The demand for ever greater flexibility from automation has been one of the key driving forces behind the growth in the use of 6-axis robots within industry in recent years. Once the mainstay of automated welding systems, this type of robot has since found its way into many different applications. The introduction of compact 6-axis versions has now opened up new applications such as ATM’s flexible packaging system.
At the heart of this system is ATM’s new MZ07 robot, which has a footprint equalling that of an A4 piece of paper and delivers excellent speed. This compact stand-alone system has been designed to handle and pack wide range of products with a minimum of changeover or operator intervention.
Product, for example in bags, pouches or cartons, is presented to the system on an indexing conveyor. For less demanding and random packing applications, the pick-up position is determined using a sensor, and where greater accuracy or specific packing patterns are required, machine vision is used to identify the precise position and radial orientation of each item. An integrated check weigh system is used to determine whether the pack is within specification before being finally transferred by the robot to a carton within the cell.
The system also presents empty cartons from a magazine and holds a buffer of three on both the input and output sides of the system. Other features include the ability to segregate under or over weight packs and the capability to be enhanced by integrating additional equipment, for example label print and apply systems or ink-jet or laser marking and coding units. Built upon a rigid steel fabricated framework and mounted on wheels, the system can easily be moved between production lines maximising utilisation and providing a cost effective alternative to dedicated packaging equipment.
To learn more about the new MZ07 flexible robot packaging system from ATM, please go to www.atmautomation.com.