17 June 2016 //
by Ken Carter
A robotic system is often a practical solution for a secondary packaging line because it addresses common packaging challenges. However, before you say you need a robot, you first need to have a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished on your packaging line. Watch the video to learn more.
Robots per say, they’re extremely adept at handling in multiple angles and positions. If you want to pick something up, turn it over, turn it around, realign it, something like that, then you’ve almost got to use robots. But there are a lot of misconceptions.
We’ve seen it on numerous occasions where we get a specification: how they want to put so many units in a package, how big those units are, how big of a package they want. And then in the future they want to modify that. They want to put more units or less units in the package, or they want to use bigger unit sizes to start off with and that type of thing.
The perception is that a robot is extremely versatile. It is in certain ways, but all robots have a working envelope. Once you go outside that working envelope it’s a different robot.
So we see a lot of people come to us and say they think they should have a robot, when they can’t really define what their working envelope is—what they want to do now, what they might want to do in the future. They cannot be specified well enough. So, rather than say “I want to use a robot,” decide on what you want to do before you actually decide how you’re going to do it.
The particular robots that we use are simply programmed through the HMI (human machine interface) on the machine, so you don’t have to have a robot technician any more. That really helps the versatility (of the equipment).
You know one of the ones we’ve just done using a robot were actually bags. And they were bags of grass seeds and other seeds. Now, when we went into that (project) we didn’t realize that there are different densities for the different types of seeds. Now, they were obvious once we started to learn about it.
Because the customer wanted to use reasonably the same size bag, and sometimes a bag was two inches thick and sometimes it was half an inch thick, the robot literally had to feel the height of the bag before it could pick it up. Robots are great at doing that type of thing.
Again, that’s the versatility of a robot. It has a lot of intelligence that we can build into it in the control system.