NOTE: Robotics wasn’t the one space of curiosity at PACK EXPO. Click on the hyperlinks that comply with to learn extra about improvements in: Equipment    |  Meals Processing & Packaging    |  Sustainable Packaging    |  Pharma    |  Controls

Quite a few new robotic applied sciences have debuted over the previous 20 years. However the brand new ATRO robotic system (1) from Beckhoff proven at PACK EXPO International could also be one of many first modular, DIY (do-it-yourself) robotic applied sciences for the commercial market. The ATRO (Automation Expertise for Robotics) system is a modular industrial robotic system that enables finish customers, integrators, and machine builders to create an optimum robotic configuration for his or her software with payload capacities starting from 3 kg to 10 kg and reaches from 0.6 meters to 1.3 meters.

The system contains standardized motor modules with built-in drive performance, linking modules of varied designs and lengths, and the TwinCAT management platform. With these parts, customers can create robotic methods starting from 1-axis rotary indexing tables and 3-axis delta robots to 6- and 7-axis articulated robots.

Beckhoff notes that every one ATRO modules characteristic 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, corresponding to mechanical, pneumatic, or electrical grippers. As a result of these media feeds are inside, it permits for countless rotation of ATRO axes and finish effector instruments, as there are not any exterior cables to hinder the robotic’s vary of movement.

Meeting of an ATRO robotic is completed utilizing a technique much like a slip ring to attach every module and an adjustable instrument to safe the joint in place. “Through this simple assembly process, all power, communication, and fluids are routed internally, using an innovative method that enables continuous rotation,” says Matt Prellwitz, drive expertise product supervisor at Beckhoff Automation. “The robot never needs to stop to unwind a compressed air cord, for example. As such, users save time not only during commissioning, but also during production.”Photo 2—YaskawaPhotograph 2—Yaskawa

As a result of the ATRO system is constructed on an open management structure, it may be linked to “all conceivable interfaces in cell/plant communication, such as Profinet, EtherNet/IP, OPC UA, or to the cloud,” says Prellwitz. Additionally, the ATRO system permits for all features corresponding to robotics, imaginative and prescient, security, and machine studying to be built-in on a single management platform.

Beckhoff says all electronics wanted to manage the axes are constructed into the ATRO motor modules, together with an EtherCAT-based servo inverter, brake, and a compact gearbox. With these built-in options, the robotic controller solely requires a primary management unit.

Past its customizable design configuration, two different attention-grabbing features of ATRO are its meeting and the visible reinforcements it offers to the assembler and consumer that every module is accurately linked and prepared for operation. As every module is linked, a light-weight lining the joint connection illuminates. When the sunshine is yellow, it has verified that EtherCAT communications between modules is efficient; a inexperienced gentle signifies the module is prepared for operation; and a blue gentle signifies the unit is prepared for guide train mode.

Concerning particular purposes for which ATRO is finest suited, Prellwitz says “ATRO can be added to any application, and the flexible design helps users easily fit the system into new and existing machine designs. Common applications include assembly, material handling, lab automation, and packaging.”

E-commerce and order success

At Yaskawa Motoman’s sales space, the corporate demonstrated its new robotic automation answer (2) for quick and correct parcel induction and singulation in dynamic order success settings. Simply built-in with a variety of conventional sortation and packaging purposes, the corporate’s custom-made robotic options can facilitate fluid piece choosing and inserting of things onto conveyors for fast materials dealing with of containers, polybags, and padded envelopes of various sizes.

Working at the sales space was a robotic parcel induction workcell outfitted with a high-speed six-axis GP12 robotic. Highlighting high-volume functionality, the GP12 gives a 1,440-mm horizontal attain, a 2,511-mm vertical attain, and a 12-kg payload capability. Clever 3D scene capturing, using a Zivid Two 3D digicam, mixed with Fizyr AI picture processing—which proposes a number of grasp poses—permits single robotic choose charges of 1,000 to 1,700/hr.

Integrating an clever 3D scene-capturing answer is simplified by the Yaskawa Notion Possibility Package deal. This software program configuration bundle permits integrators, distributors, and clients to make the most of all kinds of third-party notion merchandise which are wanted for complicated software assist. Together with features for Relative Job, PMT (Place Modification for Software Deformation), Macro Job, and 3D Shift, the Notion Possibility Package deal options MotoPlus runtime, which offers real-time entry and communication with the robotic controller and permits interplay with any computing gadget.

Photo 3—ABBPhotograph 3—ABBThe GP12 robotic featured at the sales space was being managed by the YRC1000 controller, which is constructed to a world normal and doesn’t require a transformer for enter voltages starting from 380 VAC to 480 VAC. With a extremely compact cupboard (598 mm W x 490 mm H x 427 mm D), the YRC1000 makes use of a light-weight train pendant with intuitive programming.

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One more instance of elevated packaging automation muscle within the success middle and e-commerce house got here from ABB, which debuted its new Robotic Merchandise Picker (3) at the present. The Merchandise Picker helps clients automate order choosing and sorter induction operations, and it fulfills ABB’s imaginative and prescient of a totally automated warehouse by combining automated storage with automated order choosing, the corporate says.

“This is a fantastic new application that we’re unveiling here at PACK EXPO,” Ali Raja, international advertising and gross sales director, ABB, says. “It’s powered by ABB’s own AI software, some of the latest techniques in machine vision, and of course, our famous robot planning. All of that in combination allows us to be the fastest item picker on the market. We’re achieving peak throughput of 1,500 picks per hour.”

Goal clients embrace system integrators serving e-commerce, logistics, healthcare, and CPG. It additionally takes goal at end-user clients in 3PL, e-commerce, and success facilities, all to serve widespread purposes corresponding to order choosing, replenishment, receipt choosing, and trend sorting.

Raja says the Robotic Merchandise Picker offers excessive choosing high quality of 99%+, that means no double picks and no dropped gadgets. He says it additionally gives ease of use and it’s simple to combine. Plus it has easy-to-operate software management configuration and parametrization for integrators and complicated, but intuitive controls for end-users. He additionally claims finest in school Photo 4—BastianPhotograph 4—Bastianprice/efficiency ratio.

Based on an organization launch, ABB’s internally developed AI Resolution offers unprecedented accuracy in choosing gadgets from unstructured surroundings. It additionally permits for prime throughput software, once more as much as 1,500/hour, due to decreased computing time. The superior software program leverages synthetic intelligence, permitting the robotic to study 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.

Previous to integration, the robotic merchandise choosing system’s scope of provide consists of a totally built-in Purposeful Module together with robotic, gripper, imaginative and prescient field, AI-based imaginative and prescient software program, and software management software program.

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Autonomous product choosing

The results of a decade of R&D, the Bastian Options SmartPick fuses a warehouse execution system with a six-axis robotic, machine imaginative and prescient, and superior synthetic intelligence (AI) to create an autonomous product choosing system (4).

Photo 5—EnSightPhotograph 5—EnSightThis development in robotic order success gives clients sooner, extra correct orders whereas answering the necessity for a extra dependable answer that may develop alongside operations—turning a goods-to-person (GTP) system into an environment friendly goods-to-robot (GTR) system.

Bastian Options offered its first vision-driven bin-picking robotic again in 2010. It relied on a pre-trained imaginative and prescient platform, transporting merchandise from one stationary bin to a different. The corporate has improved on these capabilities significantly since then, and might now choose a posh assortment of merchandise from the again finish of a GTP system with 99% accuracy.

“The key to the SmartPick is the autonomy—the ability to route orders through our warehouse execution system down to the robot autonomously with pickable products for the robot to handle,” says Steven Hogg, purposes engineering supervisor for Bastian Options. “We also have an AI-based vision system that has deep machine learning to where we can learn on the fly—we don’t have to pre-program any of the images in, and the vision system continuously improves as it picks.” On the coronary heart of the system is a robotic piece-picking system with custom-designed end-of-arm instruments that may adapt to all kinds of product shapes, sizes, and surfaces, he provides.

The system integrates seamlessly with Bastian’s ML2 autonomous cellular robotic (AMR). “It is designed to be autonomously routed throughout the warehouse facility or throughout the manufacturing facility to deliver products to various manufacturing lines or also order fulfillment,” Hogg says. “It can have a static stand on top of the AMR or a conveyor to route totes between the various production lines.”Photo 6—OSAROPhotograph 6—OSARO

The AI and bodily methods combine with Exacta, the corporate’s proprietary intralogistics software program, to allow the cells to run with increased autonomy. “This is what is driving the orders being brought down to the autoserve port,” Hogg says. “This right here is showing the bin that’s being delivered to the workstation. The robot is working in the background to start and stop the cell. We go to the individual bin and are picking pieces out and are placing to the AMR ML2.”

SmartPick is a turnkey GTR success system that will increase choosing throughput, adjusts to labor availability, reduces choosing errors, permits for twenty-four/7 automated operations, and improves buyer satisfaction.

Watch a video of the system in motion.

In a pattern towards meals processors designating much less house for his or her palletizing operations, EnSight Options has developed a fenceless robotic palletizer (5) that will get the job finished in a footprint of simply 12 x 5 ft. The system combines Sick security sensors with a Stäubli collaborative robotic (cobot) to remove the necessity for fencing.

“With our area scanners, as the robot moves, you have a warning area where the light will turn yellow. It’ll move the robot very slowly,” explains Heath Clifton, director of automation and controls for EnSight Options. “As you walk in closer, you’ll get a red area, which is a safety stop for the robot. As you move back out of the area, it’ll slowly start speeding up. And then once you get Photo 7—CamaPhoto 7—Camainto the green area, it’ll move back to its full speed.”

Not like normal robots, the payloads that cobots can deal with are usually smaller. The Staübli cobot, nevertheless, permits bigger payloads.  “The thing that differentiates our cobot palletizer from others is it can lift up to 75 pounds,” Clifton says. “If we’re doing a single pick, we can pick up to 18 boxes a minute. But with a 75-pound weight limit, we can pick up multiple boxes at a time to hit a higher rate.”

Stäubli additionally has cobot choices with hygiene requirements appropriate for meals processing areas. “One of the great options about our palletizer is that it’s a full stainless-steel design,” Clifton says. “We’re using a Stäubli robot, so it’s a full washdown robot as well. It’s a great application for the food industry. You can put it in a full washdown room if you’re palletizing in there, or a secondary pack application that’s wipe-down.”

Watch a video of the system in motion.

How about labor-saving in e-comm?Photo 8—MGSPhotograph 8—MGS

Speak about labor-saving automation within the e-commerce house, think about what was on show at PACK EXPO International at the Sealed Air sales space. It comes from OSARO, particularly the OSARO imaginative and prescient system for robotic pick-and-place. On this software (6), a Fanuc M10/12 small-payload robotic arm and a Cognex imaginative and prescient system for barcode scanning group as much as exchange a historically guide success middle exercise, particularly the choosing and inserting of variable merchandise into polybag or paper mailers.

On this system, “we are recognizing the [variable] items, we are determining the right grasp for the item, we pick the item, and we place it directly into the Sealed Air 850 autobagging system,” Tracy Perdue, VP of Gross sales at OSARO informed PW at the sales space. “The value of this system is obviously time and money. With the labor shortage the way it is today, people are looking for robotics and an alternate way of doing things. This can run three shifts and exhibits high performance—it can pick at the rate of a human, or higher.” Automated EoaT change can be a characteristic of this technique.

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Monobloc cartoning, case packing

A singular system for robotic cartoning and case packing in a monobloc system (7) was demonstrated at the Cama sales space. First is a carton forming module adopted by a imaginative and prescient system that detects the place of the merchandise to be picked by the robots. Within the demonstration at Cama’s PACK EXPO sales space, the merchandise being cartoned was a pie shell in an aluminum tray overwrapped in versatile movie. As soon as the carton is loaded, it advances right into a closing system that includes a 2-axis robotic. Cartons are then gathered in a amassing gadget the place they’re grouped and stacked previous to insertion into the corrugated case. Stacked cartons are pushed right into a corrugated case that has been pulled from {a magazine} and erected. Case flaps are then closed and sealed by sizzling soften adhesive. Open-flap detection ensures that any case with an open flap will probably be rejected.

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Photo 9—PMIPhotograph 9—PMIMaking its debut at PACK EXPO International was the compact and extremely versatile Matrix TL case packer (8) from MGS, a Coesia firm. Based on MGS product portfolio supervisor A.J. Lee, the MGS top-load case packer includes a Festo gantry-style robotic loading arm. “It’s proven technology in the gantry style, and since it can handle a 40-pound payload at full speed it gives us a good operating range,” says Lee. “In designing this machine, we focused on leveraging proven functionality that we’ve had in our case packers over the years, including the ability to maintain positive control of the case while offering strong product handling and transport functions. It also has a balcony-style design, so it’s a very open machine, easy to get into for servicing and maintenance.”

The Matrix TL, which made its official debut at PACK EXPO, is very notable for its small footprint: 160.6 in. lengthy by 90.3 in. vast. As for throughput, it’s designed to succeed in 15 instances/min usually however for sure purposes it could actually go as excessive as 20 instances/min.

One other sturdy emphasis was versatility, and in reality the Matrix TL can deal with case sizes from 4 x 5 x 6 in. all the best way as much as 16 x 16 x 12 in. Built-in into the machine working at the present was a 3M taper, however adhesive case sealing can be an choice, says Lee.

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From PMI Kyoto comes a model new KTB -100 case packer (9) that’s an all-in-one, compact, absolutely built-in system—case erection, robotic case loading, and case sealing by both tape or glue. Working at about 15 instances/min, the system makes use of machine imaginative and prescient expertise to detect product place, and quite a lot of finish effectors can be utilized relying on the character of the product to be picked and packed.Photo 10—Douglas MachinePhotograph 10—Douglas Machine

This top-load case packer is simply 15 ft lengthy. A key attribute is its versatility, as it could actually deal with cans, cartons, or standup pouches full of both granular or liquid product.

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New at the Douglas Machine sales space was the INSITE E30T case erector (10), which depends on a SCARA robotic and Rockwell controls to choose case blanks from {a magazine} and erect them. Based on Todd Davis, supervisor of Douglas’ INSITE Packaging Automation, this new machine is notable for the large discount within the variety of components it requires in comparison with comparable items accessible at the moment. With 50-60% fewer components comes simplification in operation, upkeep, and machine accessibility on this walk-in-style erector, says Davis. “And because we build and control our own robot, we can create a recipe and change it over to a new case size within five minutes,” provides Davis.

The machine has a complete of 11 adjustment factors. Good options embrace digital case squaring, the place picture eyes above either side belt measure either side of the case to make sure that the entrance panel is perpendicular to the facet panel. The E30T runs at speeds to 30 instances/min and is just about maintenance-free because the bearings on the machine are “lubed for life.” The one upkeep factors are vacuum cups, facet belts, and a tape head.

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Robosorter for Pumps, Set off Sprayers

Photo 11—ArolPhotograph 11—ArolThe Tirellli Robosorter (11) from Arol Group makes use of a Stäubli robotic to mechanically choose and place pumps or set off sprayers from an infeed conveyor. A imaginative and prescient system from Cognex detects the place gadgets on the belted infeed conveyor are positioned and sends that information to the robotic. As soon as the half is picked, it’s fed right into a chute resulting in a traditional pump placer.

Arol is positioning the Robosorter as an alternative choice to the standard pocket sorter broadly used at the moment. These sorters have a rotating disk into whose pockets a pump or set off sprayer falls with its dip tube pointing downward. Because the disk continues to rotate, the pump or set off sprayer falls down a chute resulting in crammed bottles beneath. “There’s a lot of mechanisms and components in such a system,” says Dan Waldron, gross sales supervisor at Arol North America. “If a customer needs to run 500 containers a minute, the pocket sorter is the way to go. But a number of companies are also looking for an option where speeds of 40 bottles a minute is acceptable as long as quick changeover is possible and minimal change parts are involved. That’s where the Robosorter fits in. And speeds can be in the range of 80 a minute if we combine two robots.”

The Robosorter, says Arol, reduces noise air pollution and power consumption because it doesn’t use compressed air.  As well as, the system can improve flexibility and scale back the time of format change from 25 minutes to three. And since so few components are wanted for a format change, the price of components is claimed to be considerably decrease than what’s widespread within the business.Photo 12—SiemensPhotograph 12—Siemens

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Democratizing AI

Synthetic intelligence purposes have been rising quickly in quite a lot of industrial applied sciences, starting from information analytics and high quality inspections to autonomous cellular robots. Now the expertise is being utilized to robotic greedy purposes to allow correct choosing and inserting of random objects in unstructured and altering environments.

Siemens says it’s working to “democratize artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotics by encapsulating systems for complex problems in easy-to-use software.” To this finish, the corporate is growing an as-yet-to-be-named software program expertise designed to be used by system integrators and OEMs to create cost-effective, superior AI-driven piece-picking methods that may “reliably pick and place objects that are unknown to the system at runtime.”

Conventional automated pick-and-place methods comply with fastened, pre-programmed routines in a structured setting. Making use of AI permits robotics to carry out generic duties in unstructured and dynamically altering environments.

Explaining how the expertise Siemens is growing differs from using 3D imaginative and prescient to allow robots to choose and place random objects, Dr. Eugen Solowjow, head of the Robotics & AI Analysis Group at Siemens, says, “picking and placing unknown objects is still relatively new. It has existed for, at most, two years in the market and, up until now, has not been very commonly distributed. These existing systems rely on AI—more precisely Deep Neural Network technology—to randomly pick oriented objects that are known to the system during setup and/or engineering.

Thus, the key differentiator with the developing Siemens technology is its ability to pick unknown objects.

According to Siemens, this new software will enable users to move from using robotic systems with static pick points to AI-driven piece-picking robots in less than an hour. Setup for the system is accomplished in four steps: Set the robot arm and related end-of-arm tooling to move safely to static pick-and-place points; mount the 3D camera; install the Siemens software for piece picking on the target runtime hardware of choice; follow the guided setup via the user interface for calibration.

With these steps implemented, calculated pick points are then continuously provided to the robot motion program, enabling the robot to grasp any object.

Photo 13—AagardPhoto 13—Aagard“The set up takes only 30 minutes through an easy and straightforward calibration process,” stated Solowjow. “The user interface is very simple and clear.”

Goal purposes for this expertise embrace order success operations with a excessive variety of SKUs requiring 500-1,200 picks per hour, corresponding to goods-to-person tote choosing, conveyor induction and sortation in e-commerce, e-grocery warehouse automation, and meals and beverage packaging.

Inputs to the Siemens pre-trained, AI-powered imaginative and prescient software program within the PLC come from the 3D digicam’s level cloud, with the output being the grasp pose for any object at runtime. A Siemens HMI is used to interface with the PLC and software program; and Siemens TIA Portal can be utilized to program your entire system—Siemens PLC and HMI in addition to the robots, imaginative and prescient system, and gripper.

The Siemens AI-driven piece-picking system additionally offers for collision avoidance for all actions within the robotic workspace, permits robots to grasp challenges corresponding to dealing with tightly packed containers utilizing low-cost 3D cameras, and reduces errors by options corresponding to automated bin detection.

“We pretrain the AI skill for grasping using simulation,” says Solowjow. “Similar to a human, the AI learns how to grasp in general—as opposed to specific objects—so that grasping of unknown or previously unseen objects is possible.”

The Siemens AI choosing software program is robotic and end-of-arm tooling agnostic. In its exhibit at PACK EXPO International (12), Siemens used a KUKA Agilus KR3 robotic and a Robotiq EPick vacuum gripper to reveal the expertise.Photo 14—Precision AutomationPhotograph 14—Precision Automation


Subtle variety-pack capabilities (13) had been on show at the Aagard sales space. That’s the place a Comau robotic powered by Rockwell controls—stated to be the primary such mixture within the packaging house—was choosing three completely different gadgets from the movers of a Rockwell iTrack linear servo motor system and inserting them in a provider within the order specified by an operator at the HMI. That HMI, says purposes engineering supervisor Jonas Capistrant, was the Rockwell ASEM 6300 HMI. A brand new automation arrow within the Aagard quiver, it permits Aagard to supply extra options, together with higher analytics and the power to play coaching movies, whereas providing an improved HMI expertise throughout.

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Collaborating on labeling system

Precision Automation selected PACK EXPO International to focus on its automation experience, presenting an answer (14) for the robotic software of a multi-page label onto a bundle. The system mixed a Zebra ZT620 industrial printer, a collaborative robotic, and the MultiPlex Enclosed Packing Listing label from Chicago Tag & Label.

The MultiPlex self-adhesive label can embrace as much as 15 sheets, permitting customers so as to add promotional and reward messages, packing lists, return labels, and different data, into one built-in label. With the Precision Automation system, the MultiPlex label is printed and disbursed onto a steel tray, from which the cobot arm picks it up and applies it to a transport case. Based on Steve Huvane, high quality, advertising, and gross sales assist for Precision Automation, the cobot arm can place the label wherever on the bundle.

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Watch associated video on Chicago Tag & Label’s MultiPlex labeling answer.

On show at the Capmatic sales space was the Galaxy Platform (15), a powerful demonstration of a number of packaging capabilities generally referred to as for within the life sciences business.  Every of those capabilities was being executed at considered one of 5 stations alongside the kind of oval-shaped monitor of a B&R Industrial Automation ACOPOStrak linear servo motor module. Alongside its monitor had been unbiased movers that carried varied containers to the stations they wanted to succeed in.

Photo 15—CapmaticPhotograph 15—CapmaticEach mover had a bar code on it, and at the start of the demo cycle this bar code received scanned for track-and-trace functions. Within the first demo station, a Stäubli robotic picked a vial from one of many ACOPOStrak movers and positioned it in a Wipotec high-precision load cell for weight verification. Within the subsequent station, a Capmatic counter counted 30 small beads right into a funnel that discharged them right into a vial carried on a mover. Within the subsequent station, a second Stäubli robotic picked a multi-cavity plate from an Acopos mover and positioned it beneath a Capmatic peristaltic pump that simulated every cavity being crammed by the pump. The multi-cavity plate was then carried to a degree additional forward on the ACOPOStrak and positioned on a ready ACOPOStrak mover.

Within the last station on the demo, an ACOPOStrak mover holding a capped vial paused beneath a pressure-sensitive labeling unit to simulate software of a label to the highest of every cap.

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Largest cobot but

Common Robots selected PACK EXPO because the place to unveil the UR20 (16), the largest cobot within the agency’s choices up to now. Particularly appropriate for palletizing, the UR20 being demonstrated at the sales space was put collectively by cobot integrator Robotiq and featured Robotiq’s vacuum gripper.Photo 16—Universal RobotsPhotograph 16—Common Robots

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Based on Common Robots’ Joe Campbell, senior supervisor, strategic advertising & purposes improvement, the UR20 options redesigned joint expertise that makes it simpler than ever to keep up. It handles a payload as much as 44 lb. and has a attain of 1,750 mm (5.75 ft).

Among the many robotic palletizing integrators desirous to leverage the capabilities of the UR20 is Columbia/Okura LLC. The UR20 will probably be a part of the brand new Columbia/Okura miniPAL+, to be launched as an built-in system in 2023. The compact design of miniPAL options an built-in lifting column for tall masses, twin stacking places for steady load constructing, built-in fork pockets that make it simple to reposition it inside a plant, and space scanners and strain mats for extra security.

Cobots from Common Robots characteristic compatibility with Pally software program from Rocketfarm. A palletizing software program that not solely optimizes case configuration and working pace but additionally gives a digital twin simulation instrument, it’s licensed to work seamlessly with the UR robots by the UR+ platform. Pally’s digital twin simulation instrument was being highlighted on the miniPAL 2.0 that was working at Columbia/Okura’s PACK EXPO sales space. Columbia/Okura president Brian Hutton explains what was being demonstrated.

Photo 17—FormicPhotograph 17—Formic“What we were demonstrating physically with the miniPAL running in our booth we were also running virtually on a big screen display,” says Hutton. “The software has the ability to rapidly incorporate new case dimensions, new pattern configurations, new pattern shapes, and new productivity requirements. So we’re able to enter these new parameters and watch, virtually, to see if any of them are going to be detrimental to the operation of the actual palletizer. It’s a way of quickly determining if a new pattern or speed or case will work or not. Without this software, you’re looking at a lot of trial and error, a lot of building things out and physically testing them. Instead of that, the software lets you just put in a set of parameters and have the software run the algorithms to determine ‘can this reach or lift or speed be done or not?’”

One other factor about Rocketfarm’s Pally software program is how user-friendly it’s, says Michael Stuyvesant, director of gross sales at Columbia Okura. “The Pallyscope user interface is a touch pad,” says Stuyvesant. “There’s no need for any special language or training, if you will, so it’s easy to change patterns or speeds or case sizes.”

When requested for a latest instance of how the Pally software program proved helpful to an finish consumer buyer, Rocketfarm pointed to Nortura Sogndal, considered one of Norway’s largest meat producers. An early adaptor of Common Robots’ options, Nortura put in its earliest cobots in 2015. By 2020, the agency noticed a must improve end-of-line manufacturing and reached out to Rocketfarm to listen to what may be finished. By Pally’s digital twin simulation, Rocketfarm was capable of make an upfront verification that Nortura may enhance efficiency by 30%.Photo 18—ONExiaPhotograph 18—ONExia

Watch a video abstract of how the Nortura Sogndal undertaking unfolded.

Robotics as a service

In a transfer meant to take away the limitations of automation for small and mid-size producers, robotic start-up Formic, based in 2020, is constructing a robotics-as-a-service enterprise mannequin that democratizes automation to make it extra inexpensive and accessible.

Shopping for a robotic could be a pricy proposition requiring rather more than simply the preliminary {hardware} funding. After shopping for, say, a 40,000 robotic, the extra value of integration with different equipment can escalate the full funding to upwards of200,000. That’s cost-prohibitive for a lot of producers.

Having labored within the robotic business for years, Formic co-founder Misa Ilkhechi additionally acknowledged that producers are struggling to search out labor. Formic was created to unravel these issues. The corporate takes over the design and deployment of turnkey robotic methods and expenses clients an hourly charge vs. an upfront funding. Which means producers solely pay for operational output with efficiency ensures and limitless 24/7 service.

“We are a financing meets service meets robotics company,” Ilkhechi says. “Our business has to have all three working well, because at the end of the day the customer is not buying a machine or components, they are buying productivity.”

Charging an hourly charge for a robotic is rather like hiring an individual, however with the built-in assure that the machine will run. Every machine Formic provides contains an edge gadget that sends machine information again to the Formic service group, who proactively resolve issues earlier than downtime occurs. That is necessary for the shopper and necessary for Formic. “In order for us to make money our machine has to work,” Ilkhechi says.

The corporate companions with robotic suppliers and machine builders to construct {custom} turnkey methods. The plan is to have a big portfolio of robots, with the primary being the SL20 Palletizer (17) launched at PACK EXPO.

Photo 19—VmecaPhotograph 19—VmecaKey options of the SL20 Palletizer embrace:

• Robotic palletizing system designed for end-of-line packaging processes

• Small footprint (10×12’)

• Palletizes as much as 20 instances/min

• Lifts as much as 20kg/cycle

• Confirmed to soundly work alongside individuals

• Deployable in lower than eight weeks

• Constructed by Sourcelink Options LLC, primarily based across the Yaskawa HC Sequence collaborative robotic

The SL20 is offered now with a six-month trial interval accessible for first-time clients.

Along with small and medium-sized producers, the Formic robots are appropriate for co-manufacturers and co-packers which are coping with a whole bunch of SKUs and wish flexibility.


Extra producers are turning to palletizing operations with collaborative robots (cobots), and ONExia is a system integrator that has made it simpler for its shoppers to make use of cobots as a drop-in alternative for end-of-line employees. With the drag-and-drop software program that comes with the PalletizHD collaborative palletizing system (18), anyone can program the cobot simply to attain the specified palletizing operations.

Tim Pelesky, advertising supervisor for ONExia, was at PACK EXPO to reveal how simple it’s to arrange the system. Customers have full management of your entire system by the embedded touchscreen on the PalletizHD lifter base. To create a program, a consumer can contact the display screen to pick out a brand new pallet configuration, after which add field dimensions (weight, size, width, and peak) and pallet dimensions (size and width). “We also offer a box edge gap in the event that you’re worried that your boxes might not be completely uniform or your pallet configuration requires it,” Pelesky says, noting the power additionally to create a reference edge. “We also offer the ability to do a dual pick in the event that you want to pick two boxes at one time using the 38-pound payload.”

As soon as the field and pallet parameters are entered, it’s time to create your pallet configuration. “To get started to create your first layer, press the plus, hit Edit Layer, and your boxes are on the screen ready to go. All you’ve got to do is drag and drop them into place. There’s no programming; nothing like that,” Pelesky says. “Once you’ve completed your entire layer, you’re able to center it left and right and up and down to make sure the robot’s going to place a good and tight pallet configuration.”

After the primary layer is created, it’s simple to repeat and paste it as the following layer or customise every layer in another way.Photo 20—Nalle AutomationPhotograph 20—Nalle Automation

“The last step in building this pallet is we have to teach certain points because we’re not using any integrated vision,” Pelesky says. Simply two factors must be taught—the nesting place, the place the field comes from the infeed conveyor; and the first-place place on one of many pallets.

“You would then come over, hit that button where the position’s taught, and then you’re able to mirror it on the other side,” Pelesky says. “The last step would be to press Save, go back Home, and all of your pallet configurations are there, ready to go, on the fly, and can be adjusted as production changes within the line.”

Customers can simply save and recall completely different pallet configurations primarily based on manufacturing calls for.

Watch a video of the system.

 Magic Gripper

Vmeca, a PACK EXPO International exhibitor primarily based in South Korea that makes a speciality of compressed air pushed vacuum pumps, suction cups, and different equipment, launched its Magic Gripper head (19) at the present. Appropriate for being hooked up to both an industrial robotic or a cobot, it has a decentralized vacuum that lets it use as many or as few grippers as an software wants. Appropriate for cartons, instances, or versatile packages, it additionally includes a silencing expertise that deadens among the noise historically generated in compressed air purposes.

Watch a associated video.

Automating components dealing with

The Mantis Robotic Trim Press Handler from Nalle Automation Programs (NAS), a subsidiary of BMG, a thermoforming, tooling, Photo 21—StarviewPhotograph 21—Starviewand automation options supplier, is a robotic automated system (20) that reliably handles the stream of components ejected from trim presses, particularly for the thermoforming business. The robotic is designed to be compact, intuitive, and a configurable system that permits full automation of your entire thermoforming course of—from resin to palletized product—for medium- to high-volume manufacturing strains utilizing both non-servo steady stream or servo-driven lengthy eject trim presses.

Beforehand, components ejected from non-servo trim presses wanted to be manually separated and counted, which was a labor-intensive, error-prone, and inconsistent course of that restricted the automation of downstream packaging features. NAS strives to resolve this downside with the patent-pending Trim Press Receiver (TPR) which makes use of a separating mechanism to rely and comprise stacks of product, adopted by a raking mechanism to take the product into the receiver for switch by the robotic.

“Consistent and reliable separation of product on a continuously flowing, non-servo eject trim press was the key to the development of Mantis,” says Kurt Huelsman, president of NAS. “The design of the receiver coupled with NAS’s robotic automation capabilities brings a safe, productive, and cost-effective solution to a historically very manual process.”

The TPR presents the components to a six-axis robotic outfitted with product matching end-of-arm tooling that in flip mechanically transfers the product to a shuttle station, which integrates with downstream packaging features which will embrace wrapping, boxing, case packing, sealing, and palletizing. Incorporating the robotic permits the Mantis system to be very compact and configurable, making set up attainable the place the accessible ground house is restricted or obstructed.

Product containment all through the method reduces jams and product loss. Further highlights embrace VeriTool RFID instrument verification (patent pending), little to no product contamination, easy intuitive controls, product isolation, and reject by HMI.

“The key benefit to the product line is that the specific tooling matches up to the trim press die that allows for complete product containment throughout the process. The robot is used in order to have complete flexibility in layout so it can fit into any plant’s design. We can move it around to make it work at your site,” says Huelsman.

The Mantis Robotic Trim Press Handler is appropriate with all trim presses, together with BMG manufacturers Brown and Lyle. The absolutely automated system can scale back labor necessities by as much as 75% and the modular robotic design permits for instrument changeovers in underneath an hour.

Watch a associated video.

Built-in methods

At Starview Packaging’s PACK EXPO International sales space, one emphasis was on the form of complete automation that may be delivered to a rotary blister packaging system by integrating further packaging equipment features. Assume robotic product loading, laser coding, and 100% code inspection.Photo 22—PBCPhotograph 22—PBC

“The demand for automation is higher than ever,” says Director of Gross sales and Advertising and marketing Rob van Gilse, “mostly because customers don’t want to first look for and then rely on people to perform packaging tasks. So customers who were running semi-automatic want to go automatic, and the ones who were already pretty automated want to go further by adding robotic feeding of products, for example, or automated vision inspection.”

A superb instance of the form of system van Gilse is speaking about is the Mannequin BSC 18-1418 (21), a rotary blister packing machine with 18 stations with a rated pace of about 18 cycles/min. The sequence of operation is choosing and inserting of paperboard entrance card, insertion of clear blister into card, robotic product loading due to a Mitsubishi Electrical RV-FR Sequence 6-axis robotic, then placement of the paperboard backing card. But in addition built-in into the system is a Videojet Xtract Professional Laser Marking System that provides monitoring information by lot quantity and date, and a Keyence OCR Imaginative and prescient System with CV-X322F  SR-2000 Code Reader that checks the bar code on the again card to confirm that every one supplies are right. As for controls integration, that comes courtesy of Omron. Based on van Gilse, the 6-axis articulated robotic arm is a high-speed sturdy part that may deal with quite a lot of buyer wants, which makes it best for packaging purposes. He added that the system on show at PACK EXPO is headed for a maker of medical units.

Storage and retrieval

A well-liked theme at PACK EXPO International appeared to be corporations that developed methods to unravel issues in their very own manufacturing environments after which determined to promote it exterior their corporations after clients noticed what they’d finished and wished it for themselves. One such answer is an automatic storage and retrieval system (ASRS) that PBC Linear developed (22) to take care of its personal wrestle to search out the labor it wanted at its bearing manufacturing facility in Roscoe, Unwell.

“We were struggling to find people to work, so we brought cobots [collaborative robots] in-house,” says Tim Stellmacher, vp of gross sales and improvement for PBC Linear. “But there was still a lot of manual labor needed to bring the trays to the cobot.”

PBC Linear discovered {that a} single tray of components didn’t reap the benefits of a cobot’s potential. When operators get pulled away to are likely to different duties or change shifts, a cobot may expertise appreciable downtime. PBC Linear developed a system to feed a number of cobots. By aiding robots with constant loading and unloading of fabric components trays throughout the robot-accessible work space, the ASRS addresses the issue of discovering sufficient employees to have a tendency machines. The ASRS eliminates the necessity to manually exchange components trays, permitting for enhanced robotic automation and lights-out manufacturing.

The Cobot Feeder from Utilized Cobotics—an arm of PBC Linear that gives automation options—includes a vertical lead screw-driven shelf and a horizontal tray loader/unloader with correct, repeatable movement. PBC Linear can present trays which are thermoformed for specific components—feeding CNCs, lathes, mills, grinders, and different machines with obligatory components. The repeatable motion of the Cobot Feeder along side the components trays leads to constant robotic efficiency.

With the Cobot Feeder, robots can now run longer unattended initiatives, embrace a better mixture of components, and in the end obtain lights-out manufacturing.Photo 23—EconocorpPhotograph 23—Econocorp

Every Cobot Feeder base bundle comes with a dunnage tray rack tower that’s engineered to securely lock in place with the ASRS. It may maintain as much as 17 trays, eliminating the necessity for a employee to periodically take away and reload materials from the cobot work zone. It additionally gives open-spaced shelving that accommodates varied half sizes as much as 18 in. tall, and it gives station-to-station mobility.

An ordinary fastened robotic mount gives 45 deg of adjustability and a {custom} bolt sample that’s appropriate with any cobot/robotic. The robotic mount could be upgraded to a extra versatile swivel stand that provides 4 occasions the quantity of adjustability over the usual mannequin. This implies a robotic could be moved to completely different angles shortly and precisely.

PBC Linear has been partnering with Common Robots (UR), Stellmacher says, and has been engaged on acquiring UR+ certification. The UR+ ecosystem offers entry to kits, parts, grippers, software program, and security equipment that combine seamlessly with UR’s cobots.

A P&G Utility

On the Econocorp sales space we noticed an actual, branded software. It was the corporate’s E-2000 automated horizontal carton erecting and cartoning tools, and it was cartoning foil pouches utilizing a Fanuc LR Mate sequence of light-weight robots (23).

“This was an application that we did for P&G’s Tide brand washing machine cleaner,” stated Sam Goldberg at the present. “The packets can be randomly placed on the infeed conveyor, where we are snapping a picture with a camera [vision] telling the robot how and where to pick up the product.”

The foil pouches are loaded into the cartoner’s loading bucket in a reciprocating sample, three at a time for a three-pack carton. Product is then mechanically push-loaded into the erected carton, which is lastly sealed with adhesive to move for case packing or different downstream operations.

Watch a associated video.

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The Obsessed Guy
Hi, I'm The Obsessed Guy and I am passionate about artificial intelligence. I have spent years studying and working in the field, and I am fascinated by the potential of machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. I love exploring how these technologies are being used to solve real-world problems and am always eager to learn more. In my spare time, you can find me tinkering with neural networks and reading about the latest AI research.


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