Oak Brook, Ill. — Blow molders got a look at automation at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Blow Molding Conference: collaborative robots and high-speed and case-packing robots.
Siva Krish, vice president of sales at Proco Machinery Inc., gave a presentation showing the large number of configurations Proco's case packers can handle. He said the robots are easy to set up, and plant workers can adapt easily to working with the robots and make program changes.
“On the third shift on a Friday night, you don't want the maintenance man getting a call,” Krish said.
Case packers from Mississauga, Ontario-based Proco can do a large variation of pack patterns, including placing alternative rows of bottles with neck up and neck down and picking up a complete layer of bottles and putting them into a box.
“There's no limitation: Big container, small container. As long as it comes on a conveyor,” Krish said.
“The neck-down configuration is very popular in the industry because you don't want any contamination,” he said.
An official of FPE Automation, a distributor of automation components, demonstrated the one-armed Universal brand of collaborative robots, which work side by side with human employees. The robot can do part removal or be programmed to press buttons for operating the machine, said Jomy Vadakumpadam, automation controls manager.
A blow molder at the presentation asked if the Universal robot works OK with mounted on a machine that has movement, like a blow molding press. “They've been deployed successfully in a variety of molds and presses,” Vadakumpadam said.