Information briefs for the week check out the return of PACK EXPO Worldwide after its 4-year COVID-caused hiatus from the tradeshow circuit. The producers promised a big-bang reentry, and so they delivered, calling it One Highly effective Present. From the angle of robots and cobots, nevertheless, it was a dominating efficiency. From what was in proof on the present ground, evermore dominance in robot-driven automation is coming within the very close to future.
One present, two takeaways!
Upon hitting the present ground, the jump-out realizations to seize onto at Pack Expo 2022 are two: Extra cobots doing extra issues higher and extra flexibly than ever; after which, upon nearer inspection of those self same cobots, the truth that integration of cobot techniques is the subsequent nice advance in robotics. If that’s all you took away from the present, you’d have, in a nutshell, seen the way forward for packaging and packing.
The editors for the present’s producer PMMI (The Affiliation for Packaging and Processing Applied sciences (previously Packaging Equipment Producers Institute)), seen the cobot inhabitants improve proper off, as they walked the ground to report on their first impressions.
“Collaborative robots, or cobots, are growing their affect on packaging techniques. It was that robots on the present ground needed to be given a large berth. It’s nonetheless just a little stunning to see these cobots freed from any enclosure, the place attendees are free to work together with them.”
Inside these two realizations exists a world of selection, flexibility, and built-in “intelligence.” Wonderful is the seepage of robotics into practically each facet of packaging, packing, and manufacturing.
KUKA, ABB & Beckhoff
KUKA’s Chad Dukart, confirmed off one such integration with KUKA’s Choose Management system that makes use of “good” imaginative and prescient software program to concurrently management the actions of a 6-axis cobot, two Delta robots and a SCARA robotic all working the identical conveyor line selecting and packing product in what he referred to as, “robot-based software program for conveyor monitoring with built-in picture processing.”
With product cycles getting shorter and shorter, whereas useful resource and vitality effectivity are receiving ever better consideration, versatile, built-in manufacturing options are in demand. He mentioned that he might, for instance, with the contact of a button, have one or the opposite Delta robots work quicker or slower, and nonetheless the conveyors filled with product to be packed would stay in sync.
ABB showcased an ordinary IRB 360 FlexPicker that displayed one other new cobot ability in selecting integration: synthetic intelligence “that permits the robotic to be taught and adapt to all kinds of things together with cuboids, cylinders, pouches, blisters, and random shapes, as present in electronics, pharma, healthcare, cosmetics and different shopper product industries.”
ABB claims that the FlexPicker’s internally developed AI resolution gives unprecedented accuracy with a “first-time, right-pick fee of 98.5%, and selecting effectivity of >99.5 %,” in selecting gadgets from unstructured surroundings; and due to decreased computing time, “peak choose charges of as much as 1,500 gadgets per hour.”
In what was harking back to snap-together toys, Beckhoff confirmed up with ATRO, a modular industrial “snap-together” cobot system “that can be utilized to assemble the optimum cobot constructions for various purposes on a person and versatile foundation.”
Want a 4-axis cobot at the moment, a 6-axis cobot tomorrow, and possibly a seventh axis thrown in simply in case? Nicely, the ATRO (Automation Expertise for Robotics) system is comprised of standardized motor modules with built-in drive performance, and hyperlink modules of varied designs and lengths.
Beckhoff says that every one ATRO modules “function an inside media feed for information, energy, and fluids (vacuum, air, and water). This permits ATRO to make use of quite a lot of instruments, akin to mechanical, pneumatic, or electrical grippers. As a result of these media feeds are inside, it permits for limitless rotation of ATRO axes and finish effector instruments, as there are not any exterior cables to hinder the robotic’s vary of movement.”
Epson companions with itself!
If you’re Epson and identified for coloration printers, you’re additionally identified for cobots. Out of a novel partnering between Epson’s cobots and printers sprang a novel, new approach to print labels after which affix them to packages as they journey alongside a conveyor.
That’s the concept behind Epson showcasing its VT6L All-in-One 6-Axis robotic with built-in controller paired with the Epson ColorWorks C6000 Sequence coloration inkjet label printer.
It’s additionally an important instance of the flexibility in design and functionality that cobots are bringing to automation, particularly at Pack Expo the place all the flexibility could be seen and skilled inside strolling distance from one to the opposite on the expo ground.
Epson can be credited with one other distinctive, world’s first, with its adaptation of 6-axis design cobot with a “folding” arm kinematic configuration (see picture).
Nice for working in tight areas, the compact arm of the Flexion has the power to fold by way of itself, versus shifting round itself. Epson claims that it makes use of 40% much less area than an ordinary 6-axis arm and may simply work inside an envelope of 1 sq. meter, which is right for space-constrained medical and pharma labs.
Cobots tackle the mighty transport pallet
The standard however mighty wood transport pallet (48 in × 40 in or 1,219 mm × 1,016 mm), with over 2 billion in use worldwide, has been the worldwide transport customary for close to one-hundred years. The modest pallet is so highly effective a transport medium that it’s been elevated to verb standing: therefore, to palletize; and its reverse, to depalletize.
All method of human and software program calculations have been devised on how finest to pack pallets after which to stabilize their hundreds for protected, environment friendly, and least expensive transport. People charged with loading pallets is pure, brain-numbing drudgery…and costly, however, most of the time, people get the job, if, that’s, sufficient people could be discovered to rent.
Automating palletizing and depalletizing could be an trade dream come true. Caged-off robots do it most frequently, however in out-of-the-way transport areas far-off from individuals and remoted from the circulation of manufacturing.
Cobots are the newest to tackle the problem of automating the packing of the mighty transport pallet. Pack Expo even had a Logistics Pavilion with 25 aspiring packing/packaging corporations, with some trying to tackle the problem.
To win the palletizing/depalletizing problem is to have a extremely cellular, go-anywhere-in-factory-or-warehouse cobot that might work amid people and regular manufacturing flows, work lengthy hours at close to most payload, shortly pack out a pallet, after which be nimble sufficient to maneuver on to the subsequent pallet in a rush.
Two partnered as much as tackle the world championship of palletizing: World chief in cobot gross sales, Denmark’s Common Robots (UR), toting alongside its latest 6-axis cobot, the UR20, with its 20kg payload capability and longest attain, along with its companion, Canada’s Robotiq, a specialist palletizing purposes and options.
All of it went down in sales space N-4925.
And wouldn’t you recognize, they pulled it off in grand model!
Packaging World reported: “The prolonged attain functionality of the UR20 is demonstrated within the Robotiq palletizing system, because it reveals how the UR20 can be utilized to stack gadgets to a peak of 1800mm (5.9 ft). With its prolonged attain, the UR20 can be utilized to stack throughout two customary U.S. pallets. With Euro pallets, the UR20 can stack as much as 2m in peak.”
In the end, the mighty transport pallet has met its match, and it’s a cobot! A cobot vendor’s machine built-in with Robotiq’s software proved decisive.
The UR/Robotiq partnership typified the 2 distinctive takeaways of Pack Expo: Cobots married to integration is the subsequent massive factor.
Remember to search for it at a tradeshow or occasion close to you.