In this project we have installed a collaborative robot for unloading plastic bottles from a blower. The robot is in a factory making plastic bottles for cleaning products. The bottles come from a blower that produces 6 bottles at a time. These bottles must be placed vertically on a conveyor belt that feeds other machines.
Requirements for installing the collaborative robot for handling bottles
In this case the robot was integrated into an existing line. This always brings a series of challenges, which in this case were:
- Reduces space for the installation
- Flexibility was required, since the customer produces 9 different types of bottles
- Simplicity was required, since the customer had to be able to make any necessary adjustments by themselves each time they changed model.
- Robot installation time had to be minimum, since the production line was not running while istalling the equipment.
A UR5 robot was placed between the blowing machine and the conveyor belt. The cobot had a tool with 12 vacuum cups. This allowed each of the 6 bottles to be handled by 2 vacuum cups. The separation between the 2 cups allows the handling of the 9 different bottle types.
Advantages of this solution
- The robot can work continuously for 24 hours unloading the blowing machine.
- The payback period in this type of projects is usually short, specially if the equipment is working 3 shifts. In this case it is specially important since the customer normally has production peaks and sometimes it is necessary to work during the weekends.
- Operators working on this station presented health issues after repeating the same movements for several hours many days in a row.