Increased global competition is driving leaner operation in today's manufacturing facilities.
To gain efficiencies, more companies are incorporating disruptive technologies, such as robotics, across their plant floors.
Thanks to a recent product innovation introduced by Combi Packaging Systems, manufacturers can now reap the advantages of robotic technology in shorter run, end-of-the-line operations.
Based in Canton, Ohio, this supplier of customized packaging equipment has added a robotic pick and pack feature to its leading product, the Ergopack® packing station. The new Ergopack robot-assisted packing station was developed through a strategic alliance with Motion Controls Robotics.
“Our standard Ergopack hand packing station is ideally suited for products that don't lend themselves to automatic packing,” said Susan Lewis, marketing manager, Combi Packaging Systems. “Now we off er a robotic arm option, which can automatically pack these products up to 25 percent faster.”
Ergonomically built for ease of use and operator comfort, the standard hand packing station combines an integrated case erector, product infeed conveyor, case conveyor, operator pack station and case sealer. The robotic option can be ordered with new installations or retrofi tted to expand the functionality of existing stations.
With the addition of the FANUC robot, mounted to the floor at the back side of the pack station, users can minimize human intervention in diffi cult or hazardous packaging tasks.
“Combi Packaging Systems is the first company to offer an ergonomically designed hand packing machine that incorporates an alternative where the end user never needs to touch a case,” Lewis explained.
The robotic option is also ideally suited to applications that must comply with regulations governing product lots and expiration dates, serialization numbers or retail packaging requirements.
“The robotic functionality – combined with an optional vision system – allows users to address these requirements very cost-effectively,” Lewis explained. “The vision system can be programmed to read and record unique product numbers by specific case. The system can also recognize product orientation on the infeed conveyor.”
Built for flexibility, the robotic arm can be “parked” when not in use to enable complete manual packing when needed. To minimize contact with the robotic functionality and help safeguard operators, the robot-assisted station includes an enclosed and guarded hand-pack area.
The robot-assisted option features a Rockwell Automation solution including an Allen-Bradley® MicroLogix™ programmable logic controller, integrated on EtherNet/IP™ to communicate with and control an Allen-Bradley Kinetix® 300 EtherNet/IP indexing servo drive.
Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 520-Series AC drives supply power control. Allen-Bradley Guardmaster® safety relays help provide machine and personnel protection. The robot-assisted area is integrated with the packing station's CompactLogix™ programmable automation controller via EtherNet/IP and monitored on an Allen-Bradley PanelView™ Component C400 graphic terminal.
With the robot-assisted functionality now available, Combi Packaging Systems is well positioned to provide end users with customized solutions that meet a broad range of unique packaging requirements – and complement other systems in their plants.
“For years, we have used Rockwell Automation solutions to control our machines,” Lewis said. “Allen-Bradley products are a recognized standard within the packaging industry and are known for their reliability. Our end users have common knowledge of this platform – and can easily integrate our machines with other packaging equipment in their facilities.”
For more information, contact: Susan Lewis Marketing Manager Combi Packaging Systems, LLC Phone: 330.456.9333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.