New robotic technology for packaging operations


It will likely be years before we fully understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed business practices and operations. One area where its impact is clearly visible, however, is the increased use of robotics in the factory. Said Maya Xiao, senior analyst at Interact Analysis, “The COVID-19 pandemic, resulting labor shortages, and rising labor costs have accelerated factory automation across a wide range of industrial sectors.”

In North America, the robotics market had its best quarter ever in Q1-2022. That’s according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), which reports that companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico ordered 11,595 industrial robots during this period, a 28% increase from the first. quarter of 2021. Revenues increased by 43% and reached a value of $664 million. “Across all sectors, the post-COVID crisis boom has created double-digit growth compared to the same quarter last year,” notes IFR President Milton Guerry.

Looking at the packaging market, a new report from PMMI – The Association for Packaging and Processing Technology, titled “2022 Robots and Cobots An Automated Future”, shares that 54% of respondents spent more in robotics in 2022 compared to 2019, at 29%. The report also notes that a majority of consumer packaged goods manufacturers (84%) are now using robotics along their production lines, and 93% of respondents predicted that they will use robotics in their production over the next five years.

According to the report, among the top five achievements expected by CPGs when adding robots are reduced labor and repetitive tasks (90%), increased speed and productivity (78%), improved quality repeatable and consistent product handling (67%). , improving operator safety (51%) and minimizing waste and human error (33%).

Along with labor shortages, advancements in robot payload, at arm’s length tools (EOAT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, vision, hygienic construction and other innovations are contributing to the rise of robots. In part I of packaging world‘s Annual Robotics Report, we explore some of the technologies that are driving the use of robots in primary food and pharmaceutical packaging applications, case packing and palletizing.

Read the following sections of the report to learn more:

Robots reduce labor and improve product safety in primary food packaging

OEMs introduce new delta robots designed to meet IP69K standards and with enhanced vision systems and EoAT to handle pick and place functions in food packaging applications.

Hygienic characteristics of robots, precision pharmaceutical applications

A number of new robotic technologies address the pharmaceutical industry’s need for increased automation, providing solutions for capping, pick-and-place and other processes.

Case packing robots offer flexibility, efficiency and speed

Nearly half of CPGs in a new study report using robots for secondary packaging processes. New robotic technology for store club packing and container and lid case packing is giving them new options.

Ease of use, programming are table stakes for palletizing robots

Seventy-five percent of CPGs now use robotics for end-of-line packaging operations. A new palletizer from Iris Factory Automation using a Kawasaki robot responds to the growing need for flexible and easy-to-use robotics.

Six-axis robots gently depalletize and clean cosmetic bottles

Italian subcontractor Cosmint installs a new robotic depalletizing cell designed to clean and handle high-end pre-printed cosmetic bottles without leaving scratches.

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