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PICK AND PLACE ROBOT AUTOMATION

Pick and Place robots are becoming more commonly used in modern production environments due to robotic innovations which have provided new application opportunities. Pick and place robots help tackle repetitive work, offering a number of benefits such as reduced RSI risk for operators, increased production rates and consistency within product quality.

Pick and place robots can be basic and advanced, ranging from simple movement of materials to vision based bin picking to locate parts which may vary in orientation, colour, size or shape. Robots can be equipped with an array of tools, from market ready grippers to bespoke tooling for more specific applications, making them versatile across a range of tasks.

KUKA Pick and Place

Bin Picking & Material Handling

From vision-based Bin Picking to more general material handling applications, Pick and place solutions can be applied to a multitude of manufacturing scenarios in order to reap automation benefits.

Bin Picking

Robotic Bin Picking System

Bin Picking applications are at the forefront of robotics innovation, adding another level of depth to your robot, providing it with ‘eyes’ for tasks which were previously unachievable with robotics.

Bin Picking

Material Handling

Robotic Material Handling

Material handling robots assist in a huge variety of applications with few industry boundaries. Automate the repetitive movement of material, improve throughput, consistency and relive workers.

Material Handling

Pick and Place robots and Cobot Automation

Collaborative Robots are the newest form of pick and place automation, providing businesses with new automation opportunities. More compact than traditional pick and place robotics, which are typically designed for higher volume production scenarios, Cobots instead offer production flexibility which is ideal for small to medium-sized producers, as well as the automation of more complex, low volume production scenarios.

Innovative technologies such as force feedback equip them with the ability to ‘feel’ this enables them to complete tasks which require a measurable level of force, tension, or delicate handling. Most are now fitted with force sensing technologies out of the box, these OEM features provide the robots with force sensing capabilities, adding a layer of safety to the equipment. Additional equipment can be added to enhance this, typically this is an ‘end-of-arm’ solution which enables the robots tooling to benefit from force control.

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Where are Pick and Place Robots used?

As with robotics in general, there are a plethora of different applications to choose from and each application will vary depending on its requirements. Pick and place applications intertwine themselves with a majority of the other application types available due to the broad nature of their purpose. For example, some robots may be used to pick and place components for assembly purposes, while other will pick and place to complete case packing tasks. Below are a few areas where pick and place applications thrive the most.

Omron TM Material Handling
Assembly

All assembly processes involve the movement and positioning of materials or parts to achieve a desired output. Robots have exceptional accuracy, allowing them to pick and place parts consistently with miniscule deviation. One example of this is electronic assembly such as PCB building, which is a pick and place application that requires dexterity and accuracy.

Packaging

Testing & Inspection is a non-value-added process of checking completed parts for quality assurance. Robots are well suited to these applications as they are able to inspect/test parts continuously and provide a more cost-effective solution when compared to operators.

Vacuum Pick and Place
Machine Tending

Machine tending applications vary massively in completion time, some CNC machines for example may run a number of different part variants which are inconsistent in time. CNC machines also inherently have a lot of waiting time between interactions with an operator. Robots are capable of loading and unloading CNC machines to allow operators to better utilise their time, while also ensuring maximum uptime of CNC machines.

Testing & Inspection Pick and Place
Testing & Inspection

Testing & Inspection is a non-value-added process of checking completed parts for quality assurance. Robots are well suited to these applications as they are able to inspect/test parts continuously and provide a more cost-effective solution when compared to operators.

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Benefits of a Pick and Place Cobot

Pick and place automation offers manufacturers a highly efficient and cost-effective alternative to a repetitive manufacturing process. Pick and place solutions are highly customisable, making the benefits accessible no matter the industry.

Cost Efficient

Pick and place processes are monotonous repetitive tasks, integration of robots allows for better utilisation of human workforce whilst limiting expenditure.

Support Production Flexibility

Robots are unparalleled in accuracy; this accuracy allows them to enhance manufacturing operations by providing consistent and measurable results.

Improved Accuracy and Consistency

Robots are unparalleled in accuracy; this accuracy allows them to enhance manufacturing operations by providing consistent and measurable results.

Increased Speed with Robotics

Robots are unparalleled in accuracy; this accuracy allows them to enhance manufacturing operations by providing consistent and measurable results.

Omron TM12

What to Consider when choosing Pick and Place Robots

Valve Stem Load Pick and Place
Production Changes

When investing its important to address potential future requirements. Do your operations require you to deal with high variants of SKU’s? Is your business subject to changes in demand? More traditional systems, though they can deliver high levels of efficiency, aren’t as flexible to future changes. Collaborative Robots are easily redeployed due to their smart software, collaborative safety features and size.

Line Space

Space limitations may result in the need for costly restructuring. Its important to assess the level of space available and space required for any given application. Proper assessment allows for an appropriate decision on equipment, potentially providing cost savings. Define your automation goals to ensure your application delivers sufficient return.

Robot Reach

Since robots must pick up items with high precision, you should thoroughly evaluate its reach to determine if its suitable for your operations. The maximum horizontal reach is the centre point of the robots base to the farthest point on the tooling used. However, its common that when looking for a robot, the location of the material to be picked isn’t accounted for ( i.e, is it presented at an angle? ), which depending on the tooling may require a different reach than first thought.

Payload

Robot payload is the maximum weight it can carry, this value is given to the robot before its quipped with a tool, which vary depending on the application. The weight of the tool should then be added to the weight of the product being picked to determine a robot’s suitability.

Can Pick and Place Testing
Return on Investment

Which areas are most important to achieve your operational goals? Be specific with what you’re aiming to achieve and narrow down your options. Do you have sufficient resources available? Some systems may require operator time to learn new skills. Choosing an integrator / supplier with strong industry knowledge of the field can help narrow down where the best automation value can be gained.

Vision

Does your application involve unassorted parts? You may require a bin picking application. Bin picking applications allow robots to pick parts which aren’t arranged in any particular order by utilising vision systems, providing your robot with ‘eyes’.

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Reeco Pick and Place Cobots

Cobots continue to demonstrate their effectiveness as they are adopted by more and more manufacturers. With continuous advancements in robotic technology, Reeco aim to provide the best value possible, providing innovative solutions that perfectly complement manufacturing operations and solve production challenges.

We design and build solutions that fit around your requirements, whether we need to integrate a solution around existing equipment with limited space or create a solution to support your wider goals.

Reeco have extensive knowledge and capabilities within Pick and Place applications, working with some of the biggest FMCG companies to provide solutions to manufacturing challenges.

Unilever
Ford
Honeywell