The current manufacturing landscape is subject to rapid changes in demand, presenting the need for highly efficient, customized technologies. This is why flexible automation is critical for companies who seek to remain competitive and grow their business.
With shorter production runs between SKU and packaging material changes, flexibility is a key feature in a manufacturing environment, especially when it comes to packaging automation. This is why industrial robotic systems are an excellent option. They provide highly adaptable and efficient solutions when changes arise. Let’s take a look at a few of these scenarios.
Frequently Changing Packaging Materials
There are multiple drivers behind the need for flexibility and numerous ways robots can help counter them. Marketing efforts frequently change packaging materials requiring existing automation to be able to handle different primary and secondary packaging materials. To combat this, we often design a single robotic end of arm tool capable of handling a wide range of products and/or pallet patterns. This allows the customer to be more responsive to potential modifications in their products or processes and helps them to keep their operation running at high efficiency.
Product Line Updates
Robotic technologies can be easily applied to new applications with a simple program change or different end of arm tool. For example, if the product line that a robot is serving is removed, the robot could potentially be reused somewhere else in the facility to perform a different function. In comparison, most conventional equipment provides limited reusability without requiring significant changes.
Fragile Products or Packaging
Many companies are also focusing on green initiatives which generally reduce the amount of packaging materials and require automation to handle the products as gently as possible to avoid damage. Every end of arm tool we design and build is created with the product in mind to ensure gentle handling. Each tool is customized to meet your specific product requirements.
Unique Work Cell Footprints
In addition to providing the flexibility to handle a variety of packaging materials and perform various applications, robotic automation allows you to tailor your work cell to fit the space you have available. Quite often conventional or “hard automation” solutions are only available in standard configurations with large footprints. However, with robotics, you are often able to leverage the flexibility the robot provides and work it into a layout that may not be possible for conventional equipment.
Flexible robotic automation allows companies to easily overcome these hurdles and others, so the next time you are scoping a new packaging project, plan for the future and let us help you design it with flexibility in mind. This way, you can ensure your system is adaptable and ready for any changes the future might bring.