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Collaborative robots from Universal Robots (Ann Arbor, MI) are available for blow molding and high-mix/low-volume production operations in reduced-footprint applications.

PlasticsToday Staff

April 24, 2018

4 Min Read
Cobots featured in new palletizing, sealing and bulk-box-loading applications at NPE2018

Collaborative robots pioneer Universal Robots (Ann Arbor, MI) will show at NPE2018 in Orlando May 7-11 how this class of robots—now the fastest growing segment of industrial automation—effortlessly and inexpensively automate tasks in the plastics industry, a rapidly expanding market for the cobots.

It’s the company’s first year at NPE.

New trends in composite part fabrication, blow molding and high-mix/low-volume production are boosting demand for advanced manufacturing methods with cobots—robots that work safely with humans—being front and center.

On display at NPE2018 in the UR booth S27189 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, will be the new Kanga Poucher from RND Automation & Engineering (Sarasota, FL).

Kanga is a vertical form/fill/seal pouching system that forms four-sided pouches for the medical device, pharmaceutical and durable goods industries. The system integrates with a UR cobot loading products into the pouches before the fourth, top seal is made after the product is indexed through the sealing gasket.

“Collaborative robots from Universal Robots reduce or eliminate the need for guarding, which means a significantly reduced footprint,” says Sean Dotson, President and CEO, RND Automation & Engineering. “The fully customizable robots fill our customers’ unique packaging needs. They also stop safely upon operator contact and can be moved with minimal force.”

Another system utilizing the small footprint and safety benefits of UR cobots featured at Universal Robots’ NPE booth is the Bulk Box Loader from Dyco Inc. (Bloomsburg, PA), “We are getting a lot of requests from our customers to integrate Universal Robots throughout the blow molding process. End of line packaging is just one example of their numerous applications” says Mark Lovelace, Sales Manager with Dyco that also offers a tray loading/palletizing system with UR cobots. “We selected UR for their robustness and design for use in industrial applications vs. other collaborative robots.”

The integrated safety features of the UR cobots allows Dyco to offer continuous operation as the box loader cell includes two stations; while one box is being exchanged by an operator, the other box is being loaded by the robots. The system, shown loading plastic bottles at NPE, is designed for easy set-up on a self-contained plate that can be redeployed between multiple blow-molding production lines running different bottle and box sizes. The bulk box loader is a fully automated system controlled from the UR interface and a few push buttons.

 “It’s great to see the industry now demanding UR robots for versatile application needs,” says Brian Dillman, Area Sales Manager, UR. “Our product is uniquely positioned to address the pain points of the plastics manufacturers such as tightening labor markets, rapidly changing production lines, and the need to constantly lower overhead costs.”

EastPack 2018 held June 12-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City features the latest in manufacturing and automation, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a jam-packed 3-day packaging conference. For more information, visit the EastPack website.

UR robots will also be exhibited in the following NPE booths:

Cold Jet (Loveland, OH) Booth W483

Cold Jet is the global leader that specializes in innovative dry ice cleaning solutions that improve manufacturing processes. At NPE, the company will be demonstrating a better way to clean molded parts prior to painting. The Cold Jet Combi 120H system is a waterless system that incorporates JIT dry ice production and an integrated blasting system. Cold Jet systems safely and gently removes a variety of contaminants from the molded parts using dry ice, eliminating the need for aqueous and solvent based cleaning methods and the associated large parts drying ovens. The system incorporates a UR10 collaborative robot cleaning automotive mirrors.

Proco Machinery Inc. (Mississauga, Canada) Booth W983

A leading manufacturer of automation systems for the blow molding industry, Proco will showcase the new collaborative robotic Half-Cube Palletizer system and the Robo-Packer. The Half-Cube Palletizer delivers a major cost reduction versus conventional automation as the system automatically palletizes blow molded containers with minimal operator involvement—only manual operations occur when an operator places the trays in the magazine. The system quickly adapts to a variety of packaging configurations, i.e., all neck up or all necks down.

The palletizer is an integrated module supplied with the UR robot arm, infeed conveyor, pallet lift magazine and Slip sheet/Tray pick on a common sub-frame fitted with leveling pads and castor wheels. The Robo-Packer is a breakthrough collaborative robotic automation system that that works interactively with co-workers, requires no special guarding, and needs minimal training for teaching new tasks. The system is supplied with any of the three UR robot models depending on the application and comes at a cost that is 50% less than conventional automation solutions.

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