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This content was submitted directly to this Web site by the supplier.Article | July 31, 2004
New case packing technology offers extreme flexibility
A+F Automation’s Case Packers, featuring their new TwinLine robotic pick & place technology, offer high speed case packing of multiple products and pack patterns through design innovations that include materials and PacDrive automation from ELAU.
Carbon fiber robot arm is a fast heavy lifter
With the increasing demands of club stores on manufacturers robotics are gaining popularity to maximize packaging line productivity and flexibility. Typically standard robots are capable of handling either heavy loads at low cycle rates or very limited loads at high cycle rates. Quite often however the combination of both speed and payload capacity is of the essence.
TwinLine a twin-axis robot for high flexibility in final packaging meets all these requirements. The latest development from A+F Automation an IWKA Company TwinLine is an ELAU PacDrive servo-driven unit that enables pick & place motions under 0.5 sec and the handling of loads up to 68 kg (138.6 lb.) in under 2 seconds.
The mechanical solution involves a gripper arm drive with two pairs of identical drives arms made of lightweight but extremely strong carbon fiber composite material. The streamlined mechanical design benefits from the controllability of an ELAU PacDrive automation system.
As a result the TwinLine robot arm only needs two servo drives to generate a range of tightly synchronized collation sortation and pick-and-place motions. Fewer servos and simplified mechanics make the system economical as well. The opposed composite arms contribute stiffness low inertia agility and balance.
Powerful kinematics embedded in the PacDrive software execute complex smooth motions. Robotic functionalities are contained in a library of pre-tested re-usable software objects.
The servos are designed for high torque and fast response accommodating the combined mass of product and tooling. End effector tooling can be either vacuum or mechanical grippers and may include tilting turning or pushing functions in coordination with a vision system to ensure precise product orientation.
Integrating into systems
For A+F Automation the TwinLine is part of a tool kit that includes tray erectors tray and wraparound packaging machines palletizers loading stations conveying systems peripheral units for line integration.
Open architecture makes robots simple and cost effective
Most robots use proprietary controllers and software adding unnecessary cost and complexity – the two main objections to using robots in packaging according to a Packaging World survey. Traditionally each robot manufacturer has developed its own controls forcing packagers to learn and support different languages and hardware.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. A+F Automation applies open architecture robotic control technology. The off-the-shelf controllers are the same IEC 61131-3 based ELAU PacDrive systems that IWKA has made its corporate standard for packaging machine automation.
So the hardware software platform and servos are interchangeable with those used on the surrounding machinery. The only difference is use of an IEC-conforming software object that incorporates robotic kinematics the synchronized motions that provide the robot’s dexterity.
The result is a common look and feel that reduces training costs for operators and technicians not to mention reducing spares requirements.
[This is a sponsored article from the supplier listed below.]