Packaging Robots: The Game-Changer in Manufacturing

0 50

The traditional manufacturing industry involves conveyors filled with workers, each completing different tasks. Meeting production needs using manual labor is not always practical or efficient for large enterprises, especially in the food handling industry where various hygiene and uniformity criteria must be met. Packaging robots have come as a neatly “packed” gift with high-speed software to help us improve packaging operations.

Let’s dive into the realm of packaging robots to better understand their abilities and upcoming innovations by leading industry players that are reshaping the manufacturing industry.

Which Abilities of Packaging Robots Challenge the ‘Arms’ of Workers?

Packaging robots are intelligent computers equipped with so-called arms that can assist with picking up products, labeling items, sealing packages, moving objects, and performing other tasks. Most robot arms are compact and can fit right into tight manufacturing spaces.

Packaging robots are able to do any case packing process, including opening, transporting, boxing or covering, palletizing, sealing, labeling, and coding products. Stand-alone robots, such as the popular robotic arm, can pick and place or can be integrated into bigger manufacturing processes, such as vehicle assembly lines. These robotic packaging systems complete the entire packing process in a safe, fast, and effective manner.

Secondary packaging uses for robot case packers and carton loaders include putting a carton on the back of a cereal box. These packing stages play a crucial role in the success of any marketing strategy.

The following are some of the benefits of automated packaging robotic systems:

  • Increased efficiency of the packaging process
  • Reduced need for repetitive manual tasks
  • Enhanced occupational health and safety
  • Lower packing costs
  • Less manufacturing waste
  • 24×7 operations without interruptions
  • Wide range of applications
  • Attain high levels of precision and accuracy

How Are Packaging Robots Occupying The Most Space In The Tightly Spaced Manufacturing Industry?

Packaging robots are incredibly versatile and adaptable, as well as find usage in a wide range of packaging tasks. If a task can be automated, such as sorting sausages into packages or palletizing crates in a warehouse, robots can perform it with accuracy and speed.

Here are some of the most common tasks these robots perform in the packaging industry:

●    Pick and Place

Robots are ideal for picking and placing processes in the packaging industry. They perform a variety of pick-and-place operations, such as assembling packaging pieces, placing components or items into packaging, and collecting objects off conveyor belts.

Syntegon, which specializes in processing and packaging technology, recently introduced an addition to its product portfolio called ‘Syntegon RPP’, a new robotic pick & place platform that is devised for product handling, feeding, and loading applications. The technology is modular and thus, creates a customized setup of the robotic cells.

●    Boxing

When products have been manufactured, they can be quickly packaged or boxed into their suitable packaging. Packaging robots perform these boxing duties fast and accurately in an industrial setting.

BluePrint Automation (BPA)’s ‘Spider 200i’ is one such device that allows users to vertically case pack, close, and seal packages into typical RSC or reusable cases all on the same machine.

The Spider 200i, which is designed exclusively for the snack business, employs a multi-axis robot to pick snack bags on the fly and vertically case pack them into a cassette, forming a vertical pack pattern.

●    Depanning

Depanning is one of the more niche tasks that robots perform. The process is carried out right after cooking and before packaging the products. It is utilized extensively in the baking industry.

SPI Automation, an automated technology-based company, has created a Muffin Depanning’ solution that has ‘End of Arm Tooling (EOAT)’. The tool is attached to the robot arms in order to rearrange the position of depanned muffins for the packaging container. Notably, this solution is customizable and hence can fulfill the project requirements.

Similarly, in May 2023, Apex Motion Control, a manufacturer specializing in smart robotics and automation equipment, launched the Flexi-Bot and Flexi-Bot MAX. These robots are designed to work safely and effectively with human workers in various tasks, such as depanning, palletizing, and primary and secondary packaging, improving safety and productivity in manufacturing settings.

●    Palletizing

After a product has been packaged, it is necessary to palletize it for shipping. Packaging robots can palletize large quantities of items fast and safely, preparing them for the next stage of the distribution chain.

Robot Systems, situated in the United States, creates robotic palletizing and depalletizing systems. It uses articulating robot arms that offer greater flexibility and versatility. The robot can palletize bags, cartons, pouches, kegs, barrels, and drums using automatic tool changers. Depending on the throughput rates, the robot can also execute other jobs including sheet placement, pallet placement, and container labeling.

Among the latest cobot debuts are those that can handle greater payloads and can be used in palletizing applications, as well as a unique new machine that is a hybrid of a delta robot and a cobot known as a ‘sidebot.’

●    Inspection and Sorting

Robots can be used to inspect products in warehouses and on production lines. They can inspect the final, packaged products or the goods themselves before packaging. Similarly, robotic sorting devices will assist in transporting products to the appropriate bundles for subsequent packaging. Such systems can be easily scaled without significantly adding staff.

Kindred AI, a U.S.-based startup focusing on building machines with human-like intelligence, has developed a robotic sorting and storage system. This robot, which is equipped with reinforcement learning and proprietary gripping technology, can identify items, differentiate between end heaps, and move them to the designated place. Their systems automate monotonous processes, thereby improving working conditions.

●    Warehouse Work

Automated warehousing can give the manufacturing industry a competitive advantage. Once products have been packed into pallets or containers, transferring pallets can be a time-consuming task, especially when large quantities of products are being warehoused.

Robots can perform a range of warehouse operations that are required for product packing. They are mainly used to move goods or pallets throughout a warehouse, check and service mechanical parts, and perform a variety of other industrial tasks.

Let’s Pack It Together

Automation in manufacturing with the use of packaging robots offers numerous benefits for various industries, including increased efficiency, accuracy, and speed, as well as reduced labor costs and enhanced safety in the workplace.

The evolution of robots in the packaging industry has led to the development of pick and place robots, closing and sealing machines, case packing robots, and more, all of which contribute to a more streamlined and automated packaging process. With ongoing advancements in robotics technology, the future of packaging automation looks promising and is expected to continue to revolutionize the way products are packaged and processed.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.