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Latest Developments in Collaborative Robots by Proco Machinery at SPE Blow Molding Conf.

Published on 2018-01-15. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Machinery    

Proco Machinery Inc. discussed the latest developments in collaborative robots for the packaging industry during the recent Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) 33rd Annual Blow Molding Conference in Oakbrook, Ill. The presentation by Proco’s Siva Krish, Vice President of Sales, entitled: “Collaborative Robots in the Blow Molding Industry” focused on the latest automation technology which is sweeping the packaging industry.

Half-Cube Palletizer System
Half-Cube Palletizer System

Collaborative Robots in the Blow Molding Industry


Proco’s Siva Krish explained:
“Collaborative robotic systems are seeing strong growth in the blow molding industry due to the need for greater efficiency and automation. These systems are being designed in such a way that they complement the production line and provide simplified operation, a smaller footprint, and enhanced efficiencies. These collaborative robotic systems reduce the handling of the container and provide an excellent return on investment (ROI).”

Expecting Huge Growth


Collaborative robots (also called co-bots) are designed to work alongside human workers, assisting them with a variety of tasks. Since they are affordable and highly adaptable, manufacturers are eager to adopt this technology and huge growth is expected in the next few years, according to Krish. The emergence of collaborative robots is tied to the ability to place them alongside humans in small-spaced assembly lines, along with their affordability and ability to be easily trained. They are flexible and can handle short runs and repetitive jobs.

Proco is heavily involved in collaborative robot technology, recently launching a half-cube palletizer system with collaborative robots for blow-molded containers which deliver a major cost reduction versus conventional automation.

Half-Cube Palletizer System


Proco’s breakthrough collaborative robotic Half-Cube Palletizer system automatically palletizes blow molded containers with minimal operator involvement.
It is an advanced automation robotic system that is ideally suited for palletizing containers at a 50% cost reduction compared to conventional automation solutions.
The new automation technology blends this human-like collaborative robotic system together with Proco’s industry-leading expertise in the blow molding and packaging industries, according to Krish.

The Half-Cube Palletizer can be easily and quickly adapted to a variety of packaging and repetitive manufacturing situations working alongside existing workers or working independently. Proco has already sold the Half-Cube Palletizer systems to leading U.S. custom blow molders of PET containers.

The Half-Cube Palletizer system is a totally integrated packaging module and is supplied with a six-axis collaborative robotic arm, infeed conveyor, pallet lift magazine and Slip sheet/Tray pick and place magazine on a common sub-frame which in turn is fitted with leveling pads and castor wheels. The system has a maximum height of 55-in which is the half-cube configuration that is common to most U.S. blow molding operations.

The only manual operation occurs when an operator places the trays in the magazine.
  • When palletizing is complete, an alarm sounds and the operator pulls the pallet out and places another pallet in the magazine. 
  • The Half-Cube palletizer handles both slip sheet and tray configurations in 44 x 56-in and 40 x 48-in sizes. The system can be moved into position, set up, and quickly put in production. 
  • The Half-Cube palletizer provides maximum flexibility and efficiency and can be configured to pack all necks up or all necks down. 
  • In situations where a standard configuration does not suit a particular application, Proco’s engineering team can develop a custom designed system to provide an efficient, cost-effective solution.

Robo Packer Case Packer


Meanwhile, Proco has launched the Robo Packer case packer, a breakthrough collaborative robotic automation system that works interactively with co-workers, requires no special guarding, and needs minimal training for teaching new tasks. The Robo Packer is an advanced automation system that is ideally suited for pick and place, assembly, and packaging applications at a cost that is 50% less than conventional automation solutions.

The system can be supplied with any one of three different robotic arm payloads depending on the application, the task to be performed, and the level of productivity that is required.
  • The Robo Packer Basic System is a totally integrated packaging module and is supplied with a six-axis robotic arm, infeed conveyor, and a box conveyor all mounted onto a common sub-frame which in turn is fitted with leveling pads and castor wheels. 
  • It can be moved into position, set up, and quickly be in production. 
  • The Robo Packer provides maximum flexibility and efficiency and can be configured to pack all necks up or all necks down either using row-by- row or full-layer packing methods. 
  • In situations where a standard configuration does not suit a particular application, Proco’s engineering team can develop a custom designed system to provide an efficient, cost-effective solution.

For one of its customers, Proco recently used the RoboPacker case packer in an automation system for production of a wide mouth canister at a rate of 30 bottles per minute for each line. Proco handled the tighter space challenge, the huge changeover demands, and the need for an 18-pack configuration for each line. The company reduced its labor needs, going from a three-person shift to a one-person shift for both lines at a major cost reduction. The project was a great success and return on investment was around 15 months. 


Source: Proco Machinery Inc.
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