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Kenos® foam grippers to support high-speed handling of paint drums

Using Kenos® KVG120 foam grippers by Piab, Dromont Group designed a successful pick-and-place system for a paint production line at a major UK chemical company.

Using Kenos® KVG120 foam grippers by Piab, Dromont Group designed a successful pick-and-place system for a paint production line at a major UK chemical company.

Dromont Group provides automated solutions for paints, inks and coatings and other chemical substances. One of Dromont’s clients is a major British chemical company which needed an efficient system for container handling in a paint production line.

The production line is divided into four major stages. First, all containers are checked for leaks. Secondly, the containers pass different filling stations to receive liquid bases, pigments and lids. The third stage, before final palletizing, is the mixing process in which the containers are brought to eight gyroscopic mixers.

In Dromont’s new solution, the mixing stage is fully handled by Kenos® KVG120 foam grippers from Piab. The foam grippers lift the containers off the conveyor belt and place them inside the mixers. Once mixing is complete, the containers are moved back to the belt where they are transported to the final stage.

Each gyroscopic mixer corresponds to a pick-and-place system with two Kenos® KVG120 foam grippers. This allows the handling of 2.5-10 litre containers with different diameters, heights and weights without change of tools. One single Kenos gripper is capable of picking three small 2.5 litre drums simultaneously in a cycle of six drums per minute, while large 10 l containers need both grippers for a cycle speed of two drums per minute.

"We chose Piab's Kenos® KVG foam grippers for their flexibility and reliability. Not only do they allow the handling of multi-format drums, but they are also able to handle containers of different materials, with plastic or metal lids, always guaranteeing a firm, stable and secure grip", says Andrea Messa, Mechanical Engineer at Dromont Group and project manager.

"Before choosing Piab, we were using a self-centring mechanical gripper which did not guarantee a reliable grip. We had also tried a system with sturdy suction cups, but these did not work well with the necessary tool, resulting in downtime to handle the various formats. The expertise of Piab's technicians and Davide Revello of TMA, Piab's authorised distributor, guided us in choosing the most suitable technology," adds Andrea Messa.

"With Piab's solutions, we were able to build an extremely innovative, high-speed line. The drum handling speed was increased by more than 50%," adds Martina Zecchetti, Business Developer at Dromont Group.

"We also turned to Piab for drum closure. The systems that put the lids on, in fact, pick them from vertical stacks with the Swedish company's DURAFLEX® double hardness suction cups," concludes Andrea Messa.


Kenos® KVG vacuum gripping systems from Piab are developed to simplify handling processes in a variety of industries, e.g. wood, ceramics, packaging, etc. It is a versatile range, based on technical foam grippers, designed for handling a wide variety of objects with different shapes, sizes and densities. Most gripper systems can be equipped with integrated vacuum generation, based on Piab's COAX® cartridges, like with the grippers used by Dromont, or prepared for separate vacuum generation, using a vane pump or side channel blower.

Piab's COAX® vacuum generation technology minimises energy consumption while offering safe and fast gripping, due to its high initial vacuum flow. The pump unit deliver high performance even with low or fluctuating supply pressure. This has been proven in independent comparative tests conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Dresden. These tests showed that Piab ejectors require significantly less compressed air to achieve the same result as ejectors from other suppliers. Consequently, their use reduces the cost of compressed air supply and thus the total manufacturing cost.

Piab's double hardness DURAFLEX® suction cups are made with a special material that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of polyurethane, leaves no marks on handled objects and has a fantastic elastic memory - even after hundreds of thousands of cycles. 


Dromont Group

Dromont Group owns worldwide reputation as innovative leader in automated systems for chemical production, like paint, as well as food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The family owned group has developed over time through innovation and  continuous investments in R&D and talent. Dromont’s wide range, including numerous patents, allows design of automated processes that meet the highest safety standards - from single machinery to complete factories.


For more information

Paolo Santi, Senior Marketing Activation Specialist
+39 011 2263666
Piab Italia, Via Cuniberti 58, Turin, Italy


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