Collaborative robot for unloading plastic bottles

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.

Solution description:

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.

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