Industry

Why Packaging Robots are the future

Over the years, the use of robotics in different industries has risen. Data from the IFR (International Federation of Robotics) indicate that there was a sales increase of packaging robotics by double in the five years up to 2017. What’s more, there was a sales increase of 30% in 2017 alone.

Moreover, the installation of robotics in the U.S.A. reached a new peak also in 2017 but slowed down in 2019. This new growth has since been a trend in many other countries. It has also helped strengthen industries in global and domestic markets. Another cause of this rise is the increasing interest in the medical world. In many cases, fulfillment operations, contract manufacturers, and device companies use robotics in:

  1. Gain complete flexibility in packaging and products
  2. Accommodate a diminutive production lifestyle
  3. Boost the quality and reduce labor cost
  4. Attain higher quality and throughput with minor wear and tear
  5. Economically use of floor-space
  6. Increase traceability
  7. Decrease production or quality increase

Robotics as a proven solution

Even though they have been in the market for some time, robotics still feels like a new concept to others. More precisely, robotics has been in the market since 1961. The first robot was used in die casting.

There are currently six different types of robotics: articulated, Delta, SCARA, Cartesian, Polar, and Cylindrical. Each robot comes with a unique capability. These robots also have different sizes and matching work envelopes. You have the option of mixing and comparing them in unlimited ways with the sole purpose of solving your company’s application needs.

A closer look at the benefits of packaging robots

  1. Gain complete flexibility in packaging and products

Hard automation is typically a suitable solution in operations that produce products in large volumes. This is because the changeovers aren’t frequent. When it comes to packaging and running a mixture of products, robotics thrive. In packaging, robotics will work hours on end and ensure that each kit has the right components.

Articulated robots are also able to handle different product orientations and odd shapes. This is one of the many reasons why there has been an increase in packaging robots.

  1. Accommodate a diminutive production lifestyle

When you use packaging robots over time, the ROI (Return on Investment) also increases. When you have a shorter package and product lifecycles, achieving an ROI at the required time becomes difficult. On the other hand, robots are a practical solution as they keep lines fresh since a mixture of products can be used on them.

  1. Boost the quality and reduce labor cost

Labor-intensive, repetitive tasks lie palletizing, kit making, case packing, and assembly are easily accomplished by robots. These robots will do so utilizing the highest level of productivity and acceptable return on investment. Other benefits include traceability and assured good quality. What’s more, using robots is a financially justifiable move.

  1. Attain higher quality and throughput with minor wear and tear

Robots like packaging robots are productive, reliable, and precise. They are commonly used in end-line device packaging, device testing, and device assembly. These robots are required to perform intricate pick-and-place jobs and quality assurance. In a manual and mixed mechanized assembly system, people and robots work in tandem.

For instance, SCARA robotics can pick then place portions in assembly operations. On the other hand, a Cartesian robot can fasten parts and apply adhesive. All this while the skilled human gets to handle more delicate assembly. Cylindrical and polar robots take parts and are thus used in automated processes like die casting and welding applications. Robotics shouldn’t be considered to be labor eliminators but instead be seen as labor enablers.

  1. Economically use of floor-space

Floor spaces are costly, so system integrators and equipment manufacturers are now making small robotic solutions. For example, some robots are wall-mountable. Such robots are placed along a rail and move in narrow spaces to various workstations. Some robots can be mounted in a horizontal or upside-down manner.

Even when the six types of robotics are combined, a small, unique robot solution can be created. Nowadays, robotics are more miniature, having more sensing options that shrink the safety envelope surrounding them. This means you can securely have two robots in a single cell.

As such, instead of one palletizing cell, you could easily combine three robots. The robots you could combine include palletizing, case packing, and cartooning in one cell. Engineering is all about solving problems, and robots provide industrial engineers solutions they didn’t have in the past.

  1. Increase traceability

When a bar code, vision technology, or RFID are added, robotics traceability is enhanced. Packaging robots can record, weight, count, close, open, sort, place, and pick. This ability lowers risks for companies like those in the medical industry.

  1. Decrease production or quality increase

When you redeploy or add robots, you will effectively scale your production down or up and cost-effectively. Robots’ mounting options and small-sized work envelopes give you the flexibility of adding more robotics to your production line. For example, add articulated or SCARA robots when there’s a need for high-volume production. That way, the operation will have quick and seasonal response capabilities.

Where do Robots Fit in Package automation? 

Some of the many places robotics can be used in packaging automation include to pick-and-place and;

  • Warehousing: For example, in food warehouses where transportation of loaded pallets will give you a competitive edge. You’ll benefit from safety, speed, and efficiency.
  • Boxing: Once items have been denested, the next step is boxing them ready for shipment. Robotic arms can box items with ease and care.
  • Palletizing: Robots will stack packaged items in pallets as they await shipping.

Conclusion

As highlighted, robotics use is advantageous to any line of business. Quite simply, using packing robots makes it easy for a company to expand operations. Moreover, the expansion will be consistent and accurate, thereby reducing the chances of work-related harm. Perhaps the most significant benefit of using robots in packaging is freeing staff from repetitive tasks they were doing in the past.

A post by Kidal D. (5599 Posts)

Kidal D. is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.

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