This “flexible” packaging line from Dynamic Automation and Robotics is one example of how equipment can be designed for maximum variability. The term “flexible” is given to the system because of its ability to adapt and because of its modularity. Unlike many traditional pieces of automation, this packaging machine is capable of handling a multitude of preprogrammed parts, as well as unique and unpredicted future additions.
Currently, this machine handles both, syringes, and plastic bottles—very unique parts, comparably, with unique characteristics. They are physically different in shape, size, and weight, yet are processed with equal speed and efficiency simply by scanning a barcode and selecting them from an HMI.
What are the restrictions?
While it is common for automation to be able to process subtle changes in parts, such as different lengths or fill volumes, it is less common to be able to introduce completely new parts altogether. The flexibility of this system, however, allows for just that. The main restrictions come directly from robot payloads and the size of the loading areas, allowing most new parts that are not drastically different in weight or size to be run with only minimal changes and downtime.
How does it do this?
Dynamic’s Flexible Packaging Line uses dual Fanuc LR-Mate 6-axis robots inverted above 4 custom vibratory Flex Feeders. Each robot is vision guided and uses the latest sophistication and software to locate and pick parts with extreme accuracy. The robots then use vacuum grippers which do not rely on any specific geometry, again, giving us the ability to pick parts without discretion or tool changes.
Likewise, by using Flex Feeding technology, we are able to load parts of any design, up to 150mm in size. And by incorporating 4 of these Flex Feeders, this means that the system can also run up to 4 different parts simultaneously.
What else can it do?
Along with giving the end-user the ability to handle a huge variety of individual parts, this packaging line is also equipped with Autobag integration and literature feeding. Both of which are also capable of handling multiple sizes and variations of product. What is ultimately delivered is a robust, fully automated packaging line that can grow and adapt as times and demands change, allowing customers to break away from the normal restrictions and limitations of traditional automation equipment.