This year, PMMI released results from a survey on consumer product manufacturers’ growing use of robotics in the packaging plant. The “2014 Trends in Robotics Report” identified seven developments in robotics technology that are strengthening the business case for their adoption. These include advances in vision sensor technology; innovations in end-of-arm tooling (EOAT); integrated robot controls; improved sanitary designs for direct food contact; faster operating speeds and increased lifting capabilities; safety autonomy; and decreased costs.
The four case histories in our annual Robotics & Automation Special Report—detailing the use of robots by two food companies, a coatings manufacturer, and a candy maker—bear out PMMI’s observations. At Trolli, vision technology speeds the packaging of multi-component gummi treats; at Bell Carter Foods, faster speeds mean greater packaging-line productivity; at Great Lakes Cheese, a custom EOAT ensures the integrity of shingled cheese packs; and at Axalta, integrated controls allow for ease of programming and troubleshooting.
As the use of robotics grows on packaging plant floors, so too have the number of packaging companies willing to share their experiences with automation. For this year’s report, Packaging World has divided a record number of case-history submissions into two parts. See Part II of our report in the September 2014 issue.
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