Latest Innovations in Robotic Packaging Machinery

The increasing popularity of robotic packaging is likely to lead to the development of the packaging machinery industry. Owing to the accuracy and reliability of the robots, they are being widely used in the packaging sector. However, earlier the participation of robots was only limited to case packing and palletizing a few years earlier. The robot functionalities, with technological advancements, are escalating towards primary packaging that includes pick-and-place operations, cartoning applications, and processing tasks such as coating and cutting. The deployment of robotics is been driven by labor savings in the packaging industry. Robotic packaging automation mimics human movements to take the human being out of the process without giving up the yield of the process. This does not remove the need for good staff. But, instead it provides an opportunity to remove the unskilled, repetitive tasks that several humans find unfulfilling and boring yet are critical to meet production needs. Moreover, the software is designed to mimic human movements with robotic packaging automation. Using robotic packaging automation allows your company to reduce staff injury while expanding operations with accuracy and consistency. The greatest benefit perhaps by using robotic packaging automation is that your staff will be free from the repetitive and often dangerous tasks they earlier performed. This will make them accessible to build up new skills to help the company grow. An improved supply chain process increased packaging efficiency, and reduced operational costs are all part of what makes robotic packaging automation so beneficial to many businesses.

Let’s take a look at some of the robotic packaging innovations in the field of packaging automation.

A) Kollmorgen AKD2G servo drive

One of the most power-dense industrial servo drives on the market is the dual-axis AKD®2G. It reduces fuses, main wiring, and filtering to save significant panel cost and space. The AKD2G servo drive features expandable I/O, dual-channel STO, removable memory, and the first drive-resident graphic display in the industry. Other highlights include - hybrid connector with an optimal design for single-cable motors, workbench interface, and speed – its multicore Compute Engine; Servo on a Chip is far more powerful compared to other servo drives. The AKD2G’s existing loop update rate of 1.28µs accommodates changing load conditions immediately. The velocity and position loops updates are also market leading at 62.5µs and 125µs. Its Workbench interface and simple physical connections make it easy to set up. The drives are available for FSoE, EtherCAT, and CANopen. Besides, to improve safety measures an optional Safe Motion Monitor (SMM) can be included. The AKD2G also provides plug-and-play compatibility to Kollmorgen motors, including the company’s recently released AKM2G.

B) Edson SR3600 case-and-tray packer

A novel system solution employed for the tissue industry. This robotic packaging design, SR3500 holds the same technology as SR3500 except for a small footprint. Both models were designed to handle a wide range of trays with flexibility, rapid changeovers in mind, and speed. The 3600 as a large case and tray packer combines the unique mechanical assemblies and the latest servo technology to provide a fully integrated case and tray packaging system for a large range of cases. For over 10 years, Edson’s 3600 have been the industry’s leading high -speed case packer. This system ensures customer satisfaction allowing customers to operate at even higher levels of reliability and performance. The 3600 features some changeover adjustments, fast installation, ease of cleaning, and much more. It offers higher operating reliability working at speeds up to 20 cases per minute. Use this 3600 in your production for precision, speed, and flexibility.

C) EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor

Innovative machine builder SOMIC delivers high-performance packaging systems that provide twice the output with half the footprint are delivered by integrating EcoStruxure Machine solutions. SOMIC designed and engineered a coffee capsule packaging machine with 76 motion axes, without so much as lifting a screwdriver. Digital twin which simulated the real performance of the machine was used. Besides, a smart Schneider Electric controller and Ecostruxture Machine Expert allowed them to work virtually for added flexibility. SOMIC use Schneider Electric’s augmented reality application - EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor, for safe and speedy machine diagnosis and maintenance. Rather than doing it manually, the robotic packaging saves time by enabling operators to open the machine’s cabinet doors virtually. They can also recognize and resolve issues virtually, without having to physically work on dangerous machines. With Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure Machine, SOMIC achieved maximum performance from their coffee capsule packaging machine. The most compact and fastest machine of its kind which can process 1,400 coffee capsules or 140 cartons per minute.

D) Syntegon Sigpack RN

This flat pouch packaging machine helps you to achieve long-term success. A compact solution with the highest output on a small footprint is guaranteed including less product loss, reliable weight control, easy handling, and cleaning. The products generally used in this packaging machine are pellets and granules, free and sluggish-flowing powders from pharmaceutical, food, and chemical industries. Based on a robust construction, the Sigpack RN ensures effective multi-shift operation. The precise and reproducible movements are enabled by the modular servo-driven functions and elements.  The user-friendly operation height, easy access to all machine parts, good visibility to the product flow allows optimal and easy operations of the Sigpack RN. The packaging machine is designed with consideration of GMP guidelines. Dosing accuracy and less product loss, high speed, optimal accessibility, easy handling, and quick cleaning, high pouch quality are some of the advantages offered by this packing machine.

E) BluePrint Automation Spider Q Series

A Spider series of a vision-guided robotic case and tray loading was introduced by Blueprint Automation. These machines can handle packages of any dimensions with cameras used as sensors. The product code in the system only needs to be changed by the operator for packaging different products. The Spider Q Series meets the industry demands as turnkey delivery is a must. The robotic packaging is a collective name for highly versatile, ultra-compact, and flexible case packaging systems, available in different executions.  A large variety of cases and bags with high production speed and a highly limited footprint are processed. It features a single HMI in which all controls are included. This considerably reduces human effort and increases the overview of the system.

The medium and large scale manufacturers are going to opt-in for automation of product packaging with technology becoming more global and scalable. The safety of humans while handling heavy-duty items is the bigger advantage of packaging automation.