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A Cobot for End-of-Line Palletizing

Yaskawa Motoman’s HC20XP collaborative robot with a 1.7 meter reach is IP67-rated, easy to program, and safe and flexible enough to work alongside people or move between conveyors.

Yaskawa Motoman HC20XP
Yaskawa Motoman HC20XP
photo credit: Yaskawa

Introduced a few months ago, Yaskawa America’s Motoman Robotics division is demonstrating its newest collaborative robot (cobot) for the first time to PACK EXPO Connects attendees this week.

The HC20XP cobot is designed with an extended reach that makes it perfect for end-of-line palletizing applications while working in close proximity to humans, the company said. To that end, the new cobot features a 1.7 meter maximum reach. Its extensive range enables the cobot to reach full 80-inch pallets without requiring an elevator or lift mechanism. While its 20 kg payload allows it to lift larger cases and parts.

“End-of-line palletizing is one of the best places to implement robotic automation,” said Michael Castor, material handling product manager at Yaskawa Motoman, noting that instead of having multiple people taking boxes off of a conveyor, “you can put in one robot that will take all of the boxes from the conveyor and stack them on the pallet for you.”

Castor noted, too, that the HC20XP is easy to implement—featuring precise hand-guided teaching—and, while there still may be a robot risk assessment required, cobots typically don’t require safety fences. This means it uses less space and is flexible. “Because there is no big cell, you can move it to different conveyors, so you don’t have to deploy multiple robots as there is the potential to use one robot to handle many different conveyors just by moving it around.”

According to Yaskawa, this is the industry’s first IP67-rated collaborative robot, equipped for continuous use in damp or splash-prone environments. Made of cast aluminum for durability, this model features an easy-to-clean surface, allowing utilization in sanitary environments where wipe or wash is required. NSF H1 food-grade grease is included as standard, enabling use in settings where there is a possibility of incidental food contact.

In addition, the HC20XP meets established safety standards (ISO 13849-1 and ISO 10218-1) and complies to ISO TS 15066. It offers four modes of collaborative operation, including Power and Force Limiting (PFL), where dual channel torque sensors in all joints constantly monitor force to quickly and safely react to contact. Designed for the utmost safety, the HC20XP features a pinch-less design, while through-arm utilities hide cabling, reducing risks of snagging or interference with other equipment.

The HC20XP can easily shift between collaborative speed in PFL mode or full speed in industrial mode to optimize cycle times based on risk assessment and process requirements. It can operate without additional protective measurement (risk assessment dependent) resulting in reduced cost and space requirements. Function-specific tooling and accessories are available from various Yaskawa partners. A through-arm Category 6 cable enables a wide variety of communication options for tooling.

The HC20XP robot is controlled by Yaskawa’s ultra-compact YRC1000micro controller which can be installed vertically, horizontally, or mounted in a standard 19-inch equipment rack. Its small footprint and lightweight cabinet are ideal for factories with high-density layouts, where seamless integration and stacking of controllers may be required.

To see a demo of HC20XP and other Yaskawa products (available through March 31, 2021), and to add the company to your MyConnects Planner, click here.


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