Packaging and Palletizing Collaborative Robots: Frequently Asked Questions Addressed
In 2014, PMMI (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute) published a report indicating that 2 out of 3 manufacturing locations had palletizing robots installed or planned to install the robots at a future date.
Palletizing is basically taking the packaged product and assembling it for transport by loading it on a pallet or similar device. Packaging and palletizing co-bots improve end-of-line efficiency in addition to saving costs.
Most manufacturing plants, having realized the immense benefits have adopted these co-bots. However, if you are still on the fence, then the answers to these frequently asked questions about packaging and palletizing robot arms will put your mind at ease.
Why Should I Invest in Packaging and Palletizing Robot Arms?
- The co-bots are designed to support heavy loads and repetitive movements. Consequently, work stoppage due to taxing physical effort by human workers is eliminated.
- Packaging robots and palletizing co-bots eliminate fatigue, injury and the negative effects of repetitive movements.
- The co-bots increase the speed of production. Some palletizing robots can achieve a speed of 30 bags per minute, definitely faster than human workers.
- The quality of the finished product. A palletizing robot product will load a pallet error-free and hence quality is always ensured.
What Should I Consider Before Making a Switch to Packaging and Palletizing Co-bots?
First, you ought to determine if the palletizing robot arm will execute only one task or more than one task. It is possible to have a robot system that can only load product on the pallet or have a system that can package the product, load the product on to a pallet and wrap the pallet.
Second, determine if the packaging and palletizing robotics system will have an ROI. Essentially, is you packaging and palletizing throughput high enough that a robot system will save on cost and increase productivity in the long run?
Third, before making the actual purchase, consider your available space. What kind of co-bot would fit best? A floor mounted one, ceiling mounted or wall mounted?
Finally, consult with an expert, particularly the provider you plan to source your co-bot from on the safety issue. For example, all collaborative robots made by Universal Robots are certified IP-54. That means, the co-bots need protection when dealing with corrosive liquids. Having an idea of the safety requirements will permit you to make the best possible purchase.
Which Criteria Should I Use So I Can Select the Best Possible Packaging and Palletizing Robot Arm?
Robot manufacturers and providers offer a wide range of specifications and it is impossible to have a set criterion that encompasses everything.
However, there are four key criteria anyone planning to purchase a packaging and palletizing robot should be aware of.
1. The Robot’s Reach
The reach is the distance from the center of a robot to the furthest extension of the arm. The desired reach will depend on your need because the average range in the market is from 70 to 130 inches.
2. The Robot’s Speed
Speed is critical because it is one of the primary advantages of switching from a manual to a robotic system. Normally, speeds are given in terms rotational speeds and therefore, a bit difficult to understand. Always insist on simulations to determine the speed that will work for you.
3. The Payload
A robot’s payload is the weight that robot’s arm can lift. Maximum payload varies from robot to robot. Before choosing a packaging and palletizing robot, it is vital to determine the maximum weight of your product and measure that against the robot’s payload for maximum results.
An axis configuration can be simply defined as the degree of freedom. Can the robot move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally? In essence, movement along the known axes, X, Y, Z and the rest.
In most cases, a 4-axis robot is ideal, but depending on one’s need, a 5, 6 or 7-axis robot can also be used.
Packaging and palletizing robots keep improving. The speeds keep getting better and the cost affordable. If your company can benefit from such a robot, then it is time to consider investing in one.
The author Payel Dutta
Happy soul, fond of travelling and loves to read tech columns.