Proco Machinery Inc., which makes automation systems for the blow molded bottles packaging industry, has launched a lay-flat packing technology that allows blow molders to pack bottles on their sides, as opposed to placing them with necks up or down.
The new tooling technology uses Universal Robots collaborative robots. Proco Machinery is working closely with Universal Robots to offer complete downstream automation for the blow molding industry, according to Siva Krish, Proco's vice president of sales.
“We have a very niche market, and we work with a lot of companies in the packaging industry that have complex manufacturing requirements,” Krish said.
The Mississauga, Ontario-based Proco Machinery has developed two sets of end-of-arm tooling for two different applications — one for straight neck-to-neck packaging in the box and another for offset neck orientation from row to tow. This potentially allows a bottle blow molder to pack 270 bottles in a box instead of 250.
For Proco's lay-flat system, the company designed a solution to counter the cobot's inherent desire to resist force.
“You need to have a small bit of clearance between the box and bottle so the tooling arm goes in and comes out,” Krish said. But the design of the customer's bottle determines how Proco customizes the robot's packing routine. “Every bottle and every pack count and every production line will be completely different,” he said.
Proco is incorporating collaborative robots in a range of new products, including its Half-Cube Palletizer system and the Robo Packer case packer.