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emkon. packaging machinery: robot solutions
6-axis articulated robot in die-cutting cartoning line
Integrated Mitsubishi Electric robot in new machine network
We have built a new die-cutting cartoning line for a customer from the pharmaceutical-medical sector, which replaces an old machine. The new machine network is equipped with a Mitsubishi Electric 6-axis articulated robot by the FR-series. Previously an older model of an EPSON series was used here. “In a very small and limited working area, this model impresses particularly with its high agility. Despite complex movement patters in the narrow assembly space, we ensure a very fluid process and increased cycle rates”, says Ralf Köster, responsible sales manager from emkon. “We clearly benefit from the many years of experience regarding cycle time and path optimization, which our robot specialists can look back on.”
We paid special attention to safety. The working area is continuously monitored due to the fact, that the human colleagues of the robot are in immediate vicinity to the robot cell. The innovative safety option MELFA SafePlus II is used here, which enables independently controlling the speed of the robot of each other in its individual working planes (x, y or z), thus ensuring maximum safety in operation.
Many different pick and place positions
The FR articulated robot performs pick and place tasks from two separate pick-up positions (magazines) and places the products in a total of four different delivery positions. The products are placed horizontally or vertically into parallel-erected folding cartons according to specification. Sterile packed suture material is handled and packed in this line. “Naturally, product quality and safety are the top priority here. A camera inspection system and an additional workplace for visual check guarantee the impeccable quality of these sensitive products”, says Köster.
Increased requirements on certification – IQ/OQ
The high demands on this project are also reflected in the specifications for the machine approval, which was executed by the British Standards Institution. This also includes the software versions or the machine certification. A clean, structured way of work is essential - right from the beginning - for the Installation and Operation Qualification because any subsequent change to the software would result in re-certification of the machine. Ralf Köster adds: “To be on the safe side here, we have already created parts of the robot program in a 3D simulation of the machine and were able to rely on these experiences and results for the final adaptation and reach the goal of a perfectly coordinated robot program faster.”
Increased level of automation
Compared to the old machine, the empty run of the new plant was clearly optimized. This process is automated according to the customers request. The robot places incomplete stacks of foil and/or stacks of foil whose completeness cannot be guaranteed autonomously into provided containers. Furthermore, the last stacks of foil are also placed if there are not enough folding cartons left at the end of the batch. The manual removals, previously required in both cases, are eliminated now.