Using Cobots in the Packaging and Palletising Industries

The number of cobots in packaging has gone up over the years. This is due to an upward trend in both automation and technology improvements in many industries. Using human work force or old-fashioned automation trends may lead to slowing down the production or lowering the quality of the products considering the upsurge in production. Speed, safety and flexibility are the key factors to look at when trying to cope with larger production demands. It is for this reason that many industries are now turning to cobots to make everything easier.

Some of the industries that use cobots for palletising and packaging are food and beverage industries, electronics companies, metal fabrication industries, pharmaceuticals and supermarkets. Cobots can packages both small and large quantities of products. They can handle both fragile and hard products. Universal Robots cobots can easily package trays of eggs as well as cartons of nails. This is because the robots have a smooth six-axis that allows them to support whatever weight they encounter. They have a programming service that allows them to redeploy to every situation where their services are needed.

The advantages of using packaging and palletising cobots

Saves space

The cobots occupy very little space as they are small and very light. This allows for flexibility and easier movement around the workplace. The largest cobot from Universal Robots weigh slightly over 60 kg which makes them still light enough to move around from one location to the next. This robot, the UR10, which is used for packaging and palletising, is easy to mount and does not require a lot of expertise to install.

Cost effective

Even small sized companies can easily afford cobots as they do not come with heavy programming and installation costs. In less than 200 days, the cobots can give a company its’ payback. This contrasts with human labour and traditional industrial robots which take longer to do so.
Work less, accomplish more

With the help of cobots in the packaging industry, humans can accomplish more by working less. Since the cobots are on call 24/7, they can carry out much more than humans can in a day. This allows the humans to do other duties which are less tiring. The cobots also help to reduce the monotony of work which can lead to low production and errors.

Creates more jobs

Many people believe that cobots take away jobs instead of creating them. The truth is with the production of more low-cost robotics in the packaging and palletising industries, more companies are turning to cobots for efficiency and more production. This however does not mean all is lost for the human workforce as there are other jobs left for them to do. As more companies open shop, they will still need humans in some places where cobots cannot be deployed. The cobots are also programmed to work alongside and in collaboration with the humans.

Safety at the work-place

Every work-place has its safety complexities. Some of the tasks are very dangerous for humans to handle. In pharmaceuticals for instance, packaging of surgical tools like needles, scissors and tweezers among others can lead to injury due to human error. Cobots are stable and can handle all these dangerous items with more ease.

Case study

Atria Scandinavia is a food packaging company that recently beefed up its production levels by using Universal Robots cobots. The company which deals with fresh foods products needed a lot of work force to cope with the growing demand for their products. Packaging the items meant employing many people or traditional industrial automation devices to carry out the activities. This led to a lot of overhead costs and wastage of packaging cartons. Since the products are very fragile and not durable, it was costing the company a lot to keep the products fresh.

This however changed with the deployment of cobots to carry out the packaging processes. The UR cobots helped the company to reduce its downtime and cut down on unnecessary costs. Production shot up, there was less wastage and safety at the workplace went a notch higher.