Benefits Small Assembly Robots in Packaging Operations

Compared with fixed automation, the single most important benefit of small assembly robots in packaging operations is their lower cost. Not only do robots have a lower initial cost, their high degree of flexibility, small size and low maintenance requirements give them a lower overall cost as well.

Robots, however, have the added advantage of being able to fill in automation gaps – manually performed tasks which may still exist in an otherwise automated line, usually because a fixed-automation solution would be too expensive.

Unlike fixed automation, which must be specially designed for a particular process, robots are modular, off the shelf automation systems that can be adapted to a process with relative ease, greatly reducing the need for costly design engineering. In addition, robot work cells have a smaller footprint than fixed-automation machines, saving valuable factory floor space.

Furthermore, when equipped with a multifunctional gripper or automatic tool exchanger, a single robot can perform more than one function, such as loading and unloading a product, presenting the product for inspection and labeling, then inserting it into a packaging container. Vision systems and other options such as conveyor tracking can be easily installed, extending the robot’s capabilities still further.

Another important advantage of robots is that their internal mechanisms are sealed inside protective coverings. This gives them much lower maintenance requirements than fixed-automation machines, whose motors and mechanical parts are usually left open and are thus subject to wear and damage from dirt and debris.

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