In the plastics industry, processors know Yaskawa Motoman for its articulating-arm robots. But the company also makes robots for packing parts — and a system installed for Berry Plastics Corp. is the first one of Plastics News' Best Practices articles.
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To kick off Best Practices, and the New Year of 2016, we look to Berry's factory in Dunkirk, N.Y. Before the robotic system, two full-time employees worked an eight-hour shift to pack PET bottles, made in a blow molding machine. Now they have moved into other work in the factory, officials said.
Yaskawa Motoman, based in Miamisburg, Ohio, designed the portable case-packing automation. The robotics company teamed with its systems integrator partner developed solution: The blow molding machine sends PET bottles along a tabletop conveyor to the packing cell, which includes a six-axis Yaskawa HP20D robot and the company's MLX200 controller.
The robot's arm handles payloads up to 40 pounds, with a horizontal reach of 68 inches.
Berry installed the portable case-packing automation cell in November 2014.
Engineers integrated the robot arm and controller and built the cell so factory workers could move the system between two production lines. The vacuum-cup-equipped robot arm picks multiple bottles into re-shipper boxes. The cell integrates with a tape machine to automatically form the boxes.
Yaskawa Motoman officials said the MLX200 controller lets plant engineers program and control the robot through the factory's programmable logic controller, using Ethernet via one table tied to a hub. Employees can handle all robot programming within the Allen-Bradley RSLogix 5000.
Rick Flynn, senior controls engineer at the systems integrator, said the new method of communication gives “seamless integration to the PLC control systems,” allowing the PLC programmer to control everything robot-related inside the PLC's ladder logic.