It is a well-known fact that implementing robots results in saving on labor expenses, which means that these robots give an excellent return on investment. As contrasting as they may appear, the human limb and the robotic arm are very alike and share mutual features. They have the same core components of linkages and joints.
In today’s industries, robots are used across all areas of packaging, and that includes functions such as boxing, palletizing, warehousing, and plenty more besides. The similarity to the human arm enables packaging robots to circumvent any challenge that is presented to them.
Utilization of robotics gives you a competitive advantage, which enables an increase in productivity and quality of the product as well. A balance between cost, speed, and accuracy has to be achieved, and this leads us to a discussion on the features to look out for when selecting robots for your business.
Tips for Selecting the Most Ideal Packaging Robots
Maximum Speed for Your Application
It is very crucial to achieve the quickest cycle times so that you can pack more parts consistently. Usually, a robot manufacturer will make a budget speed robot, a high-speed robot, or an ultra-high-speed robot. The clients select robots based on their budgets and required cycle times.
With cycle times above 15 seconds, the client should select the budget speed robot. With cycle times of up to 12 seconds, the client should choose a high-speed robot, and with cycle times of below 12 seconds, the client should select an ultra-high-speed robot. Cycle time is also dependent on part depth, size of the mold, and the extraction method used.
Long-Term Reliability & Low Maintenance Costs
When selecting a robot, you should ask for customer references who will tell you how long their oldest robot has been running for and the maintenance costs the robot demands. Well-built servo robots should render service for twenty plus years and have minimum maintenance costs of greasing drive components and linear guides.
At times they are significant differences in the quality of parts, and that is reflected in the price of the robot. This means the price should never be a decisive factor when determining the quality of an injection molding robot.
Robust Construction for Maximum Payload
Many robot makers cut expenses by offering their clients robots with a lower maximum payload. This means the servo motors contained in the robot have lower capacity. In the future utilize a robot with end-of-arm tooling because they are over the limit in terms of payload.
Also, utilize robots that have pinion and rack mechanisms rather than belts. Belts used for robots contain rubber and iron, and like all rubber equipment, they stretch over time and need to be adjusted periodically. Rubber also regularly tears and requires replacements. The maintenance of rubber belts is also quite high.
Flexibility & Ease of Use
A proper robot should have a balance between flexibility and ease of use. The robot controller should be easy enough to be used by an intern or graduate. A technician should not always be called upon to teach the robot once a new mold comes into a facility.
One of the benefits of robots in packaging is flexibility. By incorporating robotics, a line operator can easily and quickly alter the shape of a pallet or case by simply clicking a button, and the procedure is done. This task will take longer if done manually by an operator, and it will also be harder to execute.
A packaging robot should be efficient and effective in all its operations, such as pick and place. It should be able to execute tasks with uniformity and without fatigue, unlike human operators. These machines should also not cause damage to items when picking them up.
To sum it all up, in any manufacturing setting, you are most likely to come across packaging robots. Organizations should ensure that these robots meet the criteria discussed above, for optimum performance in the workplace.