer needed to find an efficient automated solution.  

The machine is portable and frequently moved, so the solution had to be easily moved. It also had to be used on multiple machines of the same kind. 

IAL approached OMRON to supply the advanced robotics and automation equipment needed to develop the new system.   


OMRON’s cutting-edge TM12 cobot provided the ideal solution:  


  • The cobot detects the position of cardboard stacks on the pallet using built-in camera  
  • A robot gripper penetrates the stack following the cutout patterns in the blanks  
  • Electric actuator retracts the gripper fingers to grip up to 26 blanks 
  • The robot moves to the machine infeed and releases the product once the magazine reaches a safe level 
  • Running in performance mode, the rate is 60ppm  
  • The cobot is positioned with mechanical datums to line up with the customers machine 
  • It can be moved to other machines with minimal modifications 
  • Robust vision jobs to allow for variation in ambient lighting  


OMRON and IAL continue to work together to provide the right turnkey solution to suit client requirements.  

We love challenges. Our great minds look forward to collaborating on your future project.

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