Technological advancements in robot-based automation provide the adaptability required to regulate the batch manufacturing, product modifications, new packaging models, and shortly-lived product life circuits. A flexible robot arm is more convenient in comparison to industrial hard robots. They are smaller and can fit in restricted spaces.
Robots can come in handy to provide excellent services in tasks which would otherwise need manual human intervention. Organizations which adopt a flexible robot arm will experience an enhanced uptime, reduced accidents, overall throughput, and a significant reduction of workload.
Robots are ideal when it comes to executing repetitive tasks in various procedures. This can either be in areas which require flexible handling structures for regular adjustments or high production demands. Robots can be used in the packaging industry to execute feed placement and pick and place applications.
In the former, products can either be stuffed in secondary packages or trays, while in the latter, products are arranged on a conveyor in preparation for imminent packaging procedures. When it comes to case packing, the packages are categorized into three different types which are; Flexible, semi-rigid, and rigid.
Laying and staging flexible packages for constant picking can be an arduous task. This is because the product and packaging have a fluid characteristic and need to be identified using a vision system. In this case, the vision system tries to establish the package’s central point in order for the robot to recognize the same as the central pick point. In the event the actual package location cannot be identified, the case elements should have adequate clearance to make way for a distorted location.
Rigid packages come with an identifiable size and shape. They are, therefore, ideal for fixed picking applications. They have identifiable product characteristics which can be staged and regulated for robot communication. In the event an identifiable location cannot be acquired, a vision system can be used to identify them.
Semi rigid packages come with a generic size and shape. However, this varies according to product design. This can make them hard to convert into a fixed position, and identifying them may require a vision system. Establishing whether or not a robot can handle the package in a repetitive pick procedure requires a comprehensive analysis.
System throughput needs should be adequately considered in every sub-system in the robotic case packing system. Each sub-system should be able to feed the next sub-system at the desired product location and rates.
Robotic Case Packing System Components
A robot is a tailor-made stand that guarantees the appropriate mounting orientation for the robot to enhance throughput, reach, and speed. The robot can be mounted in various locations depending on space and workspace layout. They include; overhead, side, and floor.
The product conveyor transfers products to the robot case packing system from the production line. The product location, spacing, and conveyor speed are determined by the robot needs. A high distinction belt should be utilized to establish the product location when using a vision system.
The robot stand comes with an end of the arm tool. Mechanical and vacuum grippers are some of the popular applications. Organizations can utilize a tailor-made end of arm tool or a needle for the bakery to execute exclusive product management applications.
The case conveyor moves cases along the cell to allow for robot communication. It comes with flexible case guides to allow for product transition. Metering devices and case stops make it possible to start and stop the cases in specific locations.
Applications which call for movement of the case in between the case packing process, also require a belt, and the cases should be monitored through an encoder. In order to avoid probable interference between the case flaps and the end of arm tool or the product, there should be laid down procedures on how to accommodate the case flaps.
There are many more components which include; system control panel, vision system, Pneumatics, and human machine interface. The use of robots in the packaging industry has enabled organizations to increase production and revenue while reducing workload and costs.