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Article | July 20, 2011
Packagers provide robotics 'wish list'
In the first-ever survey of Packaging World’s readers on their use of robotics, respondents share some of the technologies/capabilities they’d like to see from suppliers.
• “Anything related to serialization and warehousing.” • “Low-cost small pick-and-place.” • “Heavy products—making it easier to pack.” • “Built in vision systems with robotics that do not slow down high-speed processes.” • “Light assembly of wrapping material around a fragile cylinder, similar to labeling.” • “Better integration into bottle handling—more primary applications in the beverage industry.” • “Automatic tool change.” • “Yes, labeling section.” • “I am looking for an industrial bag packing line that can produce 500 to 700 50-kg granule and powder salt per hour.” • “Yes, in case of in-mold label application.” • “Fast pick-and-place operations with sticky and fragile products (grippers).” • “Packing of Doypacks into cases.” • “Yes, move the fertilizer packing from bagging machine to stock pile faster.” • “Putting foams into the containers.”
For this year’s Robotics Special Report, Packaging World surveyed its readership to learn about their use of robotics technologies in the field. Among the questions asked: “Are there any capabilities or new applications for which you would like to see robotics manufacturers develop new technologies? In other words, are there tasks within your packaging operation that you would automate with robotics if the technology existed?” Following are some of their answers (minimal editing): • “Automatic Master box preparation to stacking operation for all high speed line (i.e., 400 UPM speed).” • “Mixing of products and packaging finished goods onto pallets.” • “To build up child parent relationship for compiling e-pedigree.” • “If possible, maintenance-free, and if electric and mechanic faults to display on HMI.” • “Loading frozen meat boxes into rail cars, palletize frozen meat onto pallets to be put away for future shipment.” • “Good question. Our process is complex, utilizing high-speed teabag manufacturing equipment. Our current focus is to automate our palletizing in Boise, Idaho, a 7 leg flavor system using a gantry robot.” • “We are interested in robots working in freeze and frozen conditions like storage rooms for frozen products like seafood.” • “Feeding, sorting, vision inspection.”• “Orientation and gather of non-uniform label for packing.” • “Kit assembling robots.” • “Gathering loose label and bundle packing to reduce hand work. Labels that do not have corners or square sides to jog against.” • “Not sacrificing speed when reducing the size.”
• “Packing a display tray and then sliding two of them into a shipper.”
• “Increased speed. We have an area where we would like to utililize a robot to feed veneer, but are unable. This is due to the robot not being able to keep up with the line speeds of 70 ft/min (+). We also have issues with using vacuum to lift the sheets, because two sheets may be picked up if the top sheet has a hole in it.”
• “Stacking or collecting boxes.”
• “Better training of integrators in applying the technology.”
• “I’d like to automate the changing of the tooling on the machines to reduce operator error.”
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