SMC fills a void for next generation palletising robot

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SMC has used its technical expertise and experience in vacuum technology to deliver a flexible and efficient product for the palletising robotic industry.

Robotsnet Consulting is an engineering company specialising in the fast expanding custom-made robot palletising system sector. More manufacturers are gravitating towards robotic production systems due to greater efficiencies and savings in terms of safety, labour, faster changeovers, decreased down time and increased throughput.

To meet this demand, Robotsnet has customised the next generation palletising robot. The four-axis, electric servo-driven robot is described as the fastest in its class, achieving 20 cycles/min for case palletising at 160kg. The robot has been designed for carton box and glass automatic manipulation; the handling of such contrasting materials required an extra in terms of flexibility.

SMC’s Energy Saving Team not only offered the flexible approaches required to meet the robot’s multi-product handling challenge but, more importantly, delivered operating energy efficiencies too.

SMC’s Energy Saving Team leader, Alexandru Diaconu, says: “From the outset we knew there was a need to explore technical solutions for this multi-tasking robot that would deliver energy savings.

“Our main objectives, therefore, were to reduce the consumption of compressed air to the minimum value and to achieve a non-switching operation when changing workpieces. And our solution was to use the SMC multi-stage vacuum ejector ZL series, which consumes less compressed air than our standard vacuum ejector series. We also installed vacuum-saving ZP2V valves in order to optimise the vacuum generation with no loss associated to inactive pads or those operating at irregular intervals.”

Depending on the product being handled, a different number of pads are operational at any one time. The ZP2V vacuum-saving valve effectively restrains the vacuum pressure on inactive pads, by restricting the flow of vacuum air to the dormant valve, avoiding unnecessary air consumption.

With the robot’s key feature being its high-speed operation, the large-flow version of the ZL vacuum ejector not only provided the customer with the required fast-speed response but also 20 per cent air consumption savings thanks to its three-stage diffuser design, which at the same time delivered a 250 per cent increase in suction flow rate. This big flow rate allows the ZL212 to control up to 16 pads, reducing the number of ejectors per gripper to four, delivering cost savings to the customer as they had fewer grippers.

Added value

Robotsnet general manager, Cornel Catana, says: “In today’s market you only win if you offer added value to your product, and you can only do that by constant research and applying the best possible quality, achieved with the right amount of effort at the right price. At Robotsnet, we focus on innovation and this is why we need partners like SMC, who provide us with the right solutions. The SMC team are essential, attentive and available; they are highly experienced and advise us on the right products to use. To find the right solution on the first attempt is fundamental to keeping the costs down and launching a competitive product on the market.”

To find out more about SMC’s vacuum technology, including the multi-stage vacuum ejector ZL series, please go to

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